Caterham confirms management reshuffle

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Caterham has confirmed that technical director Mark Smith has left the team with immediate effect, and has been replaced by a new three person ‘technical committee’ that will manage the backmarker squad.

The triumvirate will comprise of John Iley (Head of Performance Engineering), Jody Egginton (Head of Design and Manufacturing) and Gerry Hughes (Head of Track Operations). They have been tasked with improving Caterham’s fortunes as the team continues to fight with Marussia at the back of the field.

They will work under the guidance of team CEO Cyril Abiteboul, who thanked Smith for his work at Leafield.

“I would like to thank Mark for his time and dedication to the development of our team since he first joined in 2011,” Abiteboul said in a statement. “We and Mark part company on good terms and with our best wishes for the future.

“It was obviously a tough decision to see someone of Mark’s calibre go, but we have identified the need to restructure as a key aspect of increasing our on-track performance and forming a new Technical Committee composed of John, Jody and Gerry will allow us to do exactly that.”

The senior management at the team is known to be disgruntled with the lack of success on track, and team owner Tony Fernandes has threatened to walk away from the sport unless Caterham’s fortunes change.

“We are not happy with our current performance levels,” Abiteboul said. “John, Jody and Gerry, with my full support and that of our shareholders, staff and partners, are the right people to help take us forward.”

Drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will be hoping to outqualify the Marussias during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix later today.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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