Alonso: Mercedes could win every race in 2014

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Fernando Alonso believes that Mercedes could win every single race of the 2014 Formula 1 season, and appears to have written off his own title chances after just four races.

Mercedes has made a remarkable start to the season, winning all of the first four races and claiming three one-two finishes in this time. In fact, before this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have claimed 154 of 182 possible points this year.

A lengthy lead-up for the W05 Hybrid car and plenty of work during the off-season has given Mercedes a clear advantage over the rest of the field. Alonso – who has won the world championship twice – believes that this is such that the team could complete a clean sweep in 2014.

“They should be in a position to win all the races probably, so it is going to be tight between them,” he explained to the BBC in Spain yesterday. “Probably the championship will be decided by who finishes most races between them.

“I think the mechanical side and luck will be a factor because we saw Lewis is doing some extra from Nico in these first four races, but he is second in the championship because he didn’t finish one race. That will be the key of the championship for them.”

Mercedes may enjoy a pace advantage of at least half a second per lap over the rest of the field, but a perfect season would be extraordinary. McLaren came close to achieving this in 1988 when the all-conquering MP4/4 car won 15 out of 16 races in the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, with the only blot on the team’s scoresheet coming at Monza when both drivers were involved in accidents.

Alonso will start today’s Spanish Grand Prix from seventh place on the grid, and he believes that there is still a lot of room for improvement with the F14 T car.

There is a definite improvement compared to China, but we have some problems with the rear, despite the many set-up changes we made,” he said. “Kimi did very well and I hope that both Ferraris can finish higher up.

“Now we must find the best strategy for tomorrow and try to get a good start. But above all, we mustn’t make any mistakes, because this race demands a high level of concentration.”

You can watch the Spanish Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET today.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.