F1 promoters meet to discuss ways of improving the sport

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The Formula 1 Promoters Association has met in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss ways of improving Formula 1 and the experience for fans who attend the races, with the main topic up for debate being the new engine sound.

For 2014, the downsize in engines from V8s to turbocharged V6 power units has caused a definite decrease in the volume of the cars. The matter has largely divided opinion, with many supporting the hybrid route that has been taken. It also allows fans to hear the cars locking up under braking and contact being made.

However, Ron Walker, chairman of the Formula 1 Promoters Association and the Australian Grand Prix, made his distaste over the new sound clear at the opening race of the season in Melbourne. He even suggested that the problem was so grave that some promoters may think twice about extending their deals to host Formula 1 grands prix.

Mercedes will test a ‘trumpet’ exhaust system at next weekend’s test in Spain in a bid to improve the sound, but the promoters met with Bernie Ecclestone yesterday to discuss other possible moves.

A statement issued in the paddock today reads:

“A meeting was held on Saturday May 10 2014, between the promoters of the FIA Formula One World Championship, chaired by Ron Walker to discuss various aspects of Formula 1 for the benefit of all fans who are concerned about maintaining the unique feeling of Formula 1. Mr. Ecclestone attended the meeting in support of the promoters. 17 countries were represented.”

It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this meeting, but it is unlikely that the matter that really has riled fans – double points for the final race in Abu Dhabi – will have been addressed.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.