Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Race

Marussia pulls clear of Caterham in backmarker battle

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The long running battle between Marussia and Caterham rarely gets much TV air time. However, in Spain, out of the glare of the camera, there was a definite swing in the favor of the Anglo-Russian squad who put its new updates to good use on Sunday.

Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton may have only come home in 18th and 19th position respectively, but they finished well clear of Marcus Ericsson in the sole Caterham in 20th place. Kamui Kobayashi was forced to retire due to a brake problem, although he was also adrift of the Marussia drivers during the race.

In practice and qualifying, the Marussias were well clear of the Caterhams, and Bianchi has now set his sights on the Sauber drivers ahead.

“It was a good race today in which we saw clear signs of our improvement,” the Frenchman explained. “I was able to get ahead of my teammate at the start, which was my first objective, and to stay ahead of the Caterhams which was the next.

“Our other objective was to take the fight to Sauber and while we were able to match their pace, the gap to them ahead was too great to be able to take a position from them. That time will come, I’m sure and maybe a race like Monaco will give us a better opportunity.”

Chilton extended his remarkable record of having finished every grand prix he has started, which is now 24 from 24 for Marussia.

“I’m really pleased that we’ve seen a good step forward here and we’ve been able to lift our performance versus the cars around us,” he said. “We’ve definitely gained a really strong advantage on the Caterhams and the Saubers are now in our sights, so well done to the team.”

Although points may not be on the cards just yet for Marussia, the team has certainly come on leaps and bounds in the past year. That said, you can count on Caterham fighting back at the next race in Monaco two weeks from now, and the battle for tenth in the constructors is set to continue for the rest of the season.

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

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MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
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You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

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Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.