Report: No Ford anytime soon for IndyCar

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While Cosworth has been ramping up its involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, both in terms of wanting to partner with an existing OEM and adding a technology asset to its current program in the form of “Cosworth on Air,” it doesn’t appear it will be partnering with its old friend – Ford – for an engine down the road.

That’s the thought, at least, from Ford Motor Company Board of Directors member Edsel Ford II, in comments made at a private event, discovered by the More Front Wing website.

“No, no, no,” Ford said, via MFW. “I’ll be six feet under. No way. Not a chance.”

He added, “I’ve talked to Jamie (Allison, Director of Ford Racing) a lot about it. He, Raj (Nair, Group VP of Global Product Development), I don’t think any of us really want to go to IndyCar racing.”

Ford’s involvement in other forms of motorsports include NASCAR, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with its Roush Yates-prepped EcoBoost 3.5L V6 turbocharged engine, and also the Red Bull Global Rallycross series.

Ford, and Allison, have said repeatedly to industry insiders that it wants to focus on production-based engines. The current IndyCar engine regulations do not allow for that; the regulations require a bespoke engine just for the series, in the 2.2L V6 turbocharged formula which Chevrolet and Honda, and the Judd-built Lotus in 2012, have developed engines for.

Cosworth, meanwhile, will need to seek another OEM if it wants to get back in the game.

Ford last raced in the Indianapolis 500 in 1996, the first in the Indy Racing League era and still under USAC sanction, with a 1995 Reynard chassis and a turbocharged Ford-Cosworth XB engine powering Buddy Lazier’s No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing entry to victory. Ford-Cosworth powered several others in that year’s field, before the 1997 season saw a change in engine regulations to normally aspirated power plants.

The Ford-Cosworth relationship maintained through 2007 through various open-wheel iterations of what was CART, then later morphed into Champ Car, before the series ran its final race at Long Beach in 2008.

F1 2017 driver review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 7
Best Finish: P2 (Monaco, Hungary)
Pole Positions: 1
Fastest Laps: 2
Points: 205
Laps Led: 40
Championship Position: 4th

While this may have statistically been Kimi Raikkonen’s best campaign since his first year back in F1 in 2012, there is a good case for it being one of his most disappointing to date.

Raikkonen’s continued role at Ferrari has been questioned on a number of occasions, but the Finn looked capable of answering his critics heading into 2017 after impressing through pre-season testing as he appeared to get to grips well with the new-style cars.

But we soon grew accustomed to the same old story: flashes of potential, but otherwise an underwhelming, unsatisfactory campaign that saw Raikkonen be dwarfed by his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s charge to his first pole position for over eight years in Monaco gave hope of a popular win, only for Ferrari to play its strategy in favor of title contender Vettel – why wouldn’t the team do so? – to leave him a disgruntled second.

While Vettel was able to impress at the majority of circuits, Raikkonen only looked strong at tracks that were unquestionably ‘Ferrari’ tracks, such as Hungary and Brazil. Like Vettel, Raikkonen should have racked up a good haul of points in Singapore, only for the start-line crash to sideline both Ferraris before they even reached Turn 1.

Again there is the question of ‘what could have been?’ in Malaysia had it not been for the spark plug issue on the grid, yet in Japan, Raikkonen was nowhere, finishing behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls.

Finishing just five points clear of Daniel Ricciardo despite having a much faster car for the best part of the season and the Red Bull driver’s own reliability issues sums up the disappointment of Raikkonen’s campaign.

He should have been an ally for Vettel in the title race by nicking points of Lewis Hamilton, much as Valtteri Bottas was doing for his Mercedes teammate. Instead, Raikkonen seemed to be tagging along for the best part of this season.

Season High: Pole in Monaco, his first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Season Low: Finishing a distant P4 at Spa – a circuit he made his own in the 2000s.