Sauber’s nightmare start to 2014 hits a new low

3 Comments

Sauber F1 Team’s disastrous start to the 2014 Formula 1 season hit a new low today during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, as Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil were both knocked out in Q1.

The Swiss team has failed to score any points so far this season, and has rarely looked capable of doing so. Neither Gutierrez nor Sutil have been overly impressive, or looked to make the best of a bad situation, and today in Monaco they were unceremoniously dumped out during qualifying at the first time of asking.

Both drivers found themselves in the drop zone after Daniil Kvyat moved up into 16th place with his belated timed lap following a spin, yet they only needed to find one-tenth of a second. However, when Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson came together at Mirabeau with one minute left on the clock in Q1, it stopped the cars behind from improving their times thanks to the yellow flags.

As a result, both Gutierrez and Sutil finished one-tenth of a second behind Kvyat, and dropped out in Q1.

Although Sauber has been struggling so far this season, it has rarely looked so hapless as it did today. Barring a race of attrition, it is hard to see the Swiss team from finishing in the top ten any time soon.

In fact, Gutierrez and Sutil might have to keep an eye on the drivers behind them. Marussia’s Jules Bianchi finished six-tenths of a second down on Sutil in P19, but he told NBCSN after qualifying that he was confident he could stick with Saubers during the race tomorrow.

This result will only increase the pressure on both Gutierrez and Sutil, whose seats are already under threat for 2015. Sergey Sirotkin, Giedo van der Garde and Simona de Silvestro all have thrown their hat into the ring for a place with Sauber, and going on recent form, there’s a strong argument for completely replacing the driver line-up.

Button calls for F1 to ‘move on’, hand Vettel no further punishment

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Recent Formula 1 driver Jenson Button believes the sport should “move on” from Sebastian Vettel’s clash with Lewis Hamilton in Baku and hand the Ferrari driver no further punishment for his sideway swipe.

Vettel drove towards Hamilton under the safety car in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, resulting in a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race for dangerous driving, the harshest available penalty bar exclusion.

The FIA confirmed on Wednesday that it would be re-examining the incident to see if any further action is warranted, with Hamilton telling NBCSN after the race in Baku that it would set a dangerous precedent if more was not done to punish Vettel.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Button – who spent 17 seasons racing full-time in F1 and most recently made a one-off return in Monaco with McLaren – offered his view of the situation, saying that the sport’s bosses should move on and not give Vettel any further punishment.

Recap: Green Bay Packers QB Brett Hundley takes in Kohler Grand Prix

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

When professional athletes decide to experience sports outside of the one where they make their living, it never ceases to entertain. Case and point: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley.

The 24-year-old Hundley spent the weekend at Road America, taking in the Kohler Grand Prix. His time at the facility began on Thursday, where he first paid a visit to Team Penske driver Will Power, who gave him a quick tutorial.

Will Power shows Brett Hundley a steering for a Verizon IndyCar Series machine. Photo: IndyCar

The next part of Hundley’s day saw him take a two-seater ride with none other than Mario Andretti. And, unsurprisingly, it left a big impression.

Mari Andretti takes Brett Hundley around Road America in the Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater. Photo: IndyCar

“The first lap, I’m screaming, and it’s the warm-up lap! And then the second lap: I’m just bright-eyed, going through corners. I give so much respect, that’s an awesome sport, man!” Hundley said in a media debrief afterward.

However, the day was not finished. Later on, Hundley showed off his arm strength and throwing accuracy by attempting to throw a football through the passenger side window of a moving Chevrolet Corvette. And while it took a few attempts, he eventually hit his mark.

Hundley stayed through Sunday and dawned a photographer’s bib in order to take in more of the action.

In fact, he even inadvertently photobombed second-place finisher Josef Newgarden during his post-race interview.

A video chronicling Hundley’s visit can be viewed here and additional photos from his weekend can be found on his Instagram page.

 

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Merhi confirmed for WEC return with Manor at the Nürburgring

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CEFC Manor TRS Racing has confirmed that Roberto Merhi will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for next month’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring, replacing Jean-Eric Vergne.

Merhi previously raced for Manor in both Formula 1 and the WEC, making his most recent appearance with the British marque at last November’s 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Merhi’s last racing outing came in the Formula 2 double-header in Spain and has flirted with a move into Formula E, but was confirmed on Wednesday to be making his racing return at the Nürburgring on July 16.

Merhi will deputize for Vergne in the No. 24 Oreca 07 Gibson while the Frenchman is in New York for the city’s inaugural Formula E event.

FIA to re-examine Vettel/Hamilton Baku F1 clash

2 Comments

The FIA has confirmed that it will re-examine the clash between Formula 1 title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix to see if further action is warranted.

Vettel and Hamilton made contact twice behind the safety car in Baku, with the second incident deemed to be an act of dangerous driving on Vettel’s part.

The FIA stewards in Baku handed Vettel a 10-second stop/go penalty for the clash – the harshest available penalty besides disqualification – but faced calls to issue a stricter punishment post race.

Hamilton said that the incident set a dangerous precedent for F1 and wider motorsport, but Vettel believed his rival deserved a penalty for allegedly brake testing him.

On Wednesday, the FIA confirmed that it would be re-examining the incident in a meeting on July 3, with a verdict set to be delivered ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

“Following the recent incident at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which Car 5 (Sebastian Vettel) was involved in a collision with Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), on Monday 3rd July, the FIA will further examine the causes on the incident in order to evaluate whether further action is necessary,” a short statement from the FIA read.

“A statement regarding the outcome of this process will be made available before the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix (7-9 July).”