While Nico Rosberg went wire-to-wire in Monaco today to claim his second straight win at the principality, it was a less fruitful race for a number of other drivers who were forced to end their days early.
Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez were just three of the eight retirees in Monaco, where a race of attrition allowed Jules Bianchi to finish ninth and score Marussia’s first ever points in Formula 1.
Perez crashed out on the first lap after tangling with Jenson Button at Mirabeau, whilst an engine problem for Sebastian Vettel forced him to park up and retire. Adrian Sutil’s day came to an early end after a spin on the exit of the tunnel, which brought out the safety car for the second time.
Pastor Maldonado, Jean-Eric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat and Esteban Gutierrez were the other retirees.
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.