Wear fine, result not so for Sauber in Montreal

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The good news for Sauber’s Adrian Sutil in the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix? He finished, which was something he couldn’t say in four of the five previous Grands Prix.

The bad news? It was in 13th, as the only car to see the checkered flag who failed to score.

“It was a long race with many incidents,” he said. “We were able to keep out of all the trouble from start to finish. Hence, it was a good team performance, which I am very pleased of. I am also satisfied with my own performance. However, all this only led to a 13th position, which we have to accept at this point in time. At least we gave everything today.”

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said although the tire wear for the C33 chassis was fine, there was still the ultimate pace lacking over the course of the long run.

“No doubt, this was a difficult race,” she said. “The team worked well delivering good pit stops, and we were able to execute the strategy as planned. The tire wear was as expected, so there was nothing wrong on this side. However, we have to analyse the data very carefully to understand why the lap times were slower than we could expect based on the long runs on Friday. We will concentrate on working on the set-up of the car, because there is more potential to be exploited.”

Sauber, along with Caterham, have yet to score a point this year.

Plans for Alonso sports car debut in Rolex 24 gathering speed

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Plans for McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to appear in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona are gathering speed as the two-time World Champion angles for a drive at Le Mans in 2018.

Alonso announced on Thursday he had signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with McLaren in F1, but has left the door open to continue his pursuit of the Triple Crown of Motorsport and become just the second driver in history to complete it.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and made his Indianapolis 500 debut this year, retiring with an engine issue, and has made no secret of his ambition to race at Le Mans one day.

With no date clashes, the possibility exists for Alonso to race at Le Mans in 2018, potentially with Toyota in the LMP1 class following McLaren’s split with Honda.

However, Alonso could make his 24-hour race debut five months earlier, with reports emerging on Thursday that he could be in line to appear in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

First reported by Sportscar365, Alonso could be set to race for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s team, United Autosports, at Daytona in January, with no clashes existing with his F1 commitments.

Alonso remained coy when asked about the chances of him appearing at Daytona, but admitted additional preparation for a possible Le Mans appearance would be of interest.

“For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it,” Alonso said, as quoted by Reuters.

“If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”

He added more about his other race program in Thursday’s pre-race Paddock Pass episode, speaking to NBCSN. “To be the best driver in the world you have to win in different series at different times. It’s possible I can compete in different races next year,” he said.

Brown said he would be happy to field Alonso at Daytona, and confirmed their pair had already loosely discussed it.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown said.

“We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time,” he added, referencing the eventual entry to the Indy 500.

United Autosports will field two Ligier JS P217 cars at Daytona in January, and has already confirmed ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta, McLaren junior Lando Norris, American endurance racer Will Owen and British youngster Philip Hanson in seats.

McLaren reserve and 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button had been linked with a drive for United Autosports at Daytona, but Brown confirmed to Sportscar365 this was no longer an option.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us. I don’t know what he’s going to be doing,” Brown said.

“I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”