Steady Hulkenberg looks to continue points streak in Austria

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Nico Hulkenberg’s efficient season continued in Canada with a fifth-place finish, and as Austria now looms, the German driver is hopeful that his season-long streak of scoring points will carry on.

“We are in a very good position to keep scoring points, but we will need to keep our guard up and keep working hard as we did from the start,” he said recently.

“There will be tracks where we will be stronger and where we can capitalize on the opportunities we have, and tracks that will be more of a challenge.

“I know what plans the team has for the rest of the season and I see no reason why we cannot keep battling at the level we are at now.”

Force India currently sits fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and is looking up directly at Ferrari, which holds an 87-77 lead for third. Below them is McLaren, which is fifth in Constructors’ with 66 points.

As for the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, Hulkenberg is optimistic that the Red Bull Ring will play to his car’s strengths.

“Together with Russia, this race is one of the big question marks for everyone this year,” he said. “The track has some long straights and a few slow corners that should suit us, and we can count on making the most of softer compounds as we did in Canada.

“When you go to a new track, it’s even more important to maximize the practice sessions because there is so much more to learn. The lap is quite short so the gaps between the cars will be minimal and even small mistakes can make a big difference.”

Also betting on a solid performance once again is Hulkenberg’s boss, Vijay Mallya, who isn’t expecting a major shake-up of the pecking order in Austria.

“…Cars that have been competitive so far will retain their advantage,” he said. “The track layout seems likely to be favorable to the characteristics of the VJM07, but the competitive order is very tight and we will need to be performing at our best to come away with a good result.”

Ferrari signs Callum Ilott to young driver academy

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Ferrari has confirmed the signing of rising British racer Callum Ilott to its prestigious driver academy ahead of the 2018 season.

Ilott, 18, is a former member of Red Bull’s junior program, and has spent the last three years racing in the FIA European Formula 3 series, taking eight race wins.

After finishing the 2017 season fourth in the championship with Prema Powerteam, Ilott has now linked up with the Ferrari Driver Academy in the next step of his racing career, becoming its first British member.

“Ferrari Driver Academy is pleased to announce that British driver Callum Ilott is the latest promising young driver to be selected for its development program,” an announcement from Ferrari reads.

“18 years old, Ilott joins the FDA in his third season in car racing, having just finished the FIA F3 European Championship. He comes with a strong pedigree in international Formula 3 racing, having made the jump directly from karting as reigning European Champion.

“Ilott joins Charles Leclerc, Antonio Fuoco, Guan Yu Zhou, Giuliano Alesi, Marcus Armstrong and Enzo Fittipaldi in the programme, which supports talented young drivers on their career path in motorsport.”

Besides its existing roster, the Ferrari Driver Academy also played a part in the careers of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and the late Jules Bianchi.