Double DNF for Toro Rosso caps off bad weekend for Red Bull

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The return of the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend was masterminded by billionaire owner of the Red Bull brand, Dietrich Mateschitz. As the owner of the defending world champion team and its sister squad, Toro Rosso, it was intended to be their big weekend to impress.

Instead, not only did the main Red Bull team flounder and score just four points, but Toro Rosso’s weekend also went badly as both Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat retired from the race.

It had all started so well for Kvyat. On Saturday, he qualified in seventh place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, only to drop back off the line down to tenth place. He then became embroiled in a battle with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo for position, and pulled off a remarkable overtake on the Australian.

Ultimately, it wasn’t to be though. Kvyat suffered a failure on his right rear wheel that sent him off into the gravel, and he was forced to retire from the race.

“I’m obviously disappointed with how today turned out, especially because everything was working so well this weekend and it seemed like a promising race,” the Russian explained. “Our pace was strong, our updates and also tire management worked well.

“The start was difficult, I lost a few positions but I managed to get a position back. From then on I was able to push hard and it looked like we could have a strong result. Around lap 26 I saw my rear right tyre blow up and I was forced to stop.”

Teammate Jean-Eric Vergne ran outside of the points for the majority of the grand prix, and eventually retired from the race due to a problem with his brakes.

“I have struggled with the brakes from the beginning of the race,” he said. “It’s difficult to drive the car with such a considerable rear locking. It’s not good for tire life and for the balance in general so it was really a tricky race. I was doing my best to finish it at least but in the end I just could not bring the car to the checkered flag.

“Problems happen, it’s a shame that they occurred here but the new aero package is working well and we have a good car to face the next grand prix in Silverstone.”

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”