2014 British Grand Prix Preview

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Formula 1 heads to Great Britain this weekend for one of the most important races of the season. Not only are the grandstands packed with fans, but it is also the home grand prix for all but three of the teams on the grid. For the track itself, this year’s race is an important one as it is the fiftieth time the circuit has hosted the British Grand Prix.

After returning to the top of the podium in Austria, Mercedes heads to this weekend’s British Grand Prix full of confidence. Nico Rosberg’s victory over Lewis Hamilton saw him extend his championship lead to 29 points, but there is still everything to play for between the two Silver Arrows at Silverstone this weekend.

Both Rosberg and Hamilton will be chasing their second victories at the circuit, and both will know that they have rarely gone into a British Grand Prix with such a good chance of winning. Theoretically, the ‘loser’ of the pair is guaranteed second place, although neither will be willing to settle for anything less than a victory come the checkered flag.

The British Grand Prix is one of the most popular on the calendar as the fans come in their thousands to cheer on the drivers in all weather conditions. With rain forecast for qualifying and the race, it promises to be an intriguing grand prix weekend.

2014 British Grand Prix Talking Points

Home pride at stake for Lewis

If there is any race that Lewis Hamilton will want to win this season, it’s this one. As the most outstanding British driver of his generation, he is desperately trying to cut the gap to Rosberg at the top of the standings. Where better to regain the momentum than on home turf?

Button and Chilton excited for Silverstone

Of course, we cannot forget the other British drivers. Jenson Button and Max Chilton will both be flying the Union Jack on Sunday, and although they stand little chance of winning the race (or even points in Chilton’s case), a solid performance should put a smile on the faces of the fans. 

Nico looks to double up

For Rosberg, the task in the next three races will be to maintain his lead at the top of the championship heading into the summer break. The German driver won last year’s race at Silverstone, capitalizing on a problem for runaway leader Sebastian Vettel. Spoiling Hamilton’s homecoming would be a huge psychological victory.

Wolff set to make history

Susie Wolff will become the first woman in 22 years to take part in an official Formula 1 session tomorrow when she deputizes for Valtteri Bottas in FP1. Wolff has worked with Williams for over two years now, and she will be hoping to prove herself against the rest of the F1 field at Silverstone.

Caterham begins life after Tony

Following Tony Fernandes’ sale of Caterham earlier this week, the team will enjoy its first race at Silverstone under the management of Christijan Albers. The long term future of the team is still not clear, but both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will be hoping to put in a good display this weekend at its second ‘home race’ of the year.

Great Britain – Facts and Figures

Track: Silverstone
Laps: 
52
Corners: 18
Lap Record: Mark Webber 1:33.401 (2013)
Tyre Compounds: Medium (Option); Hard (Prime)
2013 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2013 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:29.607
2013 Fastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:33.401
DRS Zone: Wellington Straight (T5 to T6); Hangar Straight (T14 to T15)

Click here for full broadcasting details for the British Grand Prix. Please note that qualifying and the race are live on CNBC this weekend.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.