Red Bull junior Sainz in talks with Caterham

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Red Bull junior driver Carlos Sainz Jr. has confirmed that he is in talks with Caterham over a possible full-time drive.

The Spaniard is currently leading the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, and looks poised to follow in McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen’s footsteps and clinch the title. However, he may have to balance this campaign with F1 commitments should a full-time seat come about before the end of the year.

Following a change in ownership, the future for Caterham’s drivers is far from certain. Sainz could be set to replace either Kamui Kobayashi or Marcus Ericsson before the end of the year, and confirmed to Spanish newspaper AS that talks had been held with the team.

“It is true that there have been talks and that we have spoken to them, but nothing is confirmed,” he said. “This does not affect me because my goal remains the same: to be at Toro Rosso in the future.

“If to do that I have to go to Caterham before then I will happily. It is possible to run in a race this year, but it is Red Bull that decides. They and Caterham must also have benefits and be convinced by the agreement.”

Sainz is thought to be in the frame to join Toro Rosso at the end of the season in place of Jean-Eric Vergne. If he can get some extra time at Caterham and also win the Formula Renault 3.5 title, it would put him in very good stead before joining Red Bull’s B-team in 2015.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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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.