NASCAR to test potential rules changes for 2015 following next month’s race at Michigan

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We haven’t even reached the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup, but NASCAR officials are already looking ahead to 2015.

The sanctioning body will hold a test following next month’s mid-August Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway to test new rules being considered for implementation in 2015.

The Sprint Cup race at MIS is August 17. The test will be the next day, Monday, August 18, according to a report by Dustin Long of MRN.com.

“We’re very pleased with the competition on the track so far in 2014,” Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development, said in a statement to MRN.com. “The evolution of the racing product continues as we look to 2015 and beyond.

“The test at Michigan International Speedway will be a great opportunity to gather more information, help us validate much of the great research done by engineers in our sport, and drive us one step closer to our 2015 race package.”

The number of teams has yet to be determined for the Michigan test. Another test is possible, Long reported, sometime later this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

While having tests in the second half of the season is not unusual, the timing is somewhat curious, as this year’s test is two months ahead of similar testing last year when the sanctioning body wanted to assess possible rule changes in 2014.

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Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”