F1 drivers unconcerned about FRIC ban

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After the legality of the front-rear interconnected suspension systems (aka FRIC) was brought into question by FIA race director Charlie Whiting earlier this week, teams are now moving to remove them from their cars for this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

However, a number of drivers in Germany have said that the loss of the system will not be too much of a problem, and general consensus suggests that Mercedes will lose the most – albeit not enough to fall back into the clutches of the other teams.

It was thought that some of the teams could take a risk and run the system during practice, leaving the decision over its legality with the race stewards in Germany, who could theoretically disagree with Whiting. However, none of the teams will risk this, and Force India’s Sergio Perez confirmed that his team would stay safe this weekend.

“We won’t run it I think,” Perez said. “It’s pretty much taken the decision from the senior management that we won’t run it. I don’t know how much it will affect us, but I don’t expect it will have a big impact on our car.

“Some teams, of course, they have developed the system and have a much advanced system than us, and have a bigger impact than we will.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was asked about how the loss of the system would impact on his driving style, but he too was not overly bothered by the decision.

“Nothing, really,” he said. “It’s a system that has been on Formula 1 cars for some years now, but it’s not a big implication in terms of driving style or in terms of anything that can change the behavior of the car.”

Felipe Massa also felt that it wouldn’t be a huge change, and believes that the teams ahead – namely Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull – stand to lose the most from the ban.

“I think it’s very difficult to answer compared to other teams,” he admitted. “The only thing I can say is that we don’t make our car much quicker using the FRIC. For sure, it’s positive, but not a big difference, so I don’t think we will lose a lot.

“It can be that we get closer to the big teams. I really believe that teams maybe like Mercedes, like Ferrari, like Red Bull, they can have a system which is working more than our system, but it’s very difficult to be sure about that, so we need to wait and see how things work on this weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton tested without FRIC at Silverstone last week, and wasn’t affected by the change.

“It is going to be a new experience for several different people,” he said. “We tried it already in Silverstone and the car felt much the same. Naturally I think everyone has to adapt the set-up a little bit to utilise different settings.”

It will be interesting to see if there is any change in the pecking order this weekend, but given that all of the teams look set to remove the device, we should see little movement on the grid.

WATCH LIVE: ABC Supply 500 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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The Verizon IndyCar Series’ run of different types of tracks continues with today’s ABC Supply 500 from Pocono Raceway, as the final superspeedway race of the year to kick off the final four-race stretch of the 2017 season comes after a July where the series raced once apiece on a short oval, a street course and permanent road course.

You can watch the 200-lap, 500-mile race from Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. live on NBCSN (stream link here); the series is back live on NBCSN for the duration of the season after the last two races were live on CNBC, with an NBCSN same day encore.

Kevin Lee is on the call from Pocono along with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, with Jon Beekhuis, Katie Hargitt, Anders Krohn and Robin Miller in the pits.

IndyCar coverage will run from 2 through 6 p.m. ET.

After qualifying, here’s some of the questions to consider in Pocono:

  • How will the championship picture shake out after today’s race?
  • Might a new or surprise winner enter the mix?
  • Can Honda get back to winning and stop Team Penske and Chevrolet’s three-race win streak?
  • How might temperature, wind and downforce levels change the game?

My colleague Kyle Lavigne is on site in Pocono this weekend and may have some additional thoughts going into today’s race.


Tanak wins Rally Germany, Ogier retakes WRC points lead

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Ott Tänak flew to his second victory of the FIA World Rally Championship season in Germany on Sunday as Sebastien Ogier moved back into the lead of the drivers’ standings with three rounds to go.

Tänak led from Friday through to the final power stage to give M-Sport Ford team victory, marking his first tarmac win alongside co-driver Martin Järveoja.

“It’s a great feeling. The start to the rally went perfectly, after that it was just about controlling our lead,” Tänak said.

“Winning our first tarmac event feels cool. With 25 points here I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight for the championship. We will keep fighting; we need to keep winning if we’re going to win the championship.”

Tänak sits 33 points back from Ogier, whose bid for a fifth straight title was boosted with a run to third in Germany as chief championship rival Thierry Neuville retired with suspension damage on Saturday.

Neuville is now 17 points off the lead, with the WRC now embarking on a six-week break before returning in Spain on October 6.

Rosberg opens up on post-F1 life, tech investment interests

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Anyone who follows Nico Rosberg on social media will know that he has been keeping very busy since retiring just five days after winning his maiden Formula 1 championship at the end of last year.

As well as announcing he is to become a father for a second time, Rosberg has been travelling plenty, notably spending a lot of time in the United States and, in particular, Silicon Valley last month.

Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University, but has opened up more about his interests in technology and plans to invest in an interview with The Times.

“I recently got back from a trip to Silicon Valley. It was on my bucket list and it was really inspirational to see what happens there; I thought the mentality was fascinating,” Rosberg said.

“In our society, we look down on people who fail, whereas over there it’s normal to fail — it’s courageous. If you’re not scared of failing, you can get through to innovation.

“Over here, it’s very money, money, money, but over there people want to reach out to others, make their lives better and look after our planet, too.

“I’ve always been passionate about technology, and investment is of interest to me at this stage. Mobility is what I’m most interested in, because there’s been a huge disruption in that area and it’s going to change the health and future of our planet.

“It’s a fascinating time. I visited Uber and they’re working on their “network in the sky” already. They say that in the space of six years I’m going to be sitting here and my app will tell me which rooftop my drone is going to be on and at what time. That’s just around the corner, it’s pretty insane.

“So I’m starting to get active in that direction. I’m a conservative person, so I need to be careful. I do prefer to go for companies that already have a bit of a track record, but we’ll see.”

The interview cites Rosberg’s net worth as being £23 million ($29.6m), with the German admitting he earned “a lot” during his final year in F1 with Mercedes in 2016.

Nevertheless, Rosberg claimed he is “not a big spender”, instead opting for a number of property investment opportunities, his best being some space in London that has become a convenience store.

One of the big factors in Rosberg’s decision to retire from F1 was becoming a father, and he admitted that it also changed his approach to dealing with financial matters.

“Having [Alaia] really opened my eyes to future planning, because I want her to have all the opportunities I had in my life,” Rosberg said.

Ryan Hunter-Reay cleared to drive at Pocono

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Ryan Hunter-Reay has been cleared to drive in today’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) following his accident in qualifying for the race.

The driver of the No. 28 DHL Honda was re-evaluated Sunday morning by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows after being transported, then released, from a nearby hospital in Pocono on Saturday.

Here’s INDYCAR’s full statement:

Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was re-evaluated by INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows this morning after sustaining injuries to his left knee and hip Saturday following a crash in ABC Supply 500 qualifying. Hunter-Reay has been cleared to drive.

Hunter-Reay will start from the rear of the field and press on in a great comeback after the accident. Last year he drove from the rear of the field – twice – to ultimately finish third. He won this race in 2015, his most recent Verizon IndyCar Series victory.

He posted a couple tweets last night thanking everyone for the support and the Holmatro Safety Team and Pocono’s staff for quick work to help him after sustaining hip and knee injuries from a heavy 138G impact.