Ferrari strategy mistake leaves Raikkonen 17th on the grid

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Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed that the decision not to run again in the first part of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix was taken by Ferrari, and that the team is at fault for his early elimination.

The Finn did not head out for a second run during the first session on Saturday afternoon, allowing Marussia’s Jules Bianchi to improve his time and make it through to Q2 at Raikkonen’s expense.

Raikkonen explained to the media on Saturday that the decision not to run again was the team’s alone, and that he even challenged the call when it was made.

“The plan was to go out,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously I struggled a bit with the harder tires this morning and yesterday afternoon to put a good lap in those. The car has been good on the softer tires.

“That was the plan and then the team said that ‘no, we are fine, we don’t need to go out’. I questioned it a few times, and they said there’s no need, and obviously we can see the end result.”

However, Raikkonen is not willing to dwell on it, saying that everyone makes mistakes, although he does not expect them to happen at Ferrari.

“Obviously not good for me, not good for the team, but the mistake has been made,” he said. “It has been a difficult year anyhow so I don’t really see a point to start shouting around.

“The mistake’s done, I’ve done mistakes in the past, I will make in the future, people make mistakes.

“But obviously there’s things that we have to change. As a team, in Formula 1, as Ferrari, we should not make this kind of things. We are not here first year, any of us, it’s not easy times.”

This appears to be a new low point in what has been a difficult year at Ferrari for Raikkonen. When the Finn joined the team at the beginning of the season, it was meant to be the beginning of a new, successful era for the team. Instead, both Raikkonen and teammate Fernando Alonso have struggled with the F14 T car, and quite what the future holds at Maranello is far from clear.

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.