United Fiber & Data announces IndyCar return; capacity, driver TBD

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Andretti Autosport has three of its four 2014 cars locked down for next year, and the potential exists for the team to add a fifth full-time car for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season per Michael Andretti’s wishes expressed ahead of the Milwaukee IndyFest race.

Meanwhile one of Andretti’s 2014 commercial partners appears set to return to IndyCar for 2015 and beyond.

United Fiber & Data, which upped its involvement this year to become primary sponsor of both James Hinchcliffe’s IndyCar and Matthew Brabham’s Indy Lights car, addressed rumors it might not be returning with a declarative “we’re here, and we’re staying” tweet on Labor Day Monday.

UFD’s presence this year has extended beyond the drivers themselves. Their activation has included the UFD Girls, who were present at all Verizon IndyCar Series races this season.

As for whose racecars UFD will be adorning next year, that still remains a mystery.

Hinchcliffe does not yet have a contract signed, but is working towards returning with Andretti Autosport for 2015.

Brabham’s status is yet to be determined with Andretti not yet having committed to an Indy Lights program next year, as that series prepares to introduce the new Dallara IL15 chassis.

Michael Andretti told MotorSportsTalk at Milwaukee he “has a lot of time” for Brabham and will look to keep him involved under the team fold in some way, shape or form over the offseason and into 2015.

UFD returning is a good thing – and we await to see whether it will be an encore for Hinchcliffe and UFD in the No. 27 Honda or whether it could potentially shift within the paddock.

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.