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Richie Stanaway set for Super Formula test

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GP2 and FIA World Endurance Championship driver Richie Stanaway will test a Super Formula car at Suzuka next week with Theodore Racing.

Stanaway stepped up to GP2 along with Status Grand Prix in 2015 after the team took over Caterham Racing’s entry.

The New Zealander has claimed two race wins in his debut season, while also claiming a victory in the GTE Pro class of the FIA WEC with Aston Martin Racing.

However, Stanaway may be set to make the move over to Japan after Theodore Racing announced on Friday that he will be testing a Super Formula car.

“I’m really pleased to be invited to the Super Formula test to represent Teddy Yip and Theodore Racing,” Stanaway said.

“In terms of speed it will be a pretty phenomenal car to drive and Suzuka is probably the best place to handle a high downforce car. With the Honda involvement it’s also a great opportunity to show what I can do.

“With very few opportunities available for drivers like me wanting to move to F1 at the moment Super Formula can be a good place get noticed, especially with the manufacturers involved.

“The car is probably quicker than the last couple of rows of the F1 grid and should be pretty impressive to drive.”

Stanaway is not the only GP2 driver looking at the move over to Japan, with McLaren youngster and series champion Stoffel Vandoorne also poised to test at Suzuka.

Hamilton: McLaren could help create four-team F1 title fight in 2018

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Lewis Hamilton says the Mercedes Formula 1 team cannot afford to let up in its push to improve ahead of a fiercer fight at the front of the field in 2018 – potentially including former team McLaren.

Hamilton clinched his fourth F1 drivers’ title in Mexico at the end of October as Mercedes continued its perfect record of championships since the introduction of the new V6 turbo hybrid engines in 2014.

The team faced a stiffer challenge in 2017 thanks to a resurgent Ferrari, while Red Bull also posed a threat towards the end of the season, setting the stage for another close fight next year.

Hamilton is expecting both Ferrari and Red Bull to remain a force at the front of the pack, but also feels McLaren could join the fight after ditching Honda in favor of a Renault engine supply for 2018.

“When I’m training and preparing for a new season, I firmly believe that we can be contenders for the next championship. It may turn out to be not possible, but you have to have that mindset,” Hamilton said.

“If you go in with expectations of finishing fifth, it’s not going to work. You’ve got to gear yourself up to win.

“Next year, McLaren will have Renault engines, then we may see four teams fighting for the championship. I think Red Bull will be quicker and Ferrari for sure will be fast again.

“We can’t stand still – we have to keep moving forwards.”

Hamilton started his F1 career with McLaren back in 2007, winning his maiden world title in 2008 before leaving the team for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season.