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SPM, Hinchcliffe, Petro-Canada Lubricants relationship extended

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Schmidt Peterson Motorsports announced Wednesday that it has extended an agreement with Petro-Canada Lubricants as an associate sponsor on James Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The Canadian lubricant company firm first partnered with SPM and Hinchcliffe last season. It will continue that role for all of 2017 with enhanced branding on Hinchcliffe’s race car as well as other SPM team assets.

“From the outset last year, one of the drivers behind my partnership with Petro-Canada Lubricants was being able to proudly represent a Canadian company which has a unique reach across North America,” Hinchcliffe, a native of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, said in a media release.

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Added SPM co-owner and Canadian Ric Peterson, “We are extremely happy to have Petro-Canada Lubricants on board with us again in 2017. Their increased relationship with us this season continues to show the value of our race team has in the IndyCar Series; that is something we are very proud of.”

Hinchcliffe enters his seventh season in the IndyCar Series in 2017. He has four series wins: St. Petersburg, Sao Paulo and Iowa (all in 2013) and New Orleans (2015).

He also earned the pole for last season’s milestone 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

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F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.