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Ayla Agren back with Team Pelfrey for USF2000 season

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Another intriguing name has been added to the field in this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season, with Ayla Agren confirmed for a comeback with Team Pelfrey.

The talented Norwegian driver’s results haven’t matched her ability level in two seasons of USF2000 thus far.

As a rookie graduating with Pelfrey in 2015 after winning the F1600 championship the year previous, she was one of four first-year drivers in an all-rookie lineup. A switch to John Cummiskey Racing last year saw her improve her best result up to fourth, but a lack of budget cost her a couple race weekends.

Now she’ll be back with Pelfrey in the team’s No. 82 florescent yellow Energima/Team Pelfrey Tatuus USF-17 Mazda, alongside her teammate Robert Megennis. The teenager will be in his second season.

“I am very excited to be back with Team Pelfrey, we’ve had some great results together in previous seasons and I am really happy to get the chance to work together again,” Agren said. “I’m looking forward to being back on the USF2000 grid in the new Tatuus [USF-17] car and on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder for the 2017 season. I cannot wait for the season to start!”

Agren is the 11th confirmed driver for this year’s USF2000 season, with the field expected to be in at least the mid-20s if not closer to 30 cars for the season.

This will represent her best chance yet at breaking through into the top-five of the championship and scoring either or both of her first series podium, and first win.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”