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Pastor Maldonado’s cousin, Manuel, to race in British F3

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Pastor Maldonado’s young cousin, Manuel Maldonado, has announced that he will race in the British Formula 3 championship this year with Fortec Motorsports.

Maldonado Sr. raced in F1 between 2011 and 2016, famously winning the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix with Williams, but was better known for his on-track aggression and numerous penalties for clashes.

Looking to follow in his cousin’s footsteps – reaching F1, that is, not getting an unwanted reputation – 17-year-old Manuel Maldonado raced in the Italian F4 series last year, scoring a best finish of P12 at Adria.

Maldonado Jr. will now move up to the British BRDC F3 series for 2017, as confirmed on Friday.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to have signed with Fortec, I have worked with them in the past and I am very happy to be here,” Maldonado said.

“I know that we can develop well together. Now we keep preparing hard for the upcoming season and it’s an honour for me to represent my country Venezuela in a British championship.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Manuel to the team for the season ahead, and also to have completed our line-up for 2017 BRDC British F3,” added Fortec manager Russ Dixon.

“Manuel is a talented young driver and we are looking forward to helping him progress throughout the year.”

Pastor Maldonado has been without a race seat since leaving Lotus after the 2015 season, despite angling to move into IndyCar last year with the now-defunct KV Racing operation.

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.