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McLaren: No fundamental issues with Honda F1 power unit design

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McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has insisted that there are no fundamental issues with Honda’s new Formula 1 power unit design despite a number of issues arising during testing earlier this week.

McLaren enters the 2017 F1 campaign hopeful of returning to the podium, having not recorded a top-three finish since linking up with Honda at the start of 2015.

Power unit issues blighted McLaren for much of the 2015 campaign before progress was made last year, with the British team finishing sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Such progress led to hopes that 2017 could yield even better results, only for McLaren to lose hours of track time through the first pre-season test due to issues with Honda’s power unit.

The Japanese manufacturer has changed the layout of its power unit for 2017, but Boullier insists that the issues experienced during testing are not set to blight McLaren’s entire season.

“It is fixable, but it was not the plan to have these issues,” Boullier said, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“They are not really serious, as there are no fundamental issues with the design.”

Having seen drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne manage just 208 laps in total – by comparison, mileage leader Mercedes managed 558 – Boullier conceded that McLaren’s expectations for the first test had not been met.

“We had slightly higher expectations coming to Barcelona, but then the week didn’t start exactly as we wanted,” Boullier said.

“I think there is a bit more work to be done in Japan to investigate why we had those issues: issues that we absolutely did not expect to have – and for sure neither did Honda.”

Boullier added that McLaren was in “a much better situation” than at this point in 2015 or 2016, but conceded: “It is not good enough for our expectations and the expectations of our fans after three years.

“Honda are still three years behind in time to the others. Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari started in 2010 – and all these three started with an existing organization, as all three were already doing F1 engines

“In 2013 Honda decided to come back to Formula One and started from scratch: empty buildings! They had to buy everything and find the right people.

“So to be fair you have manufacturers who had seven years and are still struggling, and Honda started four years after the others.

“These units are so complicated that you have to be really process driven and go step by step.

“Unfortunately there is no short cut.”

GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

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By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/