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Toro Rosso frustrated, encouraged by first 2017 F1 test running

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Scuderia Toro Rosso technical chief James Key says the team was both encouraged and frustrated by its performance in the first Formula 1 pre-season test in Barcelona this week.

Toro Rosso launched its 2017 car, the STR12, last Sunday, with a design similar to that of defending champion team Mercedes and a striking new livery catching the attention of the F1 paddock.

The team had hoped to put the new car through its paces over the four-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, only for issues to limit the running of drivers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. Kvyat was able to complete just a single lap on the final day of the test due to an engine issue on his car.

Toro Rosso managed a total of just 183 laps in Barcelona, less than any other team, leaving Key frustrated.

“The week has been both encouraging but also frustrating with the missed running time,” he said.

“However we will now plan our recovery for next week and hope to make up for lost ground.”

Team boss Franz Tost echoed Key’s sentiments, saying: “We arrived in Barcelona at the start of the week with a wonderful new livery and we were quite excited to start the new season. We were hoping to have completed many more laps than what we’ve actually done during this first pre-season test.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t complete our program because of some reliability issues. Therefore, we are missing some data, especially regarding the softer tires.

“Having said that, when the car has been out on track we’ve got a very promising feedback, so we just need to keep working hard with our partner to sort out all the reliability issues.

“Both Carlos and Daniil have got to grips quickly with the STR12 and are gaining confidence rapidly. Their impressions has also been generally quite positive.

“All in all, it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride to begin with, but we are confident that we will get everything under control next week during the second test in order to be ready for the first race of the season in Australia.”

Toro Rosso will resume running in Barcelona on Tuesday with the start of the second pre-season test.

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/