Manor

Vitaly Petrov links up with Manor in WEC for 2017

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov will race for the CEFC Manor TRS Racing team in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year following the announcement of a deal on Friday.

Petrov raced in F1 between 2010 and 2012, scoring one podium finish for Renault and becoming Russia’s first representative in the world championship. A grandstand at the Sochi Autodrom was recently named in his honor.

Petrov moved into the WEC last year with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class, claiming a class podium at Le Mans alongside Kirill Ladygin and Viktor Shaitar.

The Russian driver will remain in LMP2 for 2017, switching to Manor following SMP Racing’s exit from the series as it prepares to step up to the LMP1 privateer class for 2018.

Petrov will race in the No. 25 ORECA 07 car alongside Simon Trummer and Roberto Gonzalez, with his public debut coming at Monza this weekend in the pre-season Prologue test.

“We are very happy to have Vitaly join our team, it is great to add another big talent to our driver line up,” Manor president Graeme Lowdon said.

“Vitaly has experience in WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans so he is a very good addition to our team. We know Vitaly from our time in Formula 1, he is a very competitive driver and we are really looking forward to going racing with him in 2017.”

Petrov completes Manor’s WEC line-up for 2017, with the No. 25 car featuring fellow ex-F1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne alongside Jonathan Hirschi and the returning Tor Graves.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”