Stefan Johansson’s latest blog: Vettel vs. Hamilton; Alonso to Indy 500

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Two Grands Prix are in the books with a third one to come this weekend in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and of course, there’s been that other bit of news too out today when Fernando Alonso got confirmed for the Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren Honda Andretti entry.

It all adds up to the latest nuggets that feature in Stefan Johansson’s latest blog, in his latest conversation with Jan Tegler.

First, some notes on Sebastian Vettel’s smarts in using 2016 to test Pirelli’s 2017 tires, paying dividends:

“He was the only driver to put aside the time to do that. I said at the time that I guarantee this would pay dividends for him going into 2017 and it certainly looks like it has.

“I can’t understand why no other driver was willing to do that. If there’s one simple way to gain an advantage, it’s in understanding the tires and even better if you can have an influence on how they are built. That was one of the main reasons why Michael Schumacher was so successful.

“Good for Vettel and shame on everybody else for not committing to that testing.”

On Lewis Hamilton’s Chinese Grand Prix victory that followed last week:

“No one really challenged Lewis at any point in China. There was more passing than we saw in Melbourne and it’s interesting because most of the really good passes were almost all two-lane overtakes. That’s something we touched on before the season began. I mentioned that one possibility resulting from the increased grip of the 2017 cars might be the capability to run more than one line through corners.”

And on Alonso’s impending arrival at Indianapolis:

“Yes, this is the best thing that could happen to IndyCar in my opinion. It’s funny, you and I have been talking about this in the blog over the last couple years – that IndyCar really needed to try and get one of the top guys in Formula One to come over and we always mentioned Alonso as a perfect example.

“This is really great news and I personally can’t wait to see him go around the Speedway, I’m very excited.

“It’s worked out that he’s the driver most likely to want to do this because he’s in an uncompetitive car again. It’s marketing gold and a huge shot in the arm for IndyCar.”

Scott Dixon, meanwhile, was fast again at Long Beach but got caught out by a strategic misstep, much to Johansson’s chagrin:

“Scott really should have won, again. He was far quicker than anyone else most of the weekend, just as he was at St. Petersburg. The team chose to go to a three-stop strategy because of the way they thought the yellow flag was going to fall early in the race. The yellow never came and it screwed his strategy completely.”

You can read the full blog post here, for even more insight.

2017 columns:

Additionally, a link to Johansson’s social media channels and #F1TOP3 competition are linked here.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.