Sainz handed Russian GP grid penalty for Stroll clash in Bahrain

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Carlos Sainz Jr. will drop three places on the grid at the next Formula 1 race in Russia after being deemed responsible for a crash with Lance Stroll during Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sainz and Stroll crashed at Turn 1 on Lap 11 at the Bahrain International Circuit, with both drivers laying blame with one another for the collision.

Replays showed Sainz exiting the pit lane and taking to the inside of the corner, with Stroll trying to take his usual racing line before the pair came together.

After speaking to both drivers and analyzing the video footage of the clash, the stewards deemed Sainz to have been at fault, resulting in a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix on April 30.

“The Stewards heard from Carlos Sainz, the driver of car 55, Lance Stroll, the driver of car 18 and the team representatives, reviewed the video evidence which showed that car 18 was on the normal racing line, car 55 left the pit lane and made a very optimistic attempt to pass car 18 into the corner,” a statement from the FIA stewards reads.

“The Stewards decided that the driver of car 55 was predominantly to blame for causing the collision in violation of Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

The crash caused both Stroll and Sainz to retire from the race, and marked the third round in a row that the former had failed to see the finish.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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