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Slight contact interrupts Harvey, Shank’s first day at Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS – Rookie Jack Harvey’s first day at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil, in the No. 50 Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda, has not been an easy one.

The past Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series runner-up and 2015 Freedom 100 race winner has completed the first of three phases of his Rookie Orientation Program but is questionable to return to the track for the final hour of practice.

The ROP requires drivers to complete 10 laps at 205-210 mph, then 15 from 210-215 mph, then 15 at 215 plus. Harvey did 15 laps during the ROP two-hour session and 14 laps this afternoon, and thus far has a best speed of 214.473 mph. He fought through clutch issues this morning, but those were resolved.

Harvey was on the warmup lane coming out of the pit lane and the car appeared to go straight into the Turn 2 wall, with reportedly a break with the steering column that caused an odd-looking incident to the car, and damaged the right front tire and upright area.

“It’s been a pretty challenging day for what was meant to be an easy process,” Harvey said. “We had some issues this morning, but we had managed to work through them. To have that happen, and I don’t know what did happen apart from I went to turn in and it went straight.

“I was coming out of the pits. I wasn’t even going fast. I was probably not even going 100 mph. So bizarre. We had just done a long run and had pitted because there was a yellow flag and then had that – random. Hopefully it’s the last time we come to the medical center.”

The Shank crew was hard at work diagnosing the problem and then working to repair the car. Shank’s crew, that is on the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, comprises most of this crew in tandem with Andretti Autosport.

If there’s a positive to take from this, Harvey managed to largely hang on without causing significant damage.

The Shank crew is renowned for its tireless work ethic through adverse situations. The line “Welcome to Indianapolis,” now proves appropriate for both driver and team’s first day here as a collective unit.

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.

Mercedes F1 engine chief warns against underestimating Honda

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Mercedes Formula 1 engine chief Andy Cowell has warned against underestimating the threat of Honda despite its ongoing power unit struggles, tipping the Japanese manufacturer to bounce back in the near future.

Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2015, supplying V6 turbo power units to the McLaren team, but has struggled for either performance or reliability through that period.

The struggles have led McLaren – currently sat bottom of the constructors’ championship – to consider cutting ties for 2018 given how far adrift compared to the other three engine suppliers Honda has been.

Mercedes has been the benchmark for engine performance since the change in regulation for 2014, but Cowell feels that Honda could make up ground quickly, with the removal of the token system for 2017 helping performance to converge through the field.

“I think collectively we’ve helped with convergence in Formula 1 in the opening season, performance development through the year,” Cowell said.

“But then the opportunity to do a big change with Honda coming in, we all agreed that Honda could have that same opportunity to change everything in the first year and then the request came from manufacturers in addition to Honda saying ‘please can we take this crazy token table away because it’s bad for the sport?’

“It’s bad if somebody can’t train to get better and so we agreed, yeah, take the table away because it’s better for the sport because it means that you can innovate, you can introduce whatever you like.

“I think none of us should underestimate the technical prowess of Honda and of McLaren and I think my money is on that combination coming good and coming good pretty quickly. No pressure…”

Williams happy to ‘hold off’ on 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams is happy to “hold off” on making a decision on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2018 as it focuses on improving its on-track displays after a tough start to the season.

Williams currently fields Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, a mix of experience and youth, but has failed to keep up with midfield front-runner Force India through the first half of the year.

Force India sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of Williams, who leads a tight-knit group down to Renault in eighth place, 15 points adrift.

While Stroll looks set to continue with Williams and Massa has hinted he may look to continue through to 2018 despite initially planning to retire at the end of last season, deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that no decision about next year’s line-up will come any time soon.

“There’s a lot of talk already isn’t there, about drivers across the paddock. For us, we’ve decided we’re going to hold off a bit on our driver decision,” Williams said.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands on the race track at the moment and to be distracted by those kinds of conversations isn’t something that we want to be happening at the moment.

“[Force India’s] got a nice points haul on us at the moment we need to focus on, rather than anything else.”

Nico Rosberg visits Stanford University, considering study options

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University after visiting the college earlier this week as part of his tour around California.

Rosberg sensationally announced his retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden world title last November, wanting to spend more time with his young family.

The German has been enjoying his retirement, recently embarking on a tour of Silicon Valley and California that saw him hold meetings with electric car giant Tesla, among other companies.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Rosberg spoke warmly about a visit to Stanford, revealing that he is considering some study options in the near future at the historic institution.

Rosberg was previously offered a scholarship to study engineering at Imperial College London when he was younger, only to turn it down in order to embark on a racing career. He also reportedly holds the highest ever score on Williams’ engineering aptitude test.

Should Nico sign up to a course at Stanford, we imagine he’d take things one class at a time…