Photo: Tequila Patrón ESM

IMSA: Ed Brown forced to sit out Watkins Glen

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A surprise announcement early on Thursday from Tequila Patrón ESM revealed that team co-owner Ed Brown, scheduled to make his final start in the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi this weekend at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, was forced to withdraw from the event as a driver.

Back pain forced Brown to undergo minor back surgery, and the recovery process requires him to step out of the cockpit at Watkins Glen, though he will still be in attendance as an interested onlooker.

“This recent development is disappointing, to say the least,” lamented Brown. “I was looking forward to having one final race in the car, but I’m happy I’ll still be able attend and support everyone from pit lane. As usual, the team has done a tremendous job preparing for this race, I believe both cars will be very strong. Bruno (Senna) and Johannes (van Overbeek) will now have a little more time to dial everything in, and I know they’ll do a great job.

Bruno Senna, already signed as a co-driver for the No. 22 entry this weekend, will share driving duties with Johannes van Overbeek in what is now a two-man effort. The driver lineup on the No. 2 entry remains unchanged and sees Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel joined by Pipo Derani, who will move over to the No. 22 and partner van Overbeek for the remainder of the season following Watkins Glen.

 

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F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.