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Carey pleased to resolve F1 2018 engine quagmire, keep Honda in sport

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Formula 1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey is pleased to have resolved the long-running engine saga involving McLaren and Honda, keeping the latter in the sport for the 2018 season.

In a series of announcements made on Friday in Singapore, McLaren and Honda confirmed they would be parting company by mutual consent at the end of the season after three tough years together.

Honda will switch its allegiance to Toro Rosso, whose current engine supplier Renault will move in the opposite direction and power McLaren in 2018.

The deal ensures that four major manufacturers remain involved in F1, as well as keeping all teams on the right timeframe to get their 2018 cars ready in time.

“We are pleased that the teams and constructors involved in these intensive and complex discussions have reached an agreement satisfactory to all concerned,” Carey said, having played a role in discussions with the interested parties in recent weeks.

“We had put ourselves at the disposal of the various parties to try and facilitate the best possible outcome for everyone.

“It is particularly important that Honda, one of the main manufacturers in the motor industry and a company that has played an important role in the history of motorsport, will still be in Formula 1 for years to come.

“We’re all looking forward to working together with all the teams and manufacturers to make our sport more exciting and spectacular for the fans all over the world.”

Carey took over from Bernie Ecclestone as F1’s ringmaster back in January following the completion of Liberty Media’s acquisition of the sport.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.