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Sainz crashes in FP1, receives grid penalty on tough Friday at Suzuka

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Carlos Sainz Jr. endured a tough Friday of Formula 1 practice running at Suzuka as he suffered a big crash in FP1 and received a 20-place grid penalty following changes to his power unit.

Toro Rosso confirmed ahead of FP1 it had changed the MGU-H, turbocharger and internal combustion engine on Sainz’s power unit, with each obeing outside of the season allocation for elements.

Sainz entered FP1 with the grid drop confirmed, and saw his fortunes take another hit when he crashed out 50 minutes into the session while exiting the hairpin.

After getting a wheel on the kerb, Sainz’s Toro Rosso slid across the track and into the wall on the left-hand side, smashing into the wall.

“A tricky Friday for us! Obviously, the accident in FP1 was a bit of a pity,” Sainz said.

“I didn’t expect that to happen, I just clipped the outside kerb a bit too much and it sent me into a spin and then into the barriers. It looked quite incredible on the TV, but luckily it wasn’t such a big one from inside the cockpit.

“We can’t forget that a minimal miscalculation here can make you pay a big price! I’m happy that the mechanics could put the car back together for FP2 – they did an amazing job like they always do, pushing for me and the team.

“We were ready to run in FP2, but unfortunately the weather conditions didn’t help us and we were only able to complete an installation lap. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day!”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”