Red Bull junior and Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly’s absence from the United States Grand Prix was in vain after the Super Formula season finale was canceled due to a typhoon.
2016 GP2 champion Gasly was placed in Super Formula by Red Bull for 2017, only to be drafted in at Toro Rosso for the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this month.
Gasly was supposed to see out the F1 season, but a joint call by Red Bull and Honda saw the Frenchman stick to his prior commitments and skip this weekend’s USGP in order to fight for the Super Formula title at Suzuka.
Entering the final race weekend half a point back from series leader Hiroaki Ishiura, Gasly stood a chance of becoming the first rookie Super Formula champion in over 20 years.
However, with heavy rain in the area affecting qualifying, officials at Suzuka announced the remainder of the meeting would be canceled due to a typhoon in the area, declaring Ishiura the 2017 champion.
Gasly’s absence from the USGP has paved the way for Porsche factory driver Brendon Hartley to make his surprise F1 debut with Toro Rosso in Austin, with the New Zealander set to qualify today.
Gasly is due to return to Toro Rosso for the final three races of the F1 season, starting with next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”