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Daly confirms he’s out of Foyt seat for 2018

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A.J. Foyt Enterprises will have an entirely new driver lineup next season with Conor Daly joining Carlos Munoz on the sidelines going into the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

First reported by RACER.com, Daly also confirmed his exit from the team to NBC Sports Tuesday night, and then on social media Wednesday morning.

“Been in this difficult position before and will get out of it once again. Giving up will never be an option. More moments like this lay ahead,” Daly wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old American has had a roller coaster career but was beginning to gain a full foothold within IndyCar after a solid first full season in 2016 with Dale Coyne Racing where had one podium and several other top-10 finishes, and then rallied late in 2017 with Foyt in a year where the team changed its full driver lineup, engineering staff and engines and manufacturer going into the season. Daly posted the team’s best finish of the year with fifth at Gateway Motorsports Park, although was 18th in the final standings – same as he was in 2016.

Just Tuesday, Daly and friend (and roommate) Alexander Rossi returned back to social media from apparent filming of CBS travel reality competition series “The Amazing Race,” which hasn’t yet been confirmed by CBS or their teams. It’s understood the team progressed rather far in the series when the 30th season of that show debuts.

Unfortunately for Daly, while Rossi is locked into a multi-year deal with Andretti Autosport, he’s now set to begin his own next race to find one of the remaining seats on the grid, despite hints over the last several weeks he was still in the frame at Foyt. A logical landing spot could be the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing on road and street courses, with Carpenter in that car on ovals.

As for Foyt, Tony Kanaan and engineer Eric Cowdin were announced earlier this month and RACER indicated Indy Lights race winner Matheus Leist was the frontrunner to take over Daly’s seat.

Leist, a Brazilian teenager, won three times in a four-race stretch this summer including the Freedom 100 in Indianapolis. But he struggled with inconsistency throughout his rookie season in North America driving for Carlin; that being said, he told NBC Sports as early as Watkins Glen he was working on assembling an IndyCar budget for 2018.

Beyond Leist, there are other drivers have reached out to the Foyt team to inquire about the second seat.

McLaren unveils 2018 F1 car, the MCL33

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McLaren F1 Team became the latest to launch their 2018 challenger on Friday, taking the covers off their new MCL33 chassis early on Friday morning.

McLaren endured a difficult 2017 season of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with their partnership with Honda eventually dissolving after a troublesome power unit saw them plagued by unreliability and low power.

A switch to Renault power units is expected to see them get an uptick in form, and the MCL33 chassis itself is actually an evolution on last year’s MCL32. Still, the team highlighted areas to improve upon, and aims for a return to prominence in 2018.

“The McLaren team was created by a brave pioneer, and has had bravery at its core ever since. Whether it’s been with brave drivers, brave leaders or brave fortune, this team has always fought back. And we definitely view 2018 as the year when McLaren will move closer to the front, fighting teams and drivers as we improve our fortunes,” said Zak Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology Group.

Brown also highlighted the car’s new papaya orange livery, a throwback to some of the most popular color schemes that have adorned McLaren entrants in a variety of disciplines. Brown indicated that this came about from requests of fans who wanted to see such a livery return to the McLaren marque.

“Our return to a papaya orange livery for this year wasn’t simply an emotional decision; it demonstrates that we are listening to our fans, building deeper engagement with them and the Formula 1 community as a whole. We want McLaren to earn respect on and off the track, and this felt like a good starting point. We want to show everyone what makes this team special, whether that’s our fans or our partners – there’s room for more on our journey.”

The team’s racing director Eric Boullier expressed optimism about the team’s potential for 2018, but also acknowledged the season will be sure to see its fair share of challenges.

“I think the whole team feels proud of this car,” he asserted. “The design, engineering and aerodynamic departments have done an incredible job delivering a new car with a new power unit in an extremely short timeframe. We never took the easy route or looked to shortcut a process or a solution; and the result is a car that is neat and well-resolved.

“That said, we are under no illusions that it will be difficult to splinter the hegemony at the front; and that the midfield will be full of well-funded, experienced outfits with plenty to prove. We are humble about the challenge ahead, but feel we’ve prepared well, have a solid package that we can build upon and exploit as the season progresses, and have two excellent drivers who will make the difference in races.”

The MCL33 took to the track on Friday for filming at a test track in Spain, and will be run in anger for the first time when testing begins next week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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