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‘Oconsistency’ ends after 27 races following Grosjean clash in Brazil

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Esteban Ocon’s remarkable record of finishing every Formula 1 race he started came to a disappointing end in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix after being eliminated in a first-lap crash with Romain Grosjean.

Since debuting at the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix, Ocon had seen the checkered flag in all 27 races he had started, breaking Max Chilton’s record for the most consecutive finishes from debut in F1.

This ‘Oconsistency’ stretched all the way back to the 2014 Macau Grand Prix in single-seaters, with the Frenchman having not retired throughout his title-winning GP3 campaign in 2015.

Ocon’s run came to an end in Brazil after being sent into the barrier at Turn 6 on the opening lap when Romain Grosjean lost control of his car when trying to defend his position on the inside, causing contact with the Force India.

“I’m not happy to retire from the race. I knew this day would come at some stage, but I wasn’t expecting it to be today,” Ocon said.

“It’s a shame because it has been three years since my last retirement in single-seaters. There was nothing I could do; Romain lost the car in turn six and crashed into me.

“He made a mistake and I suffered from it, my front wheel rim was damaged so I couldn’t even drive back to the pits.

“It’s frustrating because the car was quick and we had the pace to be fighting up there with Checo [Perez, who finished eighth].

“Days like this happen but I hope it will be another three years before it happens again.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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