Brendon Hartley’s record of receiving a grid penalty at every Formula 1 race he has started is set to continue in Abu Dhabi this weekend after Toro Rosso was forced to change part of his Renault power unit following the last race in Brazil.
Since making his F1 debut at the United States Grand Prix last month, Hartley has faced a grid drop at all three races he has started so far amid ongoing reliability difficulties for power unit supplier Renault.
After being forced to retire from the last race in Brazil two weeks ago due to an engine issue, Hartley has received a 10-place grid penalty for Abu Dhabi after it was confirmed Toro Rosso had changed the MGU-H on his power unit.
Hartley is yet to score any points in F1, having retired from two of his three races so far to make his debut run to P13 in Austin his best result to date.
The Toro Rosso driver finished 20th in FP1 and 19th in FP2 during Friday’s practice sessions in Abu Dhabi as he continued to get to grips with the Yas Marina Circuit.
The US-based Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship circuit has reportedly parked itself and the pending 2018 season. According to various reports including AutoWeek, AutoSport.com and Motorsport.com, the Red Bull-sponsored GRC has suspended operations.
MotorSportsTalk reached out to a GRC spokesman for comment and further details.
It appears that all GRC-related websites, including its home page, as well as the site to order tickets to races this season, are unavailable. The series’ Twitter account @GRCseries remains, but hasn’t tweeted since April 13.
New York’s Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway, which was to host the GRC’s season-opening event (the original Louisville opener in mid-May was cancelled), issued a statement on its Twitter account:
Several GRC teams said at the end of last season that they would not return to the series, including teams from Honda, Volkswagen and Subaru.
It is expected that the GRC Europe series will continue working on its 2019 campaign.
It’s unclear whether teams that are no longer with the GRC U.S. series will move to a new series backed by IMG known as “Americas Rallycross Championship.” The ARC is slated to kick off as part of next month’s World Rallycross event at Silverstone in Great Britain.
Other ARC events, also tied into WRC events, will be at Trois-Rivieres in Canada on August 4-5, and at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 29-30. A fourth event is still in the works.