F1 ‘not about fastest car and driver anymore’

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Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull and owner of two Formula One teams, is concerned about the direction the sport is heading in.

“Formula One no longer has anything to do with ‘classic’ racing,” warned Mateschitz. “Today, it’s not the fastest driver in the fastest car who wins, but the one with the optimum tire management.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly criticized the softer tire compounds being used this year, claiming they disadvantage his team.

Mateschitz reiterated that point in his recent quotes: “We’ve even had to scale down our car, because the tires were not lasting. If we really went as fast as we can, we would need 10 to 15 pit stops.”

Red Bull’s perceived disadvantage has not prevented them from enjoying a successful start to the season.

The team scored a one-two in Malaysia and Sebastian Vettel took a second win in Bahrain. He’s been on pole position twice, on the podium three times and is leading the drivers’ championship. Red Bull also enjoy a 16-point lead over closest rivals Lotus in the constructors’ championship.

However McLaren’s Sam Michael believes the tires have turned F1 into “a thinking man’s game”.

“If you look at China, the top five places were filled by five world champions – and that is not an accident,” said Michael.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.