Raikkonen changes helmet design ahead of FP3

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Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has made a slight change to his special Monaco helmet design ahead of Saturday’s sessions, with the move rumored to have been encouraged by Formula One Management.

Many of the drivers have opted to run with an alternative helmet livery in homage to F1’s glamour event, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton’s designs attracting the most attention from the fans. Similarly, Jean-Eric Vergne is using a helmet based on the one used by Francois Cevert, who raced in F1 between 1970 and 1973. However, it is Raikkonen’s which has been reportedly picked up on by FOM, but the team refused to confirm whether or not these reports were true.

Raikkonen’s helmet did feature a design in homage to James Hunt (as he did in 2012), but it also ran with the tagline “Kimi on the Hunt” which was in full view of his onboard camera. Under FIA guidelines, advertising that faces the cameras is forbidden, which could be the reasoning behind the decision to change the design.

Speaking to GPUpdate, Lotus stated: “Kimi’s helmet has been modified since being used on Thursday.”

However, the team has refused to comment on the reasons behind the change.

IndyCar’s Vasser-Sullivan expand into IMSA for 2019

James Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. Photo IndyCar
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Not even one year after returning to the IndyCar ranks, Vasser-Sullivan Racing is taking AIM at the IMSA world, you might say.

While team co-owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan will continue to partner with Dale Coyne Racing on the IndyCar side, they expanded their holdings Tuesday, announcing a partnership with AIM Autosport to campaign a new two-car Lexus-backed RC F GT3 effort in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

The new team – named AIM Vasser-Sullivan – will replace 3GT Racing, which was part of Lexus’ sports car program launch in 2016. It will announce its two drivers in the coming weeks, the team said.

“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” Vasser said in a media release. “I have driven sports cars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008.

“The AIM Vasser Sullivan team, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”

Lexus has made significant progress in its first two seasons in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, having earned a combined two race wins, five poles and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.

Vasser and Sullivan were part of the ownership group of KVSH Racing in IndyCar from 2011 through 2016 before the organization folded.

They also owned Tony Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500-winning car.

After sitting out the 2017 season, Vasser, a former CART champion, and Sullivan rejoined forces this past February, just before the start of the 2018 IndyCar season, partnering with Coyne to form a satellite team led by driver Sebastien Bourdais, who previously drove for KVSH.

Bourdais kicked off the new team’s effort with a win in the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He finished seventh in the overall season standings.

AIM Vasser Sullivan will have two home bases for its IMSA program: AIM’s current facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, as well as a new U.S. shop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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