Ferrari chiefs discuss 2014 regulation changes at Santander event

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The heads of Scuderia Ferrari outlined their hopes and expectations for 2014 with the pending regulation changes at a Santander partner event last night here in Austin.

Where Ferrari starts in 2014 will be, in part, determined by its final finish in the 2013 Formula One Constructor’s Championship. Heading into this weekend’s United States Grand Prix (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, NBC), Ferrari ranks third, 11 points behind Mercedes and 26 up on Lotus-Renault.

“This year, we started with a car that was not the best, and what we missed was the development,” explained team principal Stefano Domenicali. “When the tires were changed, we did not do the second step.”

Ferrari hasn’t won a driver’s title since 2007 (Kimi Raikkonen) or a Constructor’s title since 2008. The changes throw a curveball at the entire field, and the team’s new technical director James Allison expanded on that.

“The aero is fundamental for the cars to go quick, and the sideshow is the set of aero changes for next year the largest since 2009.”

Allison will work in harmony with chief engineering director Pat Fry, who suggested 2014 could be an even bigger strategy game based on how frequently teams can push at max power.

“It’s going to be a big pace difference. The question will be when to go flat,” Fry said.

Luca Marmorini, engine and electronics director, added a bit on the power unit although his three colleagues had the floor for the majority of the session.

As the technical side works to develop a season-long race winner and championship contender, the team’s commercial side is in good hands with Santander committed to sponsoring Ferrari through 2017.

The world’s sixth largest bank recently announced a change as all of its Sovereign Bank branches would switch their name to Santander, to create a unified force on that front. Here in the U.S., Santander operates in nine states, mainly in the Northeast region, and has 102 million customers worldwide.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).