Pirelli issues statement following Rosberg tire blowout in Bahrain

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Pirelli has insisted that its tires for the 2014 Formula One World Championship are safe following a Twitter report from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg that he suffered a high-speed blowout during the final day of this week’s tire test in Bahrain.

Before deleting it from his account (possibly due to influence from either Pirelli or Mercedes), Rosberg’s missive read: “Just spun at full speed 320km/h on Bahrain straight because my tyre blew up without warning.thanks to that need to get some toilet paper now..”

Afterwards, Pirelli noted in a statement that the tire that failed on Rosberg’s car had yet to be tested on the track:

“The tyre tests in Bahrain regarded a number of prototypes, which were completely innovative in terms of structure and compounds, with the aim of developing the most suitable solutions for the next season. This morning, Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was fitted with one of these prototypes, a tyre which had only been tested in the laboratory and which will not be proposed again. Thus, the safety of the tyres which will be supplied for the next championship is not in question. The accident which happened to Rosberg’s car is being investigated and the findings will be communicated to the FIA and the teams.”

Prior to Rosberg’s tweet, things had been quiet in terms of news regarding the test from Bahrain, which also included World Champions Red Bull (with reserve driver Sebastien Buemi), Ferrari (Pedro de la Rosa and Marussia racer Jules Bianchi) and Toro Rosso (2014 race drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat).

The Bahrain test was meant to help Pirelli as it continues to prepare its tires in advance of major rules changes for the 2014 season. With multiple problems suffered this past year – including several tire failures during the British Grand Prix – Pirelli is doing all it can to avoid more disasters.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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