F1 notes: Rules & Regs; Renault, Pirelli and Petrobras updates

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A lot of F1 news and notes have emerged over the last couple days. Here’s a quick recap from what has emerged over the last 24-48 hours…

  • Formal updates to the 2014 F1 Sporting Regulations have been made. Included among them are the official language for the 5-second penalty (Rule 16.3 a), official post-race “donuts” acceptance (Rule 43.3) and a green rear light to be utilized for any driver without a Superlicence on track in a non-race weekend (Rule 22.9 c). If you want to read more in-depth on the regulations and the regulatory language, by all means do so in the full rundown of the rulebook, linked here.
  • Renault’s teams are probably going to be facing the most scrutiny heading into this week’s Bahrain test, which kicks off on Wednesday. With such limited mileage completed in Jerez, and Lotus having opted to miss the test entirely, the four teams using these powerplants need to have made some strides in the last several weeks. Renault’s head of track operations Remi Taffin told Autosport that the manufacturer had “two or three problems we have now solved” and would need to focus firmly on software and hardware.
  • Pirelli has confirmed 30 sets of tires per team to be used at the two Bahrain tests, including an extra set of 2014 construction and compound “mediums.” Those are prototypes planned for 2015, as tire warmers will be banned next season. Other dry compounds on offer include Pirelli’s hard, “winter” hard and soft; the “winter”  hard has no color markings on the exterior of the tire while the standard hard is orange.
  • Petrobras has been confirmed as another of Williams F1’s official partners, joining Genworth. The Brazilian multi-national energy company first worked with Williams in 1998 and enjoyed an 11-year run. Brazil’s main presence at Williams includes Felipe Massa in the driver lineup; it could potentially have more as the team is yet to confirm its official reserve driver for 2014.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.