Button pegs Mercedes, Williams as teams to watch in Melbourne

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Jenson Button used to drive for both Williams (his first year in 2000) and Mercedes (when it was known as Brawn, and he captured the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship).

He pegs those two teams, and not his own McLaren squad, as front-runners heading to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix next week.

“It has been a messy winter for a lot of people in terms of mileage on circuit. The two that you would pick out that look strong and consistent are Mercedes and Williams,” Button told Sky Sports.

Button doesn’t know whether their pace would translate to Melbourne. But the reliability aspect is something those two teams have got down.

“Those two are the teams that I think looked strongest over winter testing, whether that will be the case when we get to Melbourne – it is a very different circuit to Bahrain – we have to wait and see.”

The Englishman also said Red Bull, which has had a rough winter, could still surprise on one-lap pace. He also said F1’s two newest teams – Caterham and Marussia – stand a good chance of scoring their first career points if they can make the finish.

In 14 prior Australian Grands Prix, Button has three wins (2009, 2010 and 2012). He finished ninth in last year’s Australian Grand Prix, in the first race with what proved to be a troublesome 2013 chassis.

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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