Sauber seeks Bahrain reset; two test driver runs planned

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Of the four teams yet to score a point through two Grands Prix in 2014, Lotus and Sauber are perhaps the two biggest surprises (Caterham and Marussia, not so much).

Sauber has had two nondescript runs thus far and their Sunday in Malaysia featured a double retirement. Esteban Gutierrez suffered a gearbox issue on a pit stop; Adrian Sutil had a power loss.

“After quite a long stint, I made a pitstop and couldn’t engage first gear,” said Gutierrez. “I tried it many times, but it didn’t work, so there was not much I could do. In the end we made a step forward this weekend. Obviously it was not a good race, but we have to keep positive. We must solve our issues so we are consistent and reliable at the track and have no technical problems. We still have a long season ahead and I am confident we can improve.”

Added Sutil of his afternoon, “In my last lap I lost power and then suddenly the car switched off. I don’t know what happened, so we need to analyse it. It is a shame. Many things don’t work well at the moment, so we need to learn from that.”

Head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara admitted the team has a ways to go.

“We will investigate both problems in order to solve them before the next race in Bahrain. Overall, our performance in the race wasn’t where we expected it to be, so we have some homework to do,” he said.

Additionally Monday, Sauber has confirmed official reserve driver Giedo van der Garde will take Gutierrez’s seat in FP1 at Bahrain, with test driver Sergey Sirotkin set to run on Day 1 of the next Bahrain test to accumulate the necessary mileage to gather his superlicense. Van der Garde will do Day 2 there.

Although she’ll have several days in the car this year beyond her simulation and training work, Sauber hasn’t said yet when new affiliated driver Simona de Silvestro would have an opportunity behind the wheel.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.