2009 world champion Jenson Button has lent his support to Gene Haas’ proposed Formula 1 team, saying that it would be great to see an American team on the grid in the next two years as well as a second grand prix in the United States.
The FIA confirmed last week that Haas had been granted a spot on the grid for 2015, and the NASCAR team co-owner revealed his plans for “Haas Formula” in a press conference earlier this week. Relying that everything goes to plan, Button is confident that it would be huge for the sport in the United States.
“If it happens it is great,” he said when talking to NBCSN. “Having a race in Austin has helped getting a good fan base in the United States, although it still needs to be bigger, and this is why it would be good to have another grand prix in the US elsewhere.
“Having an American F1 team would also definitely help the fan base to grow.”
Button does believe that the logistical challenge of running an F1 team from the United States will be tough, but he has faith in Haas and his team to make it work.
“It is a brave move, and if anyone can do it, he definitely can,” the Briton said. “It will be a tough one though, especially if you are basing yourself in the USA, as I guess he will also employ people from Europe and the UK. There is for sure a different lifestyle that comes with the task.
“For sure the first couple of years will be tough, but he seems to be an intelligent person and will employ the right people to succeed with this project.”
The McLaren driver will be keen on bouncing back from his retirement in Bahrain this weekend at a track that could suit the MP4-29 car.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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