Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel will get a new chassis for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the team confirmed Wednesday.
“Sebastian will get a new chassis for Barcelona, which was scheduled at the start of the season and then the next one will be for Dan (Ricciardo) at some time around Silverstone,” said Rob Marshall, Red Bull’s chief designer, via the team’s official website.
Marshall expanded a bit on Red Bull’s planned upgrades, as most of the Formula One paddock shifts their cars to version 2.0 after the four flyaway races to kick off the season.
“The cars have been on the other side of the globe for the first quarter of the year and teams’ R&D departments will have been busy coming up with large upgrade packages to bolt on the car for the first time in Spain,” he said. “They will often compromise whole body work packages, so the floor, engine cover, front wings and rear wings, potentially new suspension components and various other bits and bobs.”
Through four races, Vettel has not sustained the same pace advantage versus Ricciardo with the new-for-2014 car as he had against prior teammate Mark Webber in the previous era last year.
But with the new chassis, expect a re-armed Vettel to be back and attempting to stop the Mercedes juggernaut that has opened the season with the first four wins.
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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