2014 British Grand Prix Preview

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Formula 1 heads to Great Britain this weekend for one of the most important races of the season. Not only are the grandstands packed with fans, but it is also the home grand prix for all but three of the teams on the grid. For the track itself, this year’s race is an important one as it is the fiftieth time the circuit has hosted the British Grand Prix.

After returning to the top of the podium in Austria, Mercedes heads to this weekend’s British Grand Prix full of confidence. Nico Rosberg’s victory over Lewis Hamilton saw him extend his championship lead to 29 points, but there is still everything to play for between the two Silver Arrows at Silverstone this weekend.

Both Rosberg and Hamilton will be chasing their second victories at the circuit, and both will know that they have rarely gone into a British Grand Prix with such a good chance of winning. Theoretically, the ‘loser’ of the pair is guaranteed second place, although neither will be willing to settle for anything less than a victory come the checkered flag.

The British Grand Prix is one of the most popular on the calendar as the fans come in their thousands to cheer on the drivers in all weather conditions. With rain forecast for qualifying and the race, it promises to be an intriguing grand prix weekend.

2014 British Grand Prix Talking Points

Home pride at stake for Lewis

If there is any race that Lewis Hamilton will want to win this season, it’s this one. As the most outstanding British driver of his generation, he is desperately trying to cut the gap to Rosberg at the top of the standings. Where better to regain the momentum than on home turf?

Button and Chilton excited for Silverstone

Of course, we cannot forget the other British drivers. Jenson Button and Max Chilton will both be flying the Union Jack on Sunday, and although they stand little chance of winning the race (or even points in Chilton’s case), a solid performance should put a smile on the faces of the fans. 

Nico looks to double up

For Rosberg, the task in the next three races will be to maintain his lead at the top of the championship heading into the summer break. The German driver won last year’s race at Silverstone, capitalizing on a problem for runaway leader Sebastian Vettel. Spoiling Hamilton’s homecoming would be a huge psychological victory.

Wolff set to make history

Susie Wolff will become the first woman in 22 years to take part in an official Formula 1 session tomorrow when she deputizes for Valtteri Bottas in FP1. Wolff has worked with Williams for over two years now, and she will be hoping to prove herself against the rest of the F1 field at Silverstone.

Caterham begins life after Tony

Following Tony Fernandes’ sale of Caterham earlier this week, the team will enjoy its first race at Silverstone under the management of Christijan Albers. The long term future of the team is still not clear, but both Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will be hoping to put in a good display this weekend at its second ‘home race’ of the year.

Great Britain – Facts and Figures

Track: Silverstone
Laps: 
52
Corners: 18
Lap Record: Mark Webber 1:33.401 (2013)
Tyre Compounds: Medium (Option); Hard (Prime)
2013 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2013 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:29.607
2013 Fastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:33.401
DRS Zone: Wellington Straight (T5 to T6); Hangar Straight (T14 to T15)

Click here for full broadcasting details for the British Grand Prix. Please note that qualifying and the race are live on CNBC this weekend.

INDYCAR: Zach Veach ready for stronger second half of season

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If you hear Zach Veach humming or even singing The Beatles’ “Penny Lane” this weekend at Road America, there’s a jolly good reason for it, as they say in England.

Much like the way teammate Alexander Rossi has nicknamed his car “Baby Girl,” Veach has nicknamed his road and street course car “Penny Lane,” thanks in part to his girlfriend being a huge Beatles fan who has helped Veach also become a fan.

The Stockdale, Ohio native also has a nickname for his speedway car: “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

Veach has had a tough rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series. He comes into this weekend’s Kohler Grand Prix in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, ranked 15th in the standings with 147 points, but an already massive 210 points behind series leader Scott Dixon.

He could easily sing The Beatles’ “Help!”, given how the season has gone so far.

The 23-year-old Veach’s best finish – and only top-10 showing thus far in 2018 – has been fourth at Long Beach – in “Penny Lane” of course, a finish he hopes to equal, if not improve upon, Sunday in central Wisconsin.

He’s struggled since Long Beach, though, failing to finish higher than 12th in the following six races: 13th at Birmingham, 23rd in both the Indianapolis Grand Prix and Indy 500, 12th and 13th at Detroit’s Belle Isle and 16th at Texas.

He also finished 16th in each of the season’s first two races at St. Petersburg and Phoenix.

But Veach hopes to be singing another Beatles song on the 4.048-mile road course: “Twist and Shout” in hopes of having a strong finish on the twisting 14-turn kettle moraine course.

Zach Veach, driver of the #26 Relay Group 1001 Honda, practices for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8, 2018. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Veach has a good reason to be optimistic for success at Road America.

“Road America has actually been pretty good to us in USF 2000 and Indy Lights,” Veach said. “I think we have four or five podiums there. In 2016 (racing for Belard Auto Racing), we set the track record in Lights, won the first race and finished third in the second. I’m hoping that speed continues (in Sunday’s IndyCar race).”

While he acknowledges this season’s struggles thus far, Veach also knows he’s learning and improving.

“I think the biggest thing is the braking capabilities of the Indy car,” he said. “You’re going from steel rotors (in Lights) to carbon pads. Honestly, it feels like you can brake 150 feet deeper going into a corner with an Indy car, but at the same time, you’re also going into that corner 40 to 50 mph faster in an Indy car than in a Lights car.

“Our first year in Indy Lights wasn’t anything spectacular, and then we came back and almost won a championship. I think that’s just the way I go about things. I take inches at a time instead of miles, but I feel like we’re getting to that point where we need to be in IndyCar.”

Veach is no stranger to Andretti Autosport, having raced with the team from 2010 to 2014 and then signed a three-year contract to drive in the Verizon IndyCar Series last fall.

“To have the opportunity to race with Andretti is almost perfect for me as far as growth and development,” Veach said. “With the three teammates I have and the skill and experience they have, it’s allowed my learning curve to accelerate that much quicker.

“That’s the tough thing. It’s a rookie season and when I look back at it and look at numbers, you may say things didn’t look good at certain races. But when I look back at them, I say to myself where that’s when I did my best fuel save, or that’s when I figured out how to fix an issue with braking. There’s so much I’ve picked up.

“But I feel like these last two race weekends have been arguably the most comfortable I’ve felt. Detroit, I was looking so great for 12th and 13th, and Texas, racing from 16th to 3rd and then I made a mistake (finished 16th). I finally feel confident enough to say I can race these guys and can race them hard and the car is finally starting to feel small, if you want to say that, like I’m driving the car instead of being stuck behind somebody else.”

While he’s learned from all of his Andretti Autosport teammates — Rossi, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay — Veach feels he is closest to fellow young driver, Rossi.

“We’re both on the younger side of the spectrum of our teammates,” Veach said of Rossi. “And he’s the newest guy learning IndyCar, so he got that experience a little sooner than the other guys as far as time.

“For me, I’m in much the same position he was in two years ago. He’s been real helpful in helping me get up to speed.”

With eight more races remaining in the season, Veach’s primary goal is to finish his first full IndyCar season in the top-10. He’s currently 66 points behind the 10th-ranked driver, teammate Marco Andretti.

“If we could be top-10 in the championship, that’d be great, that’s what we’re hoping for,” Veach said. “We want to try and be consistently in the top-10 in the second half (of the season) in race results, too. And if we could get some top-fives, that would be fantastic.

“We just have to keep improving on qualifying, which shows how well you understand the car and how you can get the most out of it. I feel our race speed has been good, but when you’re starting at or near the back, it’s hard to move forward.”

Even so, there’s still good reason for optimism for Veach.

“Andretti always gives its drivers some of the best cars, so at the end of the day, it comes down to you learning as much as you can and learning as much as you can get out of a race-winning car,” he said. “I’ve just been lucky. This is my sixth season with Andretti if you count the ladder series, and it always has felt like a family.”

And if he has a strong finish Sunday at Road America, don’t be surprised if Veach hums or sings another Beatles song, “I Feel Fine,” as he leaves the legendary road course.

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