Albers remains tight-lipped on Caterham driver line-up

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Newly-appointed Caterham team principal Christijan Albers is remaining tight-lipped about his team’s driver line-up for the rest of the season, simply saying that “I want to see results.”

The team has endured a difficult start to the 2014 season, and remains rooted to the bottom of the constructors’ standings. After five seasons of trying, former owner Tony Fernandes threw in the towel last month and sold the outfit to a consortium made up of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors, with Albers becoming team principal.

There have been a number of changes in personnel over the past two weeks, and this was thought to possibly be extended to the current driver line-up of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson. When asked about their future with the team, Albers remained coy.

“I want to see results,” he said. “That’s very important for every Formula 1 team.

“To be honest today I think they did a good job. We had some bad luck in the second practice, but they are sharp and we know we need performance and also of course, with a team as Caterham F1, we also always need a little bit of budget.”

Kobayashi is not thought to be bringing a huge amount of finance to the team, with his experience being the main lure for Caterham when he was signed. Therefore, if the team is in need of a bigger budget, a number of drivers could fit the bill in more ways than one.

Red Bull junior Carlos Sainz Jr. was rumored to be in the running for a seat with the team, given that the F1 weekends do not clash with his World Series by Renault commitments. Albers confirmed that they had spoken, but not necessarily about a seat for 2014.

“I have seen a lot of rumors in the press as usual in Formula 1,” he said. “At this moment, of coruse, we have seen Carlos and we have spoken to him also, but at this moment there is nothing done.

“The drivers are performing now, I was happy today, that’s the situation.”

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment
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The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.