F1 has produced a number of good news stories in 2014

0 Comments

For all of the doom and gloom that appears to be in Formula 1 at the moment, the 2014 season has produced a number of good news stories that get swept under the carpet all too often.

When Luca di Montezemolo arrived in Bahrain earlier this year, he did not hold back in telling the sport just what he thought of its new formula. The Ferrari president felt that the V6 power units had reduced F1 to “taxi cab racing” because of their quieter sound; to him, it was a joke.

Then in the race, the drivers put on a show under the lights in Bahrain. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duked it out at the front, and the battles behind were just as enthralling. Montezemolo went home with just half of the race gone…

So here are just a few of the great stories that we have enjoyed in the first half of the 2014 season.

Mercedes’ intra-team battle

It has been a tense season at Mercedes. Things may seem pretty good when you’re at the top, but success creates its own problems. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have what it takes to win this year’s title, meaning that we’re in for a great tussle that should go right the way to the final race of the season. It may verge on civil war at times, but it is wonderful for the spectator. Let’s see how many of the 50m viewers lost in 2013 are made up for this year.

The rise of Bottas and Ricciardo

Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo have been the two breakout stars of the season, scoring six podiums and two wins in total. As we touched on back in March, the Australian Grand Prix will long be remembered for their breakthrough results, even if Ricciardo lost his thanks to a fuel irregularity. He ultimately got his just desserts, though, winning the Canadian and Hungarian Grands Prix. Both he and Bottas look set to be fighting for race wins and even championships over the next decade or so.

Bianchi and Marussia’s breakthrough

Scoring two points may not seem like a big deal, but after five years of trying, it was a huge breakthrough for Marussia F1 Team. Two points for Jules Bianchi’s ninth place finish in Monaco has taken the team up to P9 in the constructors’ championship – ahead of Sauber and Caterham – and could secure some big financial benefits for the Anglo-Russian team by the end of the season.

It means a lot more than that, though. It’s proof that you can take a team from off the very back of the grid; will it prove to be a one-season thing, though? Time will tell. If Marussia can indeed stay ahead of Sauber until the end of the year, it would be a remarkable achievement for the team.

The return of Williams to the front of the field

After scoring just five points in 2013, it couldn’t really have gone much worse this year for Williams. However, the team has come back with a bang, and now ranks fourth in the constructors’ championship. With some fresh faces (Felipe Massa, Pat Symonds, Rob Smedley), a rebrand courtesy of Martini and the supreme Mercedes power unit, everything appears to be heading in the right direction for Williams. Bottas’ form has been superb, and it could get better still given that the team’s best tracks are still to come.

The list goes on: Kevin Magnussen’s rookie season has been solid; Daniil Kvyat has also impressed in his first half-year; Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have both bounced back from difficult 2013 campaigns.

If you’re looking for some good news in Formula 1, you really don’t need to look far…

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
0 Comments

Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans