Ferrari shifting focus, will test 2015 components on current car

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Ferrari engineering director Pat Fry has confirmed that new developments for the team’s 2015 machine will be tested on its current F14 T challenger during the final stretch of the 2014 season.

The Scuderia has once again been mired in mediocrity this season as former World Champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have struggled to overcome the deficiencies of the F14 T.

Between the pair, they’ve gone winless and have only been able to collect two podiums – both of them coming from the Spaniard.

“At this stage of the season, the focus in the factory is shifting more towards next year’s car,” Fry told Ferrari’s website. “However, there is still quite a lot we can learn from track testing, therefore we will be bringing some specific test components for next year and other developments for the F14 T, which will help our understanding for next year.”

Ferrari endured a disastrous weekend on its home ground of Monza two weekends ago, with Raikkonen finishing ninth and Alonso forced to bow out early due to an ERS failure.

But with the high-speed Monza out of the way, Fry believes the team will be up for better performances on Singapore’s winding Marina Bay Street Circuit.

“It’s a street circuit requiring very high downforce, where we will be running the soft and super-soft tires on a track with similar characteristics to Monaco,” he said.

“There are hardly any high speed corners and only two turns that have combined lateral and longitudinal acceleration and therefore, the challenge is more about straight line acceleration and good traction.”

However, Singapore’s hot climate and track layout could thwart Fry and Ferrari’s hopes by way of mechanical problems.

“Even though it’s a night race, the temperatures are still very high, in the [80s and 90s], which puts heavy demands on the cooling systems for the engine and the ERS,” Fry said.

“In addition, the start-stop nature of the layout puts a high loading on the brake systems, with the front brakes in particular taking a real pounding.”

See if Ferrari puts up a more competitive showing under the lights in Singapore this Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.