Report: Ericsson in talks with Caterham over 2015 seat

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Caterham team principal Manfredi Ravetto has told British publication Autosport that the door is open for Marcus Ericsson to remain with the backmarkers for the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Ericsson made his debut at the beginning of 2014 in Australia, and matched the Caterham’s best ever result of 11th place at the Monaco Grand Prix, narrowly missing out on the team’s first ever point.

However, his position has come under scrutiny from the F1 paddock in recent weeks after he was outpaced by Andre Lotterer and Roberto Merhi in Belgium and Italy respectively. Both had never driven the CT-05 before their first practice session, yet they went faster than Ericsson who has more than half a season of racing under his belt with the car.

Ravetto is pleased with how the young Swede has fared in 2014 though, and suggested that he will get another year at Caterham if all things go to plan.

“I saw a strong Ericsson in Singapore who did the best race of his season,” Ravetto said. “He superbly managed to keep both Marussias behind him and did a really fantastic race on a very difficult track.

“We are really very happy with the progress he made and our doors are open for him for next year. We have started talking to his management and to his financial backers because this year the team invested in his rookie development.

“Next year we would be delighted in having him again in our car and taking the fruits of this investment, rather than seeing him deliver for somebody else.”

The big question at Caterham is whether the team will still be around in 2015 following its sale by Tony Fernandes in July. There have been a number of staff changes at Leafield, with a group of ex-employees now taking legal action, and the recent driver changes have also raised some concerns about its long-term future.

If the team is on the grid next year though, it looks likely that Ericsson could be set for a second season in Formula 1.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.