FIA confirms changes to qualifying format in Austin

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The FIA has confirmed that it will be slightly changing the qualifying format for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix to account for the absence of Caterham and Marussia.

Neither of the backmarker teams will be racing in Austin after encountering serious financial difficulties over the past few months. Both are now looking for new buyers and investment.

As a result, just 18 cars will be racing in Texas this weekend, making it the smallest grid since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix when BAR was banned for two races after running below the minimum weight allowed.

With the normal 22 car grid, six cars are eliminated in both Q1 and Q2 before leaving ten cars to fight it out for pole position in Q3. In a very logical move, this has been reduced to four cars for Austin, which will still leave the top-ten shootout at the end of qualifying.

The statement from the FIA reads as follows:

“In view of the non-participation of two teams in the 2014 United States Grand Prix, the stewards have been requested to clarify the format for Qualifying Practice.

“Accordingly, under the authority granted to the stewards in article 11.9 of the International Sporting Code, and having regard to the principles established in the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations article 33.1, the stewards decide that the slowest four cars in Q1 will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session, and the slowest four cars in Q2 will likewise be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.”

You can watch qualifying for the United States Grand Prix from 1p ET on NBCSN on Saturday.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Relive the 1911 Indy 500 in living color

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Race fans and historians will have an opportunity to relive the 1911 Indy 500 in color this Sunday, November 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

Airing on the Smithsonian Channel as part of their America in Color series, a colorized version of the first Indy 500 highlights a race that began a tradition more than 100 years old.

The Indy 500 helped establish the auto racing industry and part of the episode deals with the lives of the Ford, Firestone and Edison families.

On board mechanics were a fixture of racing at the time – in part because they also served as spotters. On Lap 90 Joe Jagersberger (running three laps down at the time) broke a steering mount and his rider tumbled onto the track, causing Harry Knight to careen into the pits – which had no wall separating it from the track. Remarkably, no one was killed.

The documentary describes how Ray Harroun likely won because of his use of a rear view mirror that allowed him to drive without an on board mechanic. Innovation in that inaugural race set the tone for racing today.

Harroun beat Ralph Mumford by a margin of 103 seconds in a race that took six hours, 42 minutes to run.