Kvyat to start from back of grid due to engine penalty

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AUSTIN – Daniil Kvyat will start tomorrow’s United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid after being slapped with a 10-place penalty by the stewards following another engine component change.

The Toro Rosso driver switched to a seventh internal combustion engine (ICE) ahead of today’s running at the Circuit of The Americas, thus breaching the new, stricter engine regulations for the 2014 season.

The statement from the stewards reads as follows:

“The seventh internal combustion engine has been sued by car #26. This is in breach of article 28.4a of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.

“A 10 grid position penalty is imposed in accordance with Article 28.4c, as this is the first time a seventh power unit element has been used.”

Kvyat qualified in 14th position today in Austin, finishing at the bottom of the timesheets in Q2.

“Today’s Q2 was more promising, but at the end we couldn’t do better than this,” Kvyat said. “We just had no pace and now we have to understand why. We really didn’t have the speed and we’ve been struggling with the car, the tyres and the grip.

“In addition, this weekend and the next one in Brazil are compromised by the 10 grid positions penalty. We have to accept the truth, we had a poor qualifying.

“Anyway we’ll try to do our best, making the most out of the car. Yesterday’s long runs worked quite well, so we’ll see what we can achieve tomorrow.”

As mentioned, Kvyat will also receive a six-place grid penalty for the race in Brazil next weekend as he can only serve four of the 10 places in Austin. The new engine penalties for 2014 state that the remainder of any sanction must be carried over for one additional race weekend.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Ben Hanley relieved to make Indy 500 debut

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Qualifying for the Indy 500 is never an easy task, especially for a new driver and team, and with 36 cars vying for 33 starting positions last weekend, 34-year-old rookie Ben Hanley knew there was a chance he and his DragonSpeed team would not make the show.

“I wouldn’t say we were very confident, but we wanted to [make the field],” Hanley told NBC Sports. “The biggest thing we were trying to achieve was to not be on track on Sunday in the shootout because it only takes one mistake or one little issue and that’s it, you’re not in the race.”

But Hanley would not have to worry about being bumped from the field. He qualified 27th after making three attempts on Day 1, which was enough to lock the No. 81 team into the show. Not too shabby for a driver and team making only their third NTT IndyCar Series start.

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“That last run everything just came together,” Hanley said. “We trimmed out a little bit more and found a good balance of trim and grip over four [qualifying] laps and it was enough to get us through.

“It was a huge relief to get through in P27. A massive achievement for everybody involved.”

Indeed it was a massive achievement, as DragonSpeed is one of the smallest teams in the garage, with no corporate sponsors and a tiny team of around 20 personnel. Many of those were picked up by the team just a week before qualifying, when members of the team’s regular crew were denied entry into the United States due to visa issues after leaving a sports car race in Italy.

“It was all down to the team organizing some people who were in and around Indianapolis who weren’t needed for the race weekend,” Hanley said. “Obviously, I don’t think many people are going to refuse the chance to work on a car that’s trying to qualify for the 500.”

Though the team made its first Indy 500 on Day 1 of qualifying, the DragonSpeed team did not spend Saturday night out late celebrating. Instead, Hanley said the extra time was spent preparing for the race.

“We went straight on to race prep then for the car, so Sunday was a good day for the guys to take time to prep the car into the race spec and get everything sorted out in a nice, organized manner.”

Following the Indy 500, DragonSpeed will run two other races this season at Road America and Mid-Ohio. The team is hopeful that a good run at Indy will result in an opportunity to run a bigger schedule next season and attract sponsors.

Hanley stated that though he’s happy to have made the Indy 500 starting grid for the first time in his career, the magnitude of his feat hasn’t hit him yet.

“It hasn’t really soaked in yet,” he said. “I think it will soak in on Sunday when we roll out to the grid.

“It was such a huge relief to not be involved in Bump Day. Even just watching [Bump Day] it was intense, especially with the weather. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to be involved in that.”

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