2014 Brazilian Grand Prix Preview

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Seventeen down, just two to go. The 2014 Formula 1 season is quickly coming to a close, with just two-and-a-half weeks to go until our champion is crowned under the lights in Abu Dhabi.

We know with certainty that the title will not be decided in Brazil this weekend by virtue of the controversial double points rule. Lewis Hamilton may lead the way by 24 points, but Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg is still an ever-present threat, particularly with the reliability of the W05’s coming into question over the past few races.

Were Abu Dhabi not a double points round, Hamilton would most probably win his second title in Brazil this weekend. Having won the past five races, the Briton would ordinarily have needed to outscore Rosberg by just a single point to be champion. Alas, he will have to bide his time, knowing that a DNF in the final race in Abu Dhabi could hand his German teammate the title.

Brazil has a rich heritage in Formula 1, but the Interlagos circuit has undergone a few changes for this year’s as part of its redevelopment programme. The pit entry has been altered slightly, and a new paddock complex is set to be in place for the 2015 race.

With rain forecast, the site of many a classic grand prix could yet provide us with another race that will play a pivotal role in deciding the destination of this year’s world championship.

2014 Brazilian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Lewis, Nico and double points

Having the championship be decided by double points has been the fear for many in Formula 1 this season, but there is a possibility it might just happen. The very fact that Lewis Hamilton cannot win the title as he should be able to in Brazil this weekend will rile many, but Rosberg is less bothered – after all, it works in his favor.

In reality, this weekend’s race in Brazil is unlikely to have a huge bearing on the title in terms of mathematics unless Rosberg retires. The German driver needs to keep the pressure on Lewis right to the final round, but certainly appears to have lost the mojo that put him in control of the championship back in July.

Sauber’s three-into-two contract debacle

Sauber sprung a surprise on the entire F1 paddock in Austin by confirming that Marcus Ericsson would be racing for the team next year, and then did it again by announcing Felipe Nasr as his teammate. This left all four of its current drivers – Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez, Giedo van der Garde and Sergey Sirotkin – out in the cold for 2015.

However, Sutil does still have a contract with the team, meaning that he will have to be paid off. He has said that firm talks do need to be held so both the team and the driver can know what direction they are heading in, but for the time being, things seem to be pretty awkward at Sauber.

Massa’s homecoming will be sweeter than ever

As the only Brazilian driver on the grid, Felipe Massa has had the nation’s hopes of success in F1 resting on his shoulders for some time. Since his win at Interlagos in 2008 (the same day he lost the title by a single point) though, he hasn’t been in the frame for a big result, playing second fiddle to Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.

This year though, that has all changed. With Williams, Massa has been resurgent, enjoying a very successful season that has yielded one pole position and one podium. His tally would be a great deal higher had it not been for some bad luck, but in Brazil this weekend he can set his sights on a big result that would send the crowd wild.

Is Fernando any closer to a decision?

In Austin last weekend, Fernando Alonso spoke of his great and ambitious plans for 2015 which appear to have nothing to do with Ferrari. However, his definition of “ambitious” may be a great deal to this writer’s given that he looks likely to move to McLaren for 2015.

Paddock speculation suggests that the team is now growing tired of negotiations dragging out, with Alonso considering a one-year deal to tide him until a seat at Mercedes might (but probably won’t) become available. The Spaniard might do well to cut his losses and accept a move to a team that should be fighting back at the front next year.

Brazil marks two years of hurt for JB and McLaren

As my MotorSportsTalk colleague Tony DiZinno wrote yesterday, this weekend’s race in Brazil marks two years since the last victory for both Jenson Button and McLaren. Since then, the team has struggled to fight at the front of the field, enjoying another so-so year in 2014 that leaves it fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Although the team does appear to be on the cusp of a revival, Button will know that it could come after his time as he nears the exit after five seasons at Woking, most likely to make way for Alonso. A big result in Brazil would be a big boost for the team ahead of the final race in Abu Dhabi.

Brazilian Grand Prix – Facts and Figures

Track: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos)
Laps: 71
Corners: 15
Lap Record: Juan Pablo Montoya 1:11.473 (2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Prime)
2013 Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2013 Pole Position: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:26.479
2013 Fastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:15.436
DRS Zones: Main Straight (T15 to T1); T3 to T4

Brazilian Grand Prix – TV Times

Free Practice 1: NBC Sports Live Extra 11/7 7a ET
Free Practice 2: NBCSN 11/7 11a ET
Free Practice 3: NBC Sports Live Extra 11/8 8a ET
Qualifying: CNBC 11/8 11am ET
Race: CNBC 11/8 10:30am ET

For full broadcasting details for the Brazilian Grand Prix, click here.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.