Sutil focused on staying in Formula 1 next season

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ABU DHABI – Adrian Sutil has said that he remains uncertain where his future in motorsport lies after being dropped by Sauber for 2015, but is focused on remaining in Formula 1.

Sutil joined Sauber at the beginning of the season, but has been dropped for 2015 to make room for Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr. Current teammate Esteban Gutierrez is also looking for another seat, and is likely to take up a reserve role for next year.

Unlike Gutierrez though, Sutil does have a contract with Sauber for 2015, and has already said that the issue needs to be resolved by the team soon. Speaking yesterday in Abu Dhabi though, he could give no new updates.

“I’ve got my feelings, but I will not say where this feelings goes,” Sutil explained. “It’s just something I can’t comment on at the moment. I hope you guys respect that. It’s something to sort out, then we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

The German driver did concede that there is a big question mark hanging over his head following this turn of events, but he remains committed to finding a future in Formula 1.

“Sure, there’s a little question mark after the news I read,” Sutil acknowledged. “There is a little uncertainty. You never know 100% what’s going to happen, but certain things have to be clear, and then you can go on.

“We have to wait and, for sure, there will be some clarification soon, then I’ll let you know about my future and what I want. My heart is for Formula 1 still. I like to be here and to race with these cars.”

When asked if he felt badly treated by Sauber, Sutil simply said that he was focusing on the race weekend in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“I can’t really say anything,” he said. “I know you all want to know something, but there’s nothing I can say.

“For me, this is the focus now, on this weekend. I’m not interested in something else right now.”

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

24 Hours of Le Mans

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.