Szafnauer: First test focused on tires, Wehrlein evaluation

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Even though Force India was testing its 2014 chassis last week at Barcelona, there was still plenty for the team to learn.

The focus primarily centered on dialing in Pirelli’s 2015 tires, said Otmar Szafnauer, Force India’s COO.

“It was a straightforward and productive week, with the primary focus to learn about the 2015 tires,” he said in a team release.

“Because we know the 2014 car so well, we could focus purely on tire evaluation on a range of different fuel loads. We used every dry compound that was available last week and all of that information will be transferrable to our 2015 program.”

The team has officially taken the wraps off its new VJM08 chassis Wednesday morning and preps to run it for the first time on Friday.

Last week’s test also allowed the team a look at Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein for two days.

Wehrlein’s first day was interrupted when Mercedes called him up to fill in for an ill Lewis Hamilton on Thursday, but he had a full day in the car Saturday to provide the team an evaluation.

“Everyone was impressed with Pascal,” Szafnauer said. “He took a very mature approach to the test and didn’t put a foot wrong.

“It’s always interesting to receive feedback from a new driver and Pascal was very detailed and accurate with his feedback. Running him alongside our race drivers provided a nice yardstick for data comparisons.”

It’s only February so it’s a bit too early to think ahead to the 2016 silly season, but depending on how Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg either get on or advance in 2015, Wehrlein will probably be a name we’ll hear in the silly season talks later this year.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”