Sainz Jr. pleased with Toro Rosso upgrades in final test


Carlos Sainz Jr. has spent a fruitful day behind the wheel of the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 car in Barcelona after the team introduced a raft of upgrades ahead of the first race in Australia next month.

The third and final pre-season test of the year kicked off in Barcelona today with Felipe Massa finishing at the top of the timesheets for Williams.

Sainz could only finish seventh in the final standings for Toro Rosso, 3.4 seconds down on Massa’s time, and the Spaniard lost some much-needed track time due to a technical issue on the car.

However, he was pleased with how the upgrades for the car worked, and explained how he felt more motivated as a result of the improvements.

“It was very nice to drive the car fitted with the update package,” Sainz said. “That meant much of my time was spent collecting valuable aero data for the engineers to study. Then towards the end of the morning, I managed to do a real run.

“I could immediately feel an improvement in the car, in terms of its overall grip and balance. That was a very positive and motivating feeling for the rest of the day.

“We did have an issue that cost us some track time in the afternoon, but the guys did a great job to fix it and get me out on track again, with enough time to do two more useful runs before the checkered flag.”

Ahead of his F1 debut in Australia, Sainz has enjoyed a productive winter by completing hundreds of laps behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso. He will now be hoping to build upon these improvements with a good showing in his final day of pre-season running on Saturday.

Max Verstappen will take over the reins in the STR10 on Friday, with testing continuing until Sunday in Barcelona.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.