Button upbeat despite two practice stoppages in Bahrain

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Jenson Button chose to look on the bright side following practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday despite stopping out on track twice and competing just 17 laps in total.

Button’s FP1 lasted just three minutes after he spun the car at turn one thanks to an engine problem, causing the car to stall and stop in the middle of the corner.

The Briton got back out on track for FP2, only to stop the car as a precautionary measure due to another engine issue. He did manage to get some laps in towards the end of the session, finishing 19th in the final standings.

“I guess it wasn’t a great day, but at least we got a lot of useful data on the car,” Button said.

“The slightly frustrating thing, though, is that both cars were set up quite differently today, to get comparative aero info, and we weren’t really able to benefit from that on my car.”

“Hopefully, we won’t have further issues. That way, I can get some decent running tomorrow so as to see what the car is doing.

“Whatever happens, though, it’s not going to be an easy weekend. We knew that already. And qualifying will undoubtedly be tricky again!”

Fernando Alonso enjoyed a more fruitful day in the sister McLaren, finishing P7 in FP1 and 12th in FP2 whilst gathering some vital data to help the development of the MP4-30 car.

“Today I had a very smooth day, and I was happy with the car in every condition, so tomorrow we just need to make sure we optimise the performance of the car and try to get a good result,” Alonso said.

“We can see that we’re getting closer and closer to the mid-pack with every race. Definitely we’re moving in the right direction, we just need to do it that bit quicker.”

Racing director Eric Boullier spoke about a day of two halves for McLaren following practice, and apologized to Button for the problems that plagued his running.

“On the one hand, Fernando enjoyed a trouble-free morning followed by an equally unproblematic afternoon, running through his planned programme without mishap,” the Frenchman said.

“On the other, Jenson was forced to endure a frustrating day, the result of not one but two major interruptions, compromising his ability to complete satisfactorily not only FP1 but also FP2. We apologize to him for that.

“Even so, we’ve gathered valuable data, which our engineers will study this evening and tonight.”

You can watch qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix live on CNBC from 11am ET on Saturday.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.