Maldonado upbeat ahead of F1’s European leg

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Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to heading back to some of his favorite circuits in the next few months as Formula 1 returns to Europe after the first flyaway leg of the season.

With Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain now in the books, F1 heads to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time and will remain in Europe for all but one race run until the end of September.

Maldonado has endured a difficult start to the 2015 season, and currently finds himself bottom of the drivers’ championship after finishing just one race.

However, he remains upbeat ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, which was the site of his solitary grand prix victory in 2012.

“I’m happy to be going back to Barcelona, to Europe,” Maldonado said. “We now have maybe the most important races coming up since we are based in Europe and some of the best tracks of the year are coming up.

“Monaco is one of my favourites, Barcelona is awesome, especially since I won! Silverstone, Spa, Monza… They’re all pretty great.”

Maldonado finished 15th in Bahrain last weekend after a brake cooling problem denied him a shot at points, and he believes that he could have finished as high as seventh ahead of Lotus teammate Romain Grosjean.

“The end result could have easily been P7,” the Venezuelan said. “We managed to do a lot at the beginning of the race with the medium compound tires, which was quite good.

“And then the strategy was the right one, especially after the problems in qualifying, we needed to try something different to gain places and jump the cars ahead. It meant that I had always new tires, and it was a lot of fun to push.”

Maldonado has been spending some time in the simulator at Lotus’ factory this week, and will be keen to end his points drought in Spain on May 10.

Lotus will be getting out on track next Monday at the Brands Hatch circuit in England as part of a filming day, which is open to the public. For more information, click here.

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.