Magnussen unconcerned by Vandoorne’s success in GP2


Former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen is unconcerned by the success of Stoffel Vandoorne in 2015 despite appearing to slip behind the Belgian driver in the team’s junior ranks.

Magnussen made his F1 debut in 2014 with McLaren in place of Sergio Perez, but was dropped after one difficult season to make way for the returning Fernando Alonso.

McLaren maintained that Magnussen was a big part of its future plans, using him as a stand-in for Alonso when he was forced to miss the Australian Grand Prix in March through injury.

However, Vandoorne – previously seen as being a ‘step behind’ Magnussen in the junior programme – has been turning heads with a string of stunning performances in GP2, claiming three wins and two second place finishes in the opening six races of the 2015 season.

Despite now being on the sidelines, Magnussen is not concerned about his future with McLaren, and believes that he can still learn plenty from the team in 2015.

“I can learn a lot from Jenson and Fernando,” Magnussen told the official F1 website. “I am in the fortunate position that I can just focus on learning and getting the most out of this situation.

“Yes I have itchy feet, but I am also very young and have a lot of time ahead. I can afford one year to do what I do now, which is learn and get a bit more experience and learn about different things I perhaps wouldn’t learn about if I was in the car.”

Magnussen was full of praise for Vandoorne, but said that he is not worried by the Belgian’s success and any pressure it may put on him.

“Stoff is doing a really good job, and he deserves to get to F1,” Magnussen said. “I think there is something wrong if he doesn’t get there.

“But everyone is a threat when you are competing for an F1 seat. I just have to focus on myself, and not really worry about anyone else because I can’t do anything about it.

“McLaren believe in me – I’ve done well in F1, been on the podium – so they know what I can do and where my potential is. I have a lot of faith in McLaren and that they will take care of my career.”

NTT re-signs as IndyCar title sponsor in multiyear deal starting with the 2024 season

James Black/Penske Entertainment

The IndyCar Series has re-signed NTT as its title sponsor in a multiyear agreement starting in 2024.

NTT, a global information technology and communications company based in Japan, became the series’ title sponsor before the 2019 season after starting as a sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

NTT Data (a subsidiary of parent company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.) will remain the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500 and the NASCAR Brickyard weekend.

With the extension, an IndyCar spokesman said NTT would become the second-longest title sponsor in series history. The longest title sponsor was PPG from 1980-97 (under the CART sanction of the Champ Car Series).

NTT replaced Verizon, which was IndyCar’s title sponsor from 2014-18 after IZOD from 2010-13.

“NTT is an excellent partner across our enterprise with strong expertise and a deep commitment to our sport,” Penske Corp. chairman and IndyCar owner Roger Penske said in a release. “From Smart Venue technology at the Racing Capital of the World to the reimagined Series mobile application, NTT is transforming the fan experience in new and innovative ways. We look forward to a bright future together.”

NTT has used artificial intelligence-enabled optical detection technology at IMS to provide information to the track’s operations and security teams, helping improve fan traffic flow and safety, the track said.

“IndyCar is a great partner for NTT Data because of our shared commitment to driving innovation, increasing sustainability and delivering amazing experiences,” NTT Data CEO Kaz Nishihata said in a release. “We also appreciate how IndyCar is so diverse, with drivers from 15 different countries, and races that range from short ovals and superspeedways to road and street courses. It’s both an incredible sport and a wonderful example for our world.”

NTT also has been instrumental in helping redesign the IndyCar app and providing more race and driver data for use in NBC Sports’ broadcasts by utilizing 140 data points from every car in the field.

“NTT is fully invested in the development and growth of our sport and has already established a terrific track record in our industry with problem-solving capabilities and access to top talent and tools,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said.

Said NTT Data Services CEO Bob Pryor: “We’re thrilled to continue our collaborations that enhance and expand the fan experience for motorsports and serve as proof points for data analytics, AI, and other innovative digital technologies. For more than a century, this racing series has pioneered innovations making driving safer for everyone, and by continuing this relationship, we will accelerate the pace of innovations and new technologies, particularly related to sustainability that ultimately can benefit organizations, communities and individuals around the world.”

Starting as a Japanese telephone company, NTT grew into a $100 billion-plus tech services giant with U.S. operations based in Plano, Texas.