FIA stewards take no action over five-car incident on first lap of British Grand Prix

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The FIA stewards have confirmed that no action will be taken over the five-car incident on the first lap of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

On lap one of the race, an incident at Farm involving Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button sparked an early safety car period.

A chain reaction was caused when Ricciardo and Grosjean made contact, forcing the Frenchman into Lotus teammate Maldonado.

In turn, this forced Alonso to jolt to the right and into the path of McLaren teammate Button, launching the Briton into the air.

Grosjean and Button were both eliminated on the spot, whilst Maldonado managed to return to the pits before retiring from the race.

The stewards confirmed in the aftermath of the incident that they would be investigating after the race, when they deemed that no one driver was to blame.

“No further action is warranted,” a report from the FIA read.

“After hearing from all the drivers involved in the turn three incident at the start of the race, it was decided that no driver was wholly or predominately to blame.”

Speaking after the race, Grosjean suggested that Ricciardo was in fact to blame for the incident after underestimating his brakes and tires on the opening lap.

“That was a very short race for the team and I feel for everyone here at Silverstone and at Enstone,” the Frenchman said. “Daniel must have thought his brakes and tires would be able to slow him better than they did and the result was the end of both my and Pastor’s race.

“No-one likes to end a grand prix like that as so much effort goes into making and preparing the cars. I know we have many fans who want to see us race so I feel for them too.”

After being resigned to his first retirement in three races, Maldonado was surprisingly upbeat and passive about the incident.

“At first I thought I had a puncture and would be able to return to the pits and re-join the race but unfortunately the damage to the car was more serious than that and I had to retire,” Maldonado said.

“There is nothing you can do in situations like these as it’s all part of racing. Now my focus is on the next race where we’ll be trying our very best as always.”

Ricciardo would ultimately retire from the race due to an electrical issue, whilst Alonso managed to finish in tenth place and score his first point of the 2015 season.

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds