Fuming Vettel lashes out at Pirelli after tire failure (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel has lashed out at Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli after suffering a tire failure on the penultimate lap of today’s Belgian Grand Prix when running third on track.

Ferrari opted to gamble with a one-stop strategy at Spa, despite Pirelli recommending that teams either pit two or three times for tires across the course of the race at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

With Romain Grosjean closing in on his car, Vettel continued to push in the closing stages of the race, only to suffer a tire failure on the Kemmel Straight that caused him to drop down the order.

After the race, Vettel launched into a tirade against Pirelli regarding the state of its tires, believing that he was fortunate not to have suffered the failure seconds earlier at Eau Rouge, the fastest part of the circuit.

“Things like that are not allowed to happen, full stop,” Vettel told BBC Sport after the race.

“If it happens 200 meters earlier, I’m not standing here now. I’m stuck at Eau Rouge. So I don’t know what else needs to happen.

“I’ll tell you what’s upsetting. One thing is the result – we deserved to finish on the podium. But if this happens earlier… it’s unacceptable.”

Vettel’s tire failure was the second of the weekend at Spa following Nico Rosberg’s on Friday in practice. Pirelli confirmed that Rosberg’s had been due to a cut thanks to an external body, whilst Vettel’s was due to excessive tire wear.

However, Vettel does not believe that these are good enough answers.

“The same as every time: “There was a cut, debris, bodywork, maybe the driver went wide… b******t.

“If Nico tells us that he didn’t go off the track, then he didn’t go off the track. Why should he lie to us? I didn’t go out of the track, just out of the blue it explodes.

“As I said, if this happens earlier, then I am f****d.

“I think we need to talk to each other. It’s probably not as bad as it was at Silverstone [in 2013, when another series of tire failures occurred] but it is not acceptable.”

Ryan Norman returns to Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport in 2019

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Ryan Norman will return to Andretti Autosport for their third season together in 2019 after scoring his first win and first pole with that organization in 2018.

I’m really excited to finally make it official that I’ll be returning to Andretti Autosport for my third season competing in Indy Lights,” said Norman in a press release. “We’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years and I’m ready to fight for wins, podiums and ultimately the championship, with such a great group of people who have become like a family to me.”

Norman finished 2018 fourth in the championship, earning his first career win in race 15 of the 17-race schedule at Gateway Motorsports Park in August.

Norman’s first pole came in the finale at Portland International Raceway in September, but he crashed on the first lap and finished last (8th).

“We’re very happy that Ryan is rejoining us for his third season of Indy Lights,” said Andretti Autosport President, JF Thormann. “We were pleased with his performance this past season, and his potential as a driver began to really shine after his win at Gateway. He’s right on track with his progression plan put together by his engineering team, and we feel strongly that he has what it takes to be a contender for the 2019 championship.”

Norman will essentially replace teammates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, who will race for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar next season.  O’Ward finished first in the Indy Lights standings last year; Herta finished second.

Norman’s 2019 campaign will begin on the streets of St. Petersburgh, Florida March 9, 2019. That will be the first of a double-header with Race 2 running the following day.