Report: Boston condo owners look to block IndyCar race in 2016

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For one weekend and one weekend only in 2016 – Labor Day weekend to be specific – the city of Boston will be the home to a Verizon IndyCar Series event.

According to the Boston Globe, a race on the holiday weekend is an inconvenience to condo owners in the area of the city where the event will be ran on an 11-turn, 2.2-mile temporary street course.

A lawyer for the Seaport Lofts Condominium Association sent a 14-page letter to Boston mayor Martin Walsh detailing its grievances with the proposed race on the South Boston waterfront.

The letter states the residents are worried about access to their homes, parking, public safety and noise.

“We wrote this letter hesitantly in that we’ve never had to reach out as we’re doing here for help, but there was no process here,” said Gary Godinho, a member of the condo association’s board of trustees. “We’ve got to do our own due diligence to protect our homes.”

In 2015, IndyCar held four race weekends on temporary street courses in Long Beach, Calif., St. Petersburg, Fla., Detroit, Mich., and Toronto.

The Boston race, scheduled for Sept. 2-4 of next year, was agreed to in May. Next year’s race would be the first in a five-year agreement.

The Globe reports that the race contract “requires city officials to help land a title sponsor and to pay for street improvements needed for the event.”

The report also says that the process of erecting barriers for the race would run from three weeks before the race, and that race organizers would coordinate with resident on how fence erection would commence.

But the contract between IndyCar and Boston is also at odds, the Globe reports.

David Lurie, a lawyer representing the condo group, wrote that the city’s contract is illegal because the city didn’t seek competitive bids, in part because the contract allows Grand Prix of Boston to extensively use city streets without paying any charge.

The Boston Herald has more on the contract and further negotiations for the event, which are being helped along by some of the same people who were involved in the city’s aborted bid for the 2024 Olympic games.

Mayor Walsh originally claimed the event would be “privately funded” but that seems to have changed since May.

“We’re still negotiating,” the Herald was told by Kate Norton, spokeswoman for the race and a former aide to Walsh. Norton’s consulting firm CK Strategies was part of the Olympic bid. “Some of these roads are under state jurisdiction.”

Walsh told the Herald he expects the the event next year to generate tens of millions of dollar and that “Anything we use we expect to get reimbursed.”

Writes the Herald:

The costs could include millions of dollars in police details and other security, as well as extra road paving to handle the noisy Indy-style cars, which fly at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour — or about 170 miles an hour faster than normal Boston traffic. The construction plans also include temporary seating for thousands of spectators, which would take about a month to build and then tear down.

While Walsh has been the main booster, much of the actual course runs along roads controlled by Massport, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and the state Department of Transportation. In addition, the organizers are planning events such as a waterfront concert that would use public resources.

The MCCA is working on signing an event contract, which would typically give the authority a cut of revenues or fees in exchange for renting out its facilities and services, according to spokeswoman Rachel Weiss.

F1 tests: Mercedes innovates with wheel adjustment system

Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images
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MONTMELÓ, Spain — Veteran Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time on the second day of Formula One preseason testing on Thursday, but Mercedes still garnered more attention by introducing an innovative wheel adjustment system.

On-board footage showed defending champion Lewis Hamilton pulling the steering wheel back and forth on the front straight to apparently change the angle of the front wheels on his Mercedes car.

The team stayed tight-lipped about the car’s new feature but guaranteed it was “safe” and “legal.”

“I probably won’t shed a great deal more light than what you saw on the TV but yeah we have a system in the car, it’s a novel idea,” team technical director James Allison told F1 TV. ”We’ve got a name for it, it’s called DAS, if you’re interested, and it just introduces an extra dimension for the steering, for the driver, which we hope will be useful during the year. But precisely how we use it and why we use it, that’s something we will keep to ourselves.”

Allison said governing body FIA knew in advance that the team was introducing the new system.

“It’s something we’ve been talking to them (about) for some time,” he said. “The rules are pretty clear about what’s permitted on steering systems and we’re pretty confident that it matches those requirements. I’m pleased we got it on the car, it seems to be useful, and we’ll see over the coming days how it benefits us.”

Hamilton said he was still trying to get used to the system, but praised the team for coming up with the innovation.

“I’ve only had one morning on (it, so) I don’t really have a lot to talk about with it. We’re trying to get on top of it, understand it, but safety-wise no problem today and the FIA are OK with the project.

“For me it’s really encouraging to see that my team is continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the game, and I think that’s down to the great minds in the team and so hopefully that’ll work to our benefit.”

Hamilton led the time charts on Wednesday but was only ninth-fastest on Thursday.

MORE: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas fastest in Day 1 of F1 practice
MORE: Sergio Perez fastest early on Day 2 of F1 Practice

The 40-year-old Raikkonen, who has a chance this season to break the record for most race starts in F1, was fastest with a time of 1 minute, 17.091 seconds in his Alfa Romea. He was 0.2 seconds quicker than Sergio Pérez with Racing Point. Daniel Ricciardo of Renault was third.

Raikkonen caused a red flag near the end of the afternoon session when his car stopped on the track with an apparent mechanical issue. The Finnish driver had spun earlier in the session, as did Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes, Romain Grosjean of Haas and Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri, formerly known as Toro Rosso.

Grosjean had the most laps among the 13 drivers who went to the track on Thursday, with 158.

Bottas was the slowest driver of the day, while Sebastian Vettel was sixth-fastest with Ferrari.

Pérez had set the quickest time in the morning session. The Mexican driver had been third fastest on Wednesday, behind Hamilton and Bottas.

Drivers will be back on the track on Friday to close out the first week of testing. Teams will have another three days to test next week.

Preseason testing has been reduced from eight to six days to help compensate for the record 22 races on the calendar, including a new Vietnam Grand Prix and the return of the Dutch GP. Midseason testing also has been eliminated.

The season opens on March 15 at the Australian GP.

The Barcelona-Catalunya track will host the Spanish GP on May 10.