Daniel Ricciardo expecting ‘badass’ F1 silly season in 2016

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Daniel Ricciardo believes that the upcoming Formula 1 silly season will be one of the most turbulent in years, calling it “badass”.

The majority of the F1 grid is thought to be out of contract for 2017 with the exception of Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, setting the tone for a mixed-up driver market and plenty of possible moves over the winter.

‘Silly season’ usually kicks off in the summer months as drivers begin to firm up their contracts for the following year, and Ricciardo believes that this year’s could be one of the most entertaining in years.

“It’s going to be badass, yeah!” Ricciardo said when asked by MotorSportsTalk about silly season.

“I just get excited about all the hype and the rumors and all of that, it’s funny. I could start one. I shouldn’t. I already speak too honestly already. I don’t want to bulls**t.”

Ricciardo himself is thought to be out of contract at the end of the year and has previously been linked with a move to Ferrari, but remained coy when asked if he’d be looking to sew up his future sooner rather than later.

“It is interesting, a lot of drivers are out of contract at the end of the year,” Ricciardo said. “It’s not only that, it’s some potential big rule changes for 2017. The next question is who’s going to be the seat that everyone wants.

“Is it going to be one at Mercedes, or is it time for another team to step up and be successful? It’s going to be pretty interesting. There are going to be lots of names thrown around.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as saying ‘I’m jumping in that, I’m doing that’. It’s going to be let’s weigh it up, let’s see who’s going to be competitive in ’17 and ’18, because most likely whoever signs contracts it’s not just going to be one year.

“There’s a lot that goes around the silly season, but it’s fun. I haven’t really ever been that involved in it, I’ve had a pretty stable long-term contract with Red Bull, but it’s exciting knowing what goes on in the sport. It’s cool.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III