Vandoorne: Getting a point in Bahrain ‘a bonus’ on F1 debut

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Stoffel Vandoorne made the most of his surprise Formula 1 debut in Bahrain by finishing 10th to pick up a solitary point for McLaren, the team’s first of the season.

Reserve driver Vandoorne flew overnight from Japan to Bahrain on Thursday after Fernando Alonso was ruled out of the race weekend due to a fractured rib sustained in Australia two weeks ago.

The Belgian driver qualified 12th on Saturday, and enjoyed a spirited drive in the race to battle his way to 10th place at the checkered flag.

Vandoorne pulled off fine overtaking moves on Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg among others, and told NBCSN after the race he felt comfortable behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4-31.

“Very good to come away with one point this wekend,” Vandoorne said.

“Today the focus was on operationally making no mistakes and bringing the car home. That’s what I managed to do. Getting a point was a bonus.

“I felt very confident and comfortable in the car. I knew I did something good. Today was a good finish on the weekend.”

Vandoorne became the 64th driver in the history of F1 to score points on debut, but said he was not thinking about the records or enormity of his achievement.

“I still don’t realize what I’ve done! Trying to enjoy the moment,” Vandoorne said.

“This weekend has been a success on the whole. It’s never been easy to jump in a car without any testing in the season.

“My first Formula 1 race, first race would be tricky to do, but I coped with the pressure that came with it. Just to finish and then finish 10th.”

Vandoorne may yet be drafted in for the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks’ time should Alonso not be fit enough, but the Belgian was just grateful for the opportunity he received in Bahrain.

“I don’t know yet,” he said when asked if he’d be racing in China.

“It’s not up to me to decide that. Just be happy about the one shot this weekend and go from there.”

Vandoorne now sits above both Alonso and teammate Jenson Button in the drivers’ championship, with the latter retiring early on in Bahrain.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports