Force India pins hopes on raft of updates coming at Spain

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Sahara Force India heads into the traditional start of the European season hoping that a series of updates to the VJM09 chassis will maximize its potential and improve its results.

The thinking is that the updates, which weren’t specifically outlined in the team’s advance release today, will seriously enhance competitiveness.

Thus far the team have just 8 points on the board – 6 from Nico Hulkenberg in Melbourne and 2 last time out from Sergio Perez at Sochi – although Perez bounced back nicely from an opening lap cut tire while Hulkenberg was among those caught up in the first lap mess.

Team principal Vijay Mallya is keen to see the updates pay dividends this weekend:

“It’s on schedule to be fitted to both cars ahead of Friday practice,” Mallya confirmed. “It’s pretty comprehensive and the car will look quite different.”

Mallya said the team’s results don’t match their competitiveness thus far this year.

“In Sochi we were the innocent victims of the first lap chaos – as was the case in Bahrain too,” he said. “It’s frustrating because, even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to see what we could have done differently. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time with both cars, which caused a puncture for Sergio and ended Nico’s race. To see Sergio recover from the back of the pack and score points was a tremendous effort.”

“I hope we’ve used up all of our bad luck already! We’ve yet to see how we perform in a clean, trouble-free race without safety cars, red flags or accidents. Despite not realising our potential in Sochi, we took encouragement from our qualifying and race pace: the car is improving and we’ve got a good base on which to build. There are 17 races to go and I’m confident the best is yet to come. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Perez added, “Barcelona will be the first chance to run our updated car. It’s going to be a huge task to understand everything on Friday, but it’s always exciting to try new parts on the car.”

Hulkenberg also added, “I felt pretty disappointed about what happened in Sochi. In fact, things have gone against us for the last few races. We know we should have scored more points, but it’s impossible to plan for the bad luck we’ve experienced. I’m looking forward to a weekend where everything goes to plan so that we can show our true potential.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:


Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change