© Getty Images

Fuoco upbeat after Ferrari test, notes ’15 to ’16 progress

Leave a comment

Ferrari Driver Academy member Antonio Fuoco felt upbeat following his first Formula 1 test of the year with the Italian marque in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Fuoco’s first and most recent outing with Ferrari came at last year’s in-season test in Austria, where a crash in wet conditions left his running under a cloud.

However, the Italian youngster enjoyed a trouble-free run in the SF16-H earlier this week as he stayed on in Spain following the opening round of his GP3 campaign the previous weekend.

“We did a good job today, a lot of laps, a lot of kilometers and it was a very positive day,” Fuoco said.

“The most complicated thing about an F1 car compared to the GP3 car I’m racing in the championship is managing the various procedures. And the extra downforce makes it more demanding, so some training is useful.

“Today, we worked on set-up, covering a bit of what Sebastian [Vettel] had done as a comparison. We tried some new components, but nothing special.”

Fuoco said he could note the progress that Ferrari had made between its 2015 and 2016 cars, even if the dry conditions made a direct comparison in all areas difficult to gauge.

“Compared to last year’s test I did in the 2015 car, it’s hard to draw comparisons. When I was driving in Austria the conditions were completely different,” Fuoco said.

“However, I’d say this year’s car is an improvement, it works very well. We ran a lot today and in general I did a good job with the team.

“I’d like to really thank the Scuderia and the Ferrari Driver Academy for this opportunity.”

Fuoco’s attention will now turn to the next round of the GP3 season in Austria at the beginning of July.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
Chris Owens/IndyCar
Leave a comment

James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

VEACH OUT: Driver elects to vacate seat for rest of season

“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”