Mercedes ‘optimistic’ Rosberg will avoid gearbox penalty

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Mercedes is “optimistic” that Nico Rosberg will avoid a gearbox penalty at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix despite hitting trouble two weeks ago at Silverstone.

Rosberg lost seventh gear during the closing stages of the British Grand Prix, prompting Mercedes to give him instructions over the radio to prevent a terminal failure.

Although the messages were deemed to have been in breach of the sporting regulations, a 10-second time penalty meant that Rosberg only dropped to third, retaining the lead of the drivers’ championship in the process.

Gearboxes are required to last six grands prix under the 2016 regulations, Rosberg taking his last two rounds ago in Austria after crashing in FP3.

That gearbox is required to last until the Singapore Grand Prix in September, but concerns were raised after the issue at Silverstone.

Rosberg will use the gearbox during practice on Friday to ensure that it is able to be used over the remainder of the weekend.

“We will be running the race gearbox tomorrow to make sure it is OK and are optimistic that it will be,” a spokesperson for Mercedes said.

Rosberg arrived in Hungary leading the drivers’ championship by a single point after seeing Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton cut down the 43-point gap that existed before Monaco.

Rosberg is refusing to dwell on his difficult run of form, and is instead focusing on chalking up his first win in Hungary.

“I have reflected on each individual [race] once it’s done and then I’ve moved on,” Rosberg said.

“Feeling good, feeling excited to be here.

“It’s been a good season so far and I’m going to try and win this weekend, of course.”

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.