Renault targeting early September to reveal 2017 lineup

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Renault Sport F1 Team said a couple weeks ago it wasn’t planning to rush a decision on its 2017 driver lineup, but has now more or less put down a deadline for when it will reveal its 2017 lineup.

The Enstone-based factory outlet holds two of the more coveted seats on next year’s grid, and along with Williams Martini Racing is yet to confirm either seat next year.

Renault F1 boss Frederic Vasseur told the official F1 website that while both Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer have been progressively improving throughout the season, it’s too early to say either of them would be back in 2017.

“They are improving! We know we are on the grid, so ‘improving’ is written in capital letters for us,’ Vasseur told Formula1.com.

“It is too early to make any decision right here and now. We will probably do it at the beginning of September.”

Vasseur hinted the team needs a dynamic leader to rise with Renault as the team looks to recapture old race- and title-winning glory, achieved when Michael Schumacher was with the team then-known as Benetton in the mid-1990s and when Fernando Alonso won his pair of titles for Renault in its last iteration in 2005 and 2006.

“If you look at the success stories of the past, success was always built around a driver: Schumacher and Ferrari, Vettel and Red Bull, Lewis and Mercedes, and also Alonso and Renault in the past – so the driver is important,” Vasseur said.

Magnussen has supplied Renault’s only six points this year, courtesy of a seventh place finish at the Russian Grand Prix back in May, and Palmer is yet to score. His best chance went begging at the Hungarian Grand Prix when he was on course for a likely top-10 finish, before a spin put pause to that.

The team is known to want Sergio Perez, with the Mexican’s backers the ones likely to dictate his future. However, Force India said earlier this year it expected Perez back alongside Nico Hulkenberg next year.

Meanwhile Esteban Ocon, who’s done a couple free practice outings this year for Renault as its reserve driver before shifting into the second Manor-Mercedes race seat for the rest of this year, is also among those in the frame.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”