Photo: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas revels in third straight title

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Regardless of which of its drivers wins the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship, Mercedes AMG Petronas has secured its third straight Constructor’s Championship – and that’s no small accomplishment.

The respective staff in Brackley and Brixworth got to see the road travel team return home from the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, as with first and third, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton clinched the Constructor’s title.

The third straight title for Mercedes supplants its previous back-to-back benchmark of 1954 and 1955.

This season, with 15 wins, 28 podium finishes, 16 pole positions and 10 fastest laps from 17 races, the Mercedes-Benz PU106C Hybrid Power Unit has taken 50% of all available World Championship points thus far in 2016, leading 81 percent of racing laps in the process. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid has taken 35 percent of points available, while also leading 81 percent of racing laps.

“Standing here with the Constructors’ trophy, with the two stars that will become three in December, is such a proud moment,” said Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.

“It’s really a great achievement what we have done in the last three years. I met Ross Brawn a few weeks ago. We had a coffee and he told me that what makes him so proud of this organization is that we could easily have dropped the ball. But all of us, together, have kept that ball up for three years in a row now – and that’s quite an achievement.

“It’s a great honorΒ to work with all of these guys and girls. From Paddy and Andy, who push us all so hard intellectually, to our great drivers, who have been a massive part of this success, to the hundreds of people who work their fingers to the bone day in, day out to create the tools and the resources we need to succeed.

“I’ve said before and I believe it more all the time that we have the best driver pairing in Formula One – and the best team of people behind them all the time. All of them are pushing each other to new levels. Just when we think the car can’t go any faster, somehow we find another tenth of a second and it blows us away every time. It’s only when you put all of that together that you get to where we are today.

“I was asked the question at the weekend: “What is the silver bullet for this team? Is there one particular reason why we are where we are?” The only thing that came to my mind is that there are 1,500 reasons. It’s all of these 1,500 people here at Brackley and Brixworth who made this dream a reality and I thank each and every one of them for their part in this story.”

Mercedes executive director, technical, Paddy Lowe added, “We came away from 2014 with some phenomenal results that we never expected were possible in this modern era of Formula One. In the aftermath, we suspected it would be a one-off and it’s been truly extraordinary to see the team maintain that level of dominance across three seasons. It’s testament to the extraordinary work of everyone at Brackley and Brixworth. It’s not just about working hard, as everyone certainly has, but working smart, too. A huge congratulations to everyone involved for their contribution to this success.”

Images and highlights from the celebration are linked below. The @MercedesAMGF1 Twitter account did a great job of highlighting everything.

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

β€œI’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. β€œI understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.