Romain Grosjean chalked up his second DNS – ‘did not start’ – of the 2016 Formula 1 season in Brazil on Sunday after crashing out during his sighter lap before the race.
Grosjean joined NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas’ new F1 operation, Haas F1 Team, at the start of the year, and has scored all 29 of its points thorugh 2016.
The Frenchman had been due to start seventh on Sunday in Brazil, matching his best grid slot of the year after an impressive run in qualifying at Interlagos.
However, with heavy rain hitting the track in the lead-up to the start, Grosjean got caught out by the conditions on the run to the grid.
Applying power coming up the hill in the final sector, Grosjean spun before sliding into the wall at speed, sustaining damage to the left-rear of his car that meant he was not able to make the start.
“I’m sorry for the fans, the Haas, the team, for everyone. We went from hero to zero in less than 24 hours. I wasn’t even flat out. The car just spun. It’s just bad luck,” Grosjean told NBCSN’s Will Buxton afterwards.
He also called out Pirelli’s extreme wet weather tires, only moments before Kimi Raikkonen’s lurid spin and crash across the front straight that has put the race under red flag.
“It shows the extreme are terrible tires and the inters are faster even though you have to take huge risk,” Grosjean said.
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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