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Vasseur eager to resolve Sauber’s ‘Honda question’ for 2018

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Newly-appointed Sauber Formula 1 chief Frederic Vasseur is eager to resolve the team’s “Honda question” for 2018 amid speculation that its announced deal could be scrapped.

Sauber announced a power unit deal with Honda for 2018 over the Russian Grand Prix weekend prior to former team principal and CEO Monisha Kaltenborn’s departure from the team.

Kaltenborn left ahead of last month’s race in Azerbaijan after a disagreement with team chairman Pascal Picci, with reports suggesting the Honda deal was a key point of contention.

Multiple outlets including Auto Bild and Autosport claimed earlier this week that Sauber’s deal with Honda had not been completed despite the announcement, putting it at risk for 2018 following the change in leadership.

Honda’s lack of competitiveness is apparently a concern for Sauber’s top management, and Vasseur confirmed to French newspaper L’Equipe that he too has qualms.

“The Honda question is on the table. It’s the first one I’m going to work on,” Vasseur said.

“We need to take care of this quickly. In light of what I hear from McLaren, it can be scary.”

Should Sauber scrap the deal, Honda may be left without any teams to supply in F1 next year as McLaren continues to deliberate its future engine partner.

McLaren has languished at the back of the grid for much of the season, leaving the relationship with Honda close to breaking point.

The British team has been linked with engine deals with Mercedes, Renault and even Ferrari for 2018 as it looks to move back up the grid, making it possible that Honda may have a year out of the sport if they too part ways and no other contracts are secured.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.