FIA Formula 2

Rowland: ‘Difficult’ fighting Kubica for 2018 Renault F1 seat

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Formula 2 racer Oliver Rowland feels it is “difficult” to fight against Robert Kubica for a Renault Formula 1 seat in 2018 given the momentum behind the Pole to make a racing return.

Kubica’s remarkable comeback from severe injuries to his right arm sustained while rallying in 2011 took another step forward on Wednesday when he completed a test in a 2017 F1 car with Renault in Hungary, putting in a competitive display.

Kubica appears to be in contention for a full-time seat with Renault for 2018 – if not earlier – giving Rowland, its current development driver, some serious competition in the race to replace the struggling Jolyon Palmer.

Besides Rowland, Renault also has Canadian youngster Nicholas Latifi and Russia’s Sergey Sirotkin on its books, but the Briton feels he is better placed than them to step up to F1 with Renault.

“Robert was an incredible driver back in his day. He’s been injured, he’s come back, he’s got some restrictions with his arm – we just have to see how that affects him and what performance he brings with that,” Rowland told Channel 4 F1.

“Robert comes with a lot of support and everybody would like to see him back in Formula 1, which is why it’s a little bit difficult for me pushing that seat as well when he’s in the frame.

“As for the other two, Nicholas is my teammate in F2 so there is a direct comparison there. If he was to beat me then he should get a seat in F1 and if it’s the other way round you’d like to think that I would.

“Sirotkin did GP2 last year and finished third but I’d like to think that I’m doing a slightly better job. We were also teammates in 2014 in World Series by Renault and I beat him then.

“I see myself as not coming with the most backing in the world but second favorite behind Robert from that side of things.

“I respect him from what he did before, and it would be nice to see him there if I wasn’t fighting for the seat!”

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
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Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

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