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Sainz joins Renault from USGP onwards; Kvyat, Gasly to finish season for Toro Rosso

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Renault has confirmed that Carlos Sainz Jr. will make his Formula 1 debut with the team at the United States Grand Prix later this month, completing his move from Toro Rosso four races early.

Daniil Kvyat will return to Toro Rosso after two races out and partner Pierre Gasly, who will not contest the Super Formula finale as a result.

Minutes after Jolyon Palmer announced via Instagram he would be leaving Renault after this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, the French marque issued a statement confirming Sainz from the Austin race until the end of the season.

Sainz had been due to join Renault for the 2018 season, with the team making efforts to sign him as early as Malaysia, but only reached an agreement with Palmer to terminate the contract after Suzuka.

“First of all I would like to thank Toro Rosso and Red Bull for allowing me the possibility of finishing this season with Renault Sport Racing,” Sainz said.

“More specifically, I really want to thank all my engineers and mechanics for their support and tremendous work throughout these years. Toro Rosso is made up of a fantastic group of people and I wish them only the best for the future.

“On my side, I will definitely do my very best in tomorrow’s race – this would be the best possible send-off! Additionally, competing in these last four races with Renault gives me a good opportunity to get to know the team and the car earlier than expected. I am looking forward to start working with them.”

Kvyat was dropped by Toro Rosso due to poor form after the Singapore Grand Prix, making way for 2016 GP2 champion Gasly, but will be drafted back in to replace Sainz.

The announcement from Toro Rosso also confirmed Gasly for the USGP, meaning he will not fight for the Super Formula title in Japan despite sitting just half a point behind the leader heading into the season finale.

More to follow…

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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