Haas struggles in home F1 race, drops back in constructors’ standings

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Haas Formula 1 Team had a home race to forget as both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished outside of the points in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Haas ventured to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for its second home race since joining F1 at the start of the 2016 season hopeful of building on its double-points haul in Japan last time out.

Grosjean was Haas’ best hope of points, starting 11th, and ran as high as ninth before falling back through the closing stages as he struggled with worn tires.

“Not much pace in the car, and massive tire degradation on my front-left tire. I was trying to hang in there, but the last few laps I felt it was pretty dangerous,” Grosjean said.

“Off track the weekend’s been great with the fans. I’m very sorry we couldn’t put on a better show from the team. We’re all going to work hard. We know Mexico was tough on us last year but, hopefully, we find some solutions.

“We’re going to work hard, but right now it’s disappointing not to put on a better show at home.”

Magnussen started 17th after a tough qualifying and a grid penalty, only to suffer a further setback early on after contact with Pascal Wehrlein left his Haas car with a puncture on Lap 4.

Haas moved Magnussen onto an aggressive one-stop strategy, but he too struggled to keep life in his soft compound Pirellis, causing him to fall back into Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson’s clutches on-track.

The pair collided when scrapping for position, prompting Haas to bring Magnussen in and fit a set of super-softs to get to the end of the race, where he was the last classified finisher in P16.

“Not the best day for us, but the car was actually better from qualifying. We just had to pit at the first lap, so our tires – we tried to do the whole race on softs, but not quite possible,” Magnussen said.

“We had to try. It was the only thing we could try in that situation. So, onto the next one.”

Haas dropped down to eighth in the constructors’ championship on Sunday as Renault picked up six points through Carlos Sainz Jr. in P7, leaving the American team on the back foot with three races left this season.

The tough weekend on-track was balanced out by Haas’ further embrace – and the U.S. fans’ further appreciation – of the team in several events during the weekend.

A group photo of Haas fans with the team took place at the redubbed “Haas Hill” on the outside of Turns 18 and 19, and the Haas F1 Team also conducted its second annual full-team shot pre-race on Sunday morning. (All photos: Haas F1 Team).

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.