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Formula 1: Recapping the past week’s news

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Below are some of the biggest headlines from the FIA Formula 1 World Championship during this past week.

Haas, Williams Reveal Their 2018 Cars

Haas F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing became the first teams to unveil their 2018 cars, Haas doing so on Wednesday and Williams doing so on Thursday.

The Haas F1 Team VF-18. Photo courtesy Haas F1 Team

Team launches are scheduled to continue next week. Below are other confirmed launch dates, with Sahara Force India the only team not to confirm a date as of writing.

February 19 – Red Bull Racing

February 20 -Alfa Romeo Sauber, Renault Sport F1 Team

February 22 – Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas

February 23 – McLaren F1 Team

February 26 – Scuderia Toro Rosso

 

Alonso to Contest Full Slate of Formula 1, WEC Races in 2018

Although Fernando Alonso previously confirmed his plans to contest FIA World Endurance Championship events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with TOYOTA GAZOOย Racing, a conflict of dates between Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix and the WEC’s 6 Hours of Fuji saw both events originally scheduled for the same weekend, October 21, with the assumption being that Alonso would skip the Fuji WEC round to stick with his full-time Formula 1 duties with McLaren.

However, the WEC Fuji round has subsequently been moved up one week to October 14, meaning that Alonso will be able to contest all rounds of the WEC in 2018 alongside his full-season Formula 1 campaign.

However, the move now puts the 6 Hours of Fuji in conflict with the Petit Le Mans, the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Such drivers as Harry Tincknell, Mike Conway, Bruno Senna, Renger van der Zande, and Augusto Farfus rank among those who would affected by the conflict, as all were originally scheduled to contest both events.

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.