Danica Patrick will most definitely stand out in the 33-car field when she makes the final start of her racing career in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27.
Patrick on Wednesday unveiled the new bright neon green paint scheme for both her Ed Carpenter Racing No. 13 GoDaddy-sponsored Chevrolet, as well as the equally striking firesuit she’ll wear behind the wheel in the race.
Patrick had a hand in the design of both, particularly the firesuit, which she designed herself, a rarity among drivers not just in IndyCar racing, but in most motorsports.
Patrick’s car will also have black and magenta highlights as part of the very clean-looking design, as well as carry logos for her health and fitness line, apparel line and vineyard as she completes the second part of her racing career-concluding “Danica Double.”
“I will always love the Indianapolis 500, and I’m definitely soaking in all it takes to prepare,” Patrick said. “I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of an Indy car. The Ed Carpenter Racing team has been great.
“I have to say, this is all better than I imagined when I first started visualizing my last race. I’m back in my GoDaddy green, tapping my creative side to help promote my own businesses, and finishing out my racing career at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track where so many special things first happened to me as a driver.
“It’s the ideal scenario to close out my racing career and a fitting way to transition into what’s next for me as an entrepreneur. I’m ready, let’s do this.”
Patrick and most other IndyCar teams were expected to take part in a three-day test this week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but weather issues prompted the test to be rescheduled to May 1-2.
Those sessions will mark the first time Patrick has been behind the wheel of an Indy car since 2011.
Even though it’s only for one race, team owner Ed Carpenter is looking forward to having Patrick drive for his team in the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.
“This new set-up gives the car a downforce more like what Danica drove seven years ago,” Carpenter said. “So it’s less of an adjustment for her than it might be for other drivers.
“And bottom line, she’s here to take her best shot at winning. She’s a fierce competitor, especially on this track. Our team loves that.”
Patrick’s design creativity will extend from her firesuit and the car design all the way to the shoes she’ll wear.
It was 13 years ago in the 2005 Indy 500 that she became the first woman to lead laps in the legendary event. Her shoes in this year’s race will reflect that milestone.
“I’m going to have the year 2005 written on one shoe for the race, and 2018 on the other,” Danica smiled. “I guess I might be getting a little nostalgic. I’ve been saying, if I win Indy, I’ll put the number 13 on my hand every day for the rest of my life.”
The German Grand Prix continues its biennial presence on the Formula 1 calendar – it’s hosted F1 events in even numbered years since 2014 – as Formula 1 returns to the Hockenheimring this weekend.
The German fans will undoubtedly be joyful in Sebastian Vettel entering his home race in the championship lead, by nine points over Lewis Hamilton. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, Vettel despite being one of the most successful and decorated drivers of his generation, Vettel has won in Germany only once (2013, at the Nurburgring) and he has never won at Hockenheim.
Conversely, Hamilton has won in Germany three times, including twice at Hockenheim (2008 and 2016).
As such, Vettel will hope to add to his points lead over Hamilton with a win on home soil, though Hamilton may be equally as motivated after watching Vettel his own home race at Silverstone two weeks ago.
Nevertheless, their 2018 championship duel will most certainly continue to be closely fought.
Talking points ahead of the German Grand Prix are below.
A Different World in 2018 vs. 2016
The Formula 1 landscape looked completely different back in 2016, the last time Formula 1 visited the Hockenheimring. Bernie Ecclestone was still the chief executive of Formula 1.
Nico Rosberg was partnering Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes team, and was on his way to a driver’s championship that year.
Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen were in the midst of a slump as Ferrari went winless in 2016.
The world was still getting to know a then 18-year-old Max Verstappen, the young Dutchman having won the Spanish Grand Prix in May that year.
And the cars looked completely different, with skinnier and taller rear wings and taller rear tires highlighting the appearance differences.
In 2018, Vettel and Ferrari might be the strongest combination. Rosberg is long from Mercedes, and Valtteri Bottas is doing his best to shine in the wake of Hamilton’s enormous shadow.
Verstappen is still a rising star, though he has come under fire at times for overly aggressive driving and his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo has garnered more headlines this year, with a pair of race wins alongside his status as an F1 free agent after 2018.
In short, the Formula 1 landscape is hardly recognizable from what it was back in 2016. And even though Hamilton won that year, followed by Ricciardo and Verstappen in second and third, very little will carry over from that race two years ago.
Hamilton, Mercedes Look to Take Back Momentum from Vettel, Ferrari
The seesaw championship fight has tilted back in the favor of Ferrari, with Vettel leading Hamilton after finishes of third and first in Austria and England. Hamilton, meanwhile, DNF’ed in Austria and came home second in England after spinning on Lap 1.
Hamilton trails by nine points, but this is hardly an unfamiliar position for Hamilton in 2018 – he started the year trailing Vettel until he took the championship lead for the first time after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Both teams have had multiple swings of momentum this year – Vettel won the opening two races before finishes of eighth in China (he spun after contact with Verstappen) and a pair of fourth place efforts in Azerbaijan and Spain before getting two more wins in Canada and England.
Hamilton, meanwhile stumbled out of the gates somewhat with finishes of second and third before taking a fortuitous win in Azerbaijan and two dominant wins in Spain and France before the misfortune in Austria.
All told the ebb and flow of the 2018 season seems to change with every race, and while Vettel now leads Hamilton again, things could change this weekend.
Raikkonen Trying to Fend off Ricciardo, Bottas
Kimi Raikkonen is somewhat of a forgotten man this Formula 1 season, but he does rank third in the championship at the moment, 10 points ahead of Ricciardo and 12 points ahead of Bottas.
However, both Ricciardo and Bottas are likely thought to have had better seasons – Ricciardo has the aforementioned wins (at China and Monaco) and the only thing that has kept Bottas from the top step of the podium is a string of horrendous luck.
However, Raikkonen, to his credit, has picked up the pieces whenever others around him have faltered, and he has six podium finishes through 10 races.
However, in order to fully silence any critics, and maybe even keep his Ferrari drive, Raikkonen would do well to get a win in 2018.
The driver challenging Raikkonen’s position within Ferrari is Sauber’s Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari junior driver has five points finishes, and that could have been six if not for a pit stop error at Silverstone that caused him to leave his pit stall with a loose wheel – it forced him to retire. Leclerc’s star is on the rise, and he could shine again in Germany.
Nico Hulkenberg is the “other” German driver on the grid. And though he has a 24 Hours of Le Mans win to his name, he is yet to finish on the podium in an F1 race. The Renault package may not be a podium threat in usual circumstances, but if he stays clean and others falter, he could sneak in there…and doing so in his home race would make that overdue podium even sweeter.
After a pair of eighth place finishes, Fernando Alonso has helped McLaren at least stop the bleeding after a dismal stretch of races from Monaco through France in which the team scored zero points. However, the team still has a long way to go, and Germany could be another weekend of struggles.