Honda

F3 Americas champion to receive Indy Lights scholarship from HPD

Leave a comment

Starting this season, the winner of the F3 Americas championship will receive a scholarship to race in Indy Lights the following year.

The scholarship, which is sponsored by Honda Performance Development, will provide the necessary funds for the champion to run a full schedule for the team of his or her choice in the subsequent season. Additionally, HPD will allow the scholarship to be used with one of their partner teams in the NTT IndyCar Series, should the champion qualify for a license.

“The F3 Americas Championship has produced drivers that are ready for the next step of open wheel competition,” said HPD Commercial Motorsports Manager John Whiteman. “We are pleased to be able to offer access to Honda’s winning teams and provide a critical contribution toward young driver’s professional racing aspirations.”

Sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing, the F3 Americas Championship will feature seven rounds in 2020, beginning on the weekend of April 9-11 at Road Atlanta. All cars competing in the series are powered by a 303-horsepower Honda Performance Development version of the Honda Civic Type-R turbocharged K20C1 motor.

“Since the beginning, the F4 U.S. Championship and F3 Americas Championship have focused on giving young drivers the tools and track time they need to nurture and demonstrate their abilities,” said SCCA Pro Racing President Dan Helman. “Along with the great racing venues, instructional curricula, and veteran racing experience shared with drivers, there’s no question that this increased award will attract talented racers to this modern, competitive racing series.”

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.