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“We have the chance to do well here” – Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur

Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN boss Frédéric Vasseur is hoping Valtteri Bottas and the newly re-signed Zhou Guanyu can claim a points finish at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, with it being the first time Formula 1 has visited the Asian country since 2019.

The Singapore GP has been cancelled for the last two years in a row, like most of the Asian races on the calendar, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, with the world seemingly moving on from the pandemic, Formula 1 is finally returning to the incredibly demanding Marina Bay Circuit. It’s a very challenging circuit to tame by even the best of drivers, with the hot temperatures and humid weather making the streets very tricky to navigate.

The team do have reason to celebrate, though, with their 2023 line-up having been confirmed earlier in the week, with Zhou having had his deal extended to next season.

Vasseur is hoping his side will be “at the top of our game” with this weekend marking the start of an Asian double-header.

“After a few weeks away from the track, during which we put our focus into analysing our performances over the late summer triple-header and finalising the upgrades we will soon bring to the track, we head back overseas for the final six races of the season.

Zhou Guanyu: Singapore Grand Prix “closest to a home race for me”

Zhou Guanyu is probably looking forward to this weekend’s first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019 more than any race this season, with the Chinese rookie treating the returning race at the Marina Bay Circuit as his “home” event.

With the Chinese Grand Prix having been cancelled this season due to the Coronavirus, this weekend’s race is the closest to Zhou’s home, with the Chinese driver excited to welcome all his family into the garage for the event. There is much for the rookie to celebrate going into the weekend, with the Chinese driver having signed a contract extension with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN side for 2023, and deservedly so.

Zhou has had an excellent rookie season in all respects, and will be hoping to prove to the Hinwil-based outfit that they’ve made the correct choice extending his deal. Zhou has never driven around the circuit before, which is arguably the most demanding on the calendar; however he is “confident and ready”.

“This has been a really good week so far, with the news of my contract extension yesterday, and now I am really looking forward to competing in Singapore: it’s the closest to a home race for me this season, and I will have family and friends supporting me here. On top of that, the track will be brand new to discover for me; it will be tough, as it’s a street race at night and in very peculiar weather conditions, but I feel confident and ready.

“Going back to scoring points in Monza was a great morale booster, and together with the competitive pace we had, it must be the base on which to build our weekend. The midfield will likely be very tight once again but doing our job well and being at the top of our performances will let us get in the mix and try to start a new point-scoring streak.”

Mercedes Extend Petronas Title Partnership Beyond 2026

Ahead of the returning Singapore Grand Prix, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team proudly announced that they’d extended their partnership with Petronas beyond 2026, with the pair having been together since 2010.

The Malaysian-based company will continue as the Silver Arrows official title and technical partner, a role they’ve honoured since the Germans returned to the championship in 2010. Together, the’ve amounted an umatchable bond, with Petronas having supported Mercedes throughout all eight of their Constructors’ Championships from 2014-2021.

Their partnership is, in fact, the most successful in the history of the sport, with Petronas having partnered Mercedes for one-hundred and fifteen victories. With the continuation of the partnership having been announced in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the duo can switch their focus to making a completely sustainable fuel for 2026, where new engine regulations will see all teams have to run one-hundred percent sustainable fuel.

Mercedes Team Principal and CEO, Toto Wolff spoke of his delight at the Petronas Towers that the pair have made an announcement with their “family” four years early.

“Today we are doing something a little bit unusual – announcing a partnership that will begin in four years’ time. This sends an important message: our team and PETRONAS are no longer just partners, we are family, and we will be one team for many more years to come.
“From 2026, advanced sustainable fuel will be at the heart of F1 performance – and this gives us a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our expertise in this domain, through both the power unit and PETRONAS Fluid Technology Solutions. We are excited to be racing into the future alongside PETRONAS, with the ambition to set the standard once again, in our on-track performance and by pioneering the transition of a global sports team to a net-zero future.”

Partnerships form for Baja 1000

The Baja 1000 is the most intimidating and grueling race on the SCORE International World Desert Championship, so it makes sense that many drivers will want to temporarily join forces for the journey to take some weight off their shoulders.

One such alliance enjoyed tremendous success in 2021 when Rob MacCachren and Luke McMillin won the overall. The two are normally Trophy Truck rivals, but will renew their partnership for 2022 in their quest to go back-to-back. Besides being former 1000 winners, the duo carries plenty of momentum into November as McMillin is coming off a runner-up finish in the Baja 400, while MacCachren won the Baja 500; McMillin also began the 2022 season by winning the San Felipe 250.

As the Baja 400 sets the starting order for the 1000, the MacCachren/McMillin team will race with the latter’s #83. This also returns the favour as they used MacCachren’s #11 for the 2021 1000.

“We’ve been putting a lot of thought into logistics, as well as test time in the truck,” said MacCachren on Tuesday. “Luke is like a younger version of me. He never stops brain storming. He’s actions, not just words. I respect his passion and hustle. I’m honoured to be invited by Luke and the McMillin Racing team to share the driving duties once again.”

Another Trophy Truck partnership comes at Vildosola Racing, where the #10 TT will be split between the team’s regular driver Tavo Vildósola and Alan Ampudia. Ampudia, the 2019 winner, had partnered with Ken Block for the 2021 1000. Vildosola and his father Gustavo won in 2010.

PREVIEW: 2022 W Series – Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore

W Series is back from its longest-ever mid-season break, and after nine weeks away it’s hitting the streets of Singapore. The W Series’ debut around Marina Bay will bring new surroundings, but there could be a familiar feel as Jamie Chadwick nears her third consecutive title.

What to look out for this weekend

Chadwick has won all but one of this season’s races and a sixth win this weekend would be enough to make it a hat-trick to retain the title. It was compatriot Alice Powell who claimed victory last time out in Hungary to break Chadwick’s dominant streak, but only Bianca Bustamante has previous experience at Marina Bay during her karting career – albeit on a shortened circuit.

Elsewhere on the grid, Ayla Agren enters the fray to make her season debut in place of Tereza Babickova at Puma W Series Team. A spinal injury for Babickova, sustained in an incident at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, while competing in the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine (FRECA) on 10 September led doctors to rule her out of all racing activities until further notice.

On the other hand, Agren will be no stranger to the W Series after racing at the Circuit of the Americas at the end of last season. The Norwegian driver began her racing career at the Skip Barber Racing School in the USA, later winning the Formula Ford-spec F1600 in 2014.

Having hosted its first F1 Grand Prix in 2008, Marina Bay is widely regarded as one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calendar. With 23 corners across 3.14 miles, its humidity and bumpy track surface will test all 18 W Series drivers.

Joel Granfors gets first taste of Formula 3 machinery in three day post-season test in Jerez

Joel Granfors joined up with Carlin for the FIA Formula 3 post-season test in Jerez, as the seventeen-year-old completed two hundred and twenty-three laps over the course of the three-day test.

Granfors currently competes in the GB3 championship, where he sits second, trailing the standings leader Luke Browning by only fifteen and a half points with one race weekend remaining.

This fine form prompted Carlin to give the Swede an opportunity behind the wheel of a Formula 3 car for the first time, alongside the likes of Hunter Yeany and Hadrien David.

On day one of the post-season testing Granfors set the twenty-fourth fastest time in the morning session, before improving his overall finishing position in the afternoon, as he ended the day in eighteenth, finishing above both of his Carlin teammates.

Day two saw a slight improvement in both sessions for the swede as he set a 1:30.795 to finish the morning in nineteenth. The afternoon saw Granfors improve even further as he finished the day in fourteenth, only two positions of teammate Hadrien David in twelfth.

Red Bull Announce Battle Cats Mobile Game Collaboration For Japanese GP

Ahead of next weekend’s first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, Oracle Red Bull Racing have announced that they’ll be collaborating with the developers of the highly-popular mobile-game Battle Cats.

The game, which is developed by PONOS, sees users battle armies of alien cats, in a quest to explore the galaxy and taste victory on every planet that falls in the users way. As part of the unique collab, fans of the game in attendance at Suzuka Circuit, will be able to buy exclusive Red Bull/Battle Cats merchandise. The available merchandise includes, a specially designed uchiwa (a traditional fan) which will feature on it championship leader Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez and Team Principal Christian Horner. The collab will also see a Battle Cats sticker on both of the RB18s.

Horner can’t wait to return to Japan, a race that is very special to the Austrians given their relationship with Honda. The Briton is equally “thrilled” with the upcoming partnership with PONOS.

“It’s a real pleasure to return to Japan to race at Suzuka, one of F1’s truly legendary tracks. Suzuka is home to some of our most devoted and passionate fans and to give them something special to remember this race by we’re thrilled to partner with PONOS, one of Japan’s major mobile game development houses. We’re looking forward to the race and to the enjoyment this partnership will bring to fans in Japan.”

PONOS chief executive officer Yorikatsu Tsujiko, is “so excited” to see Formula 1 finally return to the beautiful country of Japan, and is hoping the collab will “bring smiles” to the players.

Team Australia switches to AWD for Baja 1000

After racing with a two-wheel drive Trophy Truck, Team Australia will shift to all-wheel drive for the 2022 Baja 1000 on 15–20 November. Toby Price recently revealed he and Paul Weel have acquired a Mason Motorsports AWD TT to use at the 1000. The truck will be prepared by TSCO Racing, who helped Price win the Finke Desert Race in 2021 and 2022.

The duo raced a Geiser Brothers 2WD at the Vegas to Reno in August but retired with a broken axle, and rebounded at the Baja 400 in early September by finishing fifth overall.

While Team Australia had a solid performance at the 400, AWD trucks have proven to be more capable than 2WD across multiple disciplines, whether it be the Pro 4 trucks in short course or the fact that Bryce Menzies and Luke McMillin won two legs of the 2022 SCORE International World Desert Championship in AWD. The lone exception was Rob MacCachren winning the Baja 500 in a 2WD, and even he had won the 2021 Baja 1000 in an AWD alongside McMillin.

“It’s the way of the future and to be able to run with the guys at the front in the same equipment should hopefully show soon enough in our results,” said Price. “[With] AWD, you can run a pace of eighty percent but still be doing the pace of a two-wheel drive, which is always a positive for the longevity of the race truck.”

Weel is new to the Baja 1000, while Price has raced sporadically in SCORE events since 2012 including a runner-up finish in 2019 with Nasser Al-Attiyah. Price failed to finish the 2021 1000 in a Trophy Truck Spec.

Haas’ Guenther Steiner –  “We have to find a good balance for the car”

Haas F1 Team are aiming for points in Round Seventeen of the FIA Formula 1 season at the Singapore Grand Prix, which returns for the first time in two years.

Haas failed to yield any points in the European triple-header, despite multiple upgrades to the car that came before the summer break. Part of the team’s issue has been a poor qualifying record, and that problem will have to be rectified as the Saturday qualifying session is a crucial part of the Singapore weekend with it being so hard to overtake.

Haas’ Team Principal Guenther Steiner is hoping the team can turn around this bad run of form as he looks for both his drivers to step up.

Despite no points in the last three races, Steiner is hoping that they have more knowledge of the new package that was fitted to the car before the summer break.

“We tested the upgrade in Hungary and then introduced it to both cars after the summer break. We have no comparison between cars anymore, but we can see the increased downforce, the data matching the wind tunnel data, so that’s a success and that’s what we were after.

Formula 1 Announce Six Sprint Races From 2023 Onwards

Formula 1 have announced that their plans have been approved for an increased number of sprint race rounds during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 season and beyond. These plans will see the number of sprint rounds go from three to six in the coming seasons.

As it has been with the last two seasons, the F1 Sprint will be a 100km dash with no mandatory pit stops with the twenty drivers pushing everything to the finish. The top eight drivers get awarded points, ones that could turn out to be crucial in Championship battles at the top and the bottom. The finishing order of the sprint defines the order for the main race on Sunday, meaning everything is on the line.

A sprint weekend means that only two practice sessions will take place, one on the Friday before the traditional qualifying session and one before the sprint on Saturday. This all points towards more excitement as it gives teams and drivers less time to fine tune their setup.

The sprint format has divided opinion over the last two seasons, with 2022 seeing Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos selected, but there is no denying it creates more action over the course of the weekend.

Credit: LAT Images

Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali praised the sprint events and hopes they will continue to entertain.

Kevin Magnussen Looking Forward To One Of The “best street circuits there is”

We head into Round Seventeen of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship this weekend, as we see the sport return to one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix.

Formula 1 hasn’t raced at the Marina Bay Circuit for two years, and with the slowest average lap speed on the calendar it frequently becomes the longest race of the year. The race tests the drivers’ patience and concentration while track position and tyre preservation are also crucial with it being notoriously difficult to pass around the circuit.

Kevin Magnussen has previously raced six times in Singapore and set the fastest lap in both the 2018 and 2019 races, but he is aiming to score points this year with the Haas F1 Team battling for seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

Magnussen is excited about the return to Singapore despite how physically demanding the race can be.

“I really like Singapore. In general, I really enjoy street tracks and I would say Singapore is one of the best street circuits there is. It’s a very physical race, so it’s always the one that you’re thinking of when you’re struggling in the gym and that gives you motivation to keep pushing on your fitness.

Juan Lopez Marquez passes

Juan López Márquez, motocross rider, died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 33. His family has set up a GoFundMe.

López had competed in various desert championships incuding SCORE International and Best In The Desert. In 2018, he raced for the SCORE Pro Moto Limited World Desert Championship and finished runner-up to Santiago Creel, scoring a runner-up class finish at the San Felipe 250 and fourth in the Baja 1000.

Hailing from San Diego, he worked for Robert’s Auto Service when not racing and has supported his sons’ own racing careers in motocross. He was close with the Socal Off Road Motor Bike Racing Club (SRA GP).

“Our beloved friend/brother passed away suddenly today,” reads the GoFundMe. “Our hearts are aching and we are in disbelief. If you knew him, you knew he was a family guy, very passionate, inspirational, and a hard worker. Overall he was an amazing human being. Impacted people’s lives and was very dedicated. He left us too soon but God needed a rider in heaven. With a heavy heart, we ask for any donations or to please share this. Our sincere condolences to his family, his wife and two boys.”

As of this article’s publishing, 191 have donated to the GoFundMe and raised $16,353 of $20,000.

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Canguro Racing returns to Baja 1000 with Land Cruiser, JAOS alliance

Lexus is Toyota‘s luxury vehicle division, meaning teams fielding either manufacturer might find it wise to join forces when possible. With the SCORE International Baja 1000 two months away, Team JAOS has formed a partnership with Canguro Racing.

JAOS is a Japanese team that primarily competes in the Asia Cross Country Rally but shifted towards American competition in 2021 with Tomonori Noto as driver. Noto previously ran the Baja 1000 in 2015 in Class 7 alongside JAOS racer Ikuo Hanawa but retired.

The outfit will contest the 2022 Baja 1000 with Noto driving a new Lexus LX600; the Lexus LX line previously enjoyed success with Joe Bacal, whose LX570 won the Stock Full class in 2010, 2012, and 2013. JAOS intends to operate on a three-year plan starting with the 2022 1000, where they will gauge their performance before upping their goal to finishing the race in 2023, then going for the win in 2024.

The partnership came about between the two teams with assistance from Sadayoshi Koyari, the lead engineer of the Land Cruiser, and Daijiro Akahoshi, president of JAOS who has served as Noto’s co-driver in AXCR.

“One of the reasons we decided to again race the SCORE International Baja 1000 this fall was the announcement from JAOS Corporation in the spring that they would be racing an LX600 in the Stock Full class,” read a statement from the team. “We love the idea of racing old against new head to head.

William Byron, Ty Gibbs penalised for Texas tangles

William Byron spinning Denny Hamlin under caution during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway has come back to bite him. On Tuesday, NASCAR announced Byron has been fined $50,000 and docked twenty-five points each in the driver and owner standings. Likewise, Ty Gibbs has received a $75,000 fine and twenty-five-point deduction in the owner’s championship for contact with Ty Dillon on pit road during the race. Both violated Sections 4.3.A and 4.4.C of the NASCAR code of conduct.

Byron spun Hamlin on lap 269 shortly after the caution came out for Martin Truex Jr. Although Byron conceded he had hit Hamlin on purpose as retaliation for how Hamlin raced him earlier, he stated he did not intend to take him out entirely. Although Hamlin was able to bounce back and finish tenth, he was critical of Byron’s conduct and NASCAR’s inaction, to which the latter’s Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller admitted had been due to the sanctioning body being too focused on the Truex caution.

“I guess we can just wreck each other under caution,” said Hamlin. “I tried to wreck him back. I don’t think we touched. I got to look. I don’t think we touched. Obviously, he sent us into the infield under caution. […] I keep hearing these guys. I’ll just add it to the list of guys when I get a chance. They’re going to get it.

“It all just works itself out. We’ll be racing each other at some point. He’ll lose a lot of spots because he’s racing me. This is hard racing, obviously. I’m fine with hard racing, but wrecking me under caution is obviously not what we were bargaining for.”

During another caution, Dillon exited his pit stall and nearly collided with Gibbs. As payback, Gibbs slammed into Dillon’s right-side door, shooting him dangerously close to a group of NASCAR officials and pit crew before Dillon was able to slow down and avoid disaster.

XITE Energy Racing brings new look for Nitro RX ERX

To celebrate their parent company’s products beginning sale in the United States, XITE Energy Racing‘s FC1-X cars will sport a new look for Nitro Rallycross‘ first American round of 2022 at ERX Motor Park on 1/2 October. The scheme was designed by Daniel Crossman.

One car will sport the brand’s pink and green colour combination that has been prominent on the team’s vehicles, while the other is purple and yellow. The former represents XITE Energy’s raspberry and watermelon flavour while the latter is peach and passionfruit. The cars also have a white base rather than black like at the European rounds. Said races saw the two cars maintain the pink and green patterns.

The team’s Extreme E arm also raced with a new livery at this past weekend’s Copper X Prix. After primarily using a paint scheme resembling the Nitro Rallycross cars, the new XE look is half-pink, half-green.

While the introduction of the purple/yellow marks a departure from the longstanding pink/green, XITE has experimented with other colour palettes in the past. For example, team owner Oliver Bennett has used blue and white when competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship and purple/pink in British Rallycross.

Bennett will drive one of the two FC1-Xs while Jenson Button makes his Nitro RX début in the other. Button was initially scheduled to run the full season but backed out of the European rounds due to scheduling conflicts with his F1 broadcasting duties, which resulted in Kris Meeke racing the first two races at Lydden Hill and Strängnäs.

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