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Pirelli’s Mario Isola: “It’s clear to see how the new car and tyre package is so far delivering”

Mario Isola said the hard tyre was the key compound for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the minimal degradation giving drivers confidence to attack throughout the race.

Both eventual race winner Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing) and his main rival Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari) opted to start the race on the medium tyre and fought hard until the end for the victory, while third placed Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) also opted for the same strategy.

The only drivers to differ on strategy were Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton, and Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Nico Hülkenberg, who all opted to start on the hard compound before switching to the mediums late on.

Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, was delighted to see the new aero and tyre regulations working well, enabling drivers to follow others closely, and they contributed to an ‘exciting race from start to finish’.

“Another good night, another good race!” said Isola.  “Once more, in conditions that were completely different from Bahrain in terms of track layout and characteristics, we saw the latest cars able to follow and pass each other with some great on-track battles: which is down to the new tyres as well.

Williams’ Dave Robson: “A very frustrating end to three weeks away from home”

Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams Racing, admits the opening two races of the 2022 Formula 1 season have been frustrating for the team.

Neither Alexander Albon nor Nicholas Latifi saw the chequered flag in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the former retiring late on with a puncture after contact with Lance Stroll, while the latter crashed out early on after hitting the wall at the final turn.

Williams remain pointless after the races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, one of only two teams not to break into the top ten so far in 2022, although Robson felt Albon could have been a contender for the points had he cleanly passed Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver Stroll.

“A very frustrating end to three weeks away from home for the team,” said Robson.  “We completed a one-stop race with Alex using the preferred hard tyre for most of the race.

“Alex did well to manage his tyres during a long stint and through several safety car periods. There was a lot of attrition at this event, which we were expecting, and Alex was nearly able to benefit.

Albon on Stroll Contact: “The points were almost there, and we had to go for it”

Alexander Albon felt he had a ‘pretty quick’ car towards the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but the Williams Racing driver was unable to convert that into points as he ended the day in retirement after contact with Lance Stroll as the duo battled over eleventh place.

Albon made a move on the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team driver into turn one late in the day but only ended up hitting the side of Stroll’s car, with both drivers spinning as a result of the contact.

Unfortunately for Albon, the damage caused by the crash meant he was forced to pull over into the run off a little further around the lap to retire, with the stewards handing him a three-place grid penalty for the Australian Grand Prix as they felt he was to blame for the incident.

Despite the disappointing end to the race, Albon believes Williams do have a ‘decent car’ when they are able to get it into the right window, and it will be up to them to find that window early every weekend if they are to become genuine top ten contenders.

“We were trying to fight our way into the points at the end and I went for the move with Lance,” reflected Albon.  “He made a strong defence and unfortunately, we made contact. We had to retire due to the puncture, but the points were almost there, and we had to go for it.

Aston Martin’s Mike Krack: “We will work hard to improve our car for the Australian Grand Prix”

Mike Krack, the Team Principal of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, admitted it was disappointing for the team not to score points during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but they will head home to their Silverstone base with the aim of improving the AMR22 before the Australian Grand Prix.

Nico Hülkenberg was the best placed of the two drivers at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit despite being compromised by the timing of the safety car, the German ending twelfth as he stepped into Sebastian Vettel’s seat for a second consecutive weekend.

Lance Stroll ended the day thirteenth after losing time and two positions after contact with Williams Racing’s Alexander Albon, the contact causing minor damage.

Aston Martin remain as one of just two teams – along with Williams – not yet to have scored points in 2022, but Krack says the team will be doing everything they can to improve the car and give their drivers the chance of breaking into the top ten ahead of the third round of the season in Australia.

“We decided to split our tyre strategy today – Lance started on Mediums, Nico on Hards – and the Safety Car that was deployed as a result of [Nicholas] Latifi’s lap-sixteen accident at Turn twenty-seven disadvantaged those who had started on Hards,” said Krack.

Nico Hülkenberg: “We gave it everything out there, but points were out of reach”

After once again stepping into the seat in place of Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hülkenberg finished the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in twelfth place, but he rued the timing of the safety car that all but ended his chances of a top ten finish.

Vettel remained absent at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after failing to show a negative COVID-19 test following his positive tests prior to the Bahrain Grand Prix, and Hülkenberg once again stepped into the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team in place of his countryman.

Having started down in seventeenth, Hülkenberg was one of three drivers to start on the hard Pirelli tyre compound, and when the safety car came out, he did not pit as it would have been too early for him to switch to the mediums to be able to reach the end without stopping again.

This meant he was on the back foot at the restart as he was forced to defend from drivers who had started on the medium compound and switched to the hard compound, and ultimately, he was left down outside the points in twelfth at the chequered flag despite staying out of trouble in a car he has little experience in.

“It was a demanding race, but I am happy with my performance considering my limited experience with the car,” said Hülkenberg.  “We put together a clean race, but unfortunately the events and opportunities did not really go our way.

Alfa Romeo’s Frédéric Vasseur: “We were on course to have two cars in the points again”

Frédéric Vasseur admits it was disappointing for the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN to leave Saudi Arabia empty handed after showing strong pace throughout the weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Valtteri Bottas was fighting for a top six position before an engine issue sent him into the pits to retire, while two penalties for Zhou Guanyu – the second no fault of his own – left him outside the top ten.

After a double-points finish during the opening weekend in Bahrain, it was looking as though the positive start to the year would continue in Saudi Arabia for the Hinwil-based team, but it was not to be, much to the disappointment of Team Principal Vasseur.

“It’s a disappointing end to an evening in which we showed so much pace,” said Vasseur.  

“We were on course to have two cars in the points again, but luck was not on our side tonight and we leave with nothing: Valtteri was stopped by a cooling issue when he was fighting for P6, while Zhou, who was recovering from the bottom after his car went into anti-stall after a contact with [Daniel] Ricciardo in turn two, would have been in the top ten if not for the drive-through penalty he was given.”

Zhou Guanyu: “The drive-through put us far at the back and that was it”

Zhou Guanyu believes he was on course for a second consecutive top ten finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Chinese driver was denied after he was twice penalised during the race that left him frustratingly outside the points in eleventh.

Zhou was initially handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage as he battled Williams Racing’s Alexander Albon, which he served during his pit stop.

However, one of Zhou’s Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN mechanics touched the car during that five second period, resulting in an additional drive-through penalty for the driver, putting him down the order and just out of contention for the top ten despite showing good pace throughout the race.

“I want to think this was a good experience in terms of getting more confidence with street circuits in Formula 1,” said Zhou.  “It was useful, but overall the race was definitely far from ideal: we had the anti-stall kicking in at turn one, even though I had a much better start than in Bahrain, so we will need to understand what happened.

“I had made a good recovery from P18 and we were looking strong to bring home some points again, but the drive-through put us far at the back and that was it.

Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand to Provide 18 Cars for Two W Series Races

Toyota Gazoo Racing New Zealand have confirmed that they will share their FT60 race cars with W Series in the upcoming season. The junior formula categories will work together in getting 18 Toyota Racing Series cars to two of W Series’ FIA Formula 1 World Championshp supported Grand Prix weekends.

They will do this across two continents at the Circuit de Barcelona in Spain and the Suzuka Cicuit in Japan, to support the championship’s aim of sustainable racing.

During the Spanish and Japanese Grand Prix weekends, W Series will swap its F3 T318 chassis for FT60 cars, allowing more of W Series’ freight to be transported via sea during the 2022 season.

Toyota Gazoo Racing and W Series use the same Tatuus chassis, however the female single-seater championship uses an Autotecnica Motori engine whereas the New Zealand cars are powered by a Toyota engine. The 17 confirmed W Series racers will drive with the Toyota engine in Spain and Japan.

The FT60s will then be returned in November to be used for the open seater Castrol Toyota Racing season in 2023.

W Series Announce 10 Races for the 2022 Season Calendar

All-female driver championship W Series, had announced an update to its third season’s race calendar, adding an extra 2 events. With the sport now hosting 10 races, 2022 will see the most rounds that W Series has staged in a season.

Season three gets underway next month with a doubleheader in Miami, at the Miami International Autodrome. The 10 races will support the FIA Formula 1 World Championship at eight Grand Prix weekends, visiting three continents throughout 2022.

The series will start the season with a doubleheader and end the season with two races in Mexico City, Mexico, where the 2022 W Series World Champion will be crowned at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez racetrack.

The championship has had a history of success hosting double-headers as 2021’s two races at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin saw over 400,000 supporters witness reigning champion Jamie Chadwick defend her title.

Dave Ryan, W Series’ Racing Director said, “We’ve had two productive pre-season tests, the drivers are ready to hit the ground running, and it’s full steam ahead to Miami.“

Many get stuck, Menzies gets pole for San Felipe 250

Qualifying in racing means one has to be quicker than quicksand, though the latter might have been taken too literally in San Felipe. Friday’s qualifying for the SCORE International San Felipe 250 was plagued by multiple drivers’ cars being stuck in a particularly fine silt that covered a section of the course; such a predicament was especially concerning for two-wheel drive vehicles that could not pull themselves out, leading to delays as crews worked to extract them.

SCORE eventually tweaked the track to bypass the hazard, and by the end of the session, defending race winner Bryze Menzies was the fastest of seventy-five.

Menzies’ Trophy Truck had a lead of nearly five minutes over second-placed Justin Lofton. He won the 2021 edition to begin that year’s SCORE World Desert Challenge on a strong note, and also won the Baja 400 before finishing eighth overall in the WDC and TT classes. Lofton, who edged out the McMillin family for second, hopes to rebound from 2021’s race where he finished fortieth.

“Stoked that the work we’ve been putting in is starting to convey results,” Lofton wrote on Instagram; he was on the pole for the Mint 400 two weeks ago. Kyle Jergensen, who won the Mint, was seventh.

Rob MacCachren, the defending Trophy Truck champion and Baja 1000 winner, was one of the soft surface’s victims when his practice lap abruptly ended with his truck digging into the sand. The incident came moments after he had encountered Steve Strobel‘s Trophy Truck also embedded into the ground, and resulted in a lengthy delay to allow workers to pull them out. MacCachren qualified sixteenth overall and twelfth in his class.

Kyle Weatherman tabbed by Iwuji for Richmond

Jesse Iwuji has given Kyle Weatherman the keys to his #34 Chevrolet Camaro SS. On Thursday, his Jesse Iwuji Motorsports team announced Weatherman would take over the car for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway.

“Being a driver and owner comes with an option each weekend to be either a driver or owner,” began the team’s statement. “This weekend Jesse decided to build upon the opportunity generating system the Jesse Iwuji Motorsports ownership group has set out to develop by providing an opportunity for an additional driver to drive the #34 eRacing Association Chevrolet Camaro SS. On behalf of the entire ownership group at Jesse Iwuji Motorsports, we are excited to announce that we are giving this weekend’s opportunity to Kyle Weatherman at Richmond Raceway this Saturday, April 2.

“The fit was natural as Kyle loves to support our armed forces and law enforcement – having family members himself that have served. Kyle also has a great pedigree behind the wheel and tracks like Richmond suit his style.

“All of our brand partners supporting Jesse Iwuji Motorsports understand that this team represents so much to so many because great people uniting together can only strive to do great things. Diversity and inclusion is about bringing together all walks of life from all backgrounds, religions, cultures, races, and creeds – so we can become all that we were meant to be.

“As the back of our team uniforms says, One Team One Fight… or as Jesse says, United We Rise, but Divided We Fall, this team is here to fight and help inspire everyone’s best. Jesse Iwuji Motorsports is a team that plans to be involved in motorsports for a very long time. The time is now to make an impact on people’s lives and our mission.

Sebastian Vettel confirmed to race at Australian Grand Prix

Four-time Formula 1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, having missed the first two races of the due to a positive COVID-19 test. Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team called upon Nico Hulkenberg to fill in for the German while he was recovering, though the British-racing green team have been unable to score points in the opening rounds.

In a statement by Aston Martin, the #5 driver has tested negative for COVID-19, and will be able to compete in the upcoming Australian Grand Prix weekend from 8-10 April 2022.

In the statement, the British team claims they are “pleased” with the return of Sebastian Vettel:

“TEAM UPDATE: We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside [Lance Stroll] in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 [Formula 1] season at the [Australian Grand Prix].”

Sebastian Vettel will be hoping to make up for lost time in the upcoming weekend, as well as score Aston Martin’s first points of the season.

Buddy Kofoid making Truck debut at Bristol Dirt for KBM

Kyle Busch Motorsports‘ multi-driver #51 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will have a dirt ace as its pilot for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series‘ dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway on 16 April. On Thursday, the team announced Michael “Buddy” Kofoid will drive the #51 in his maiden NASCAR start.

2021 saw Kofoid win the United States Auto Club (USAC) quarter midget national championship through a six-win campaign, as well as winning the USAC Indiana Midget Week. Other race victories came in the Lucas Oil POWRi National Midget Series and the Wild Wing Shootout. A member of Toyota Racing, he also ran ten late mode races which included finishing third in the prestigious All American 400‘s Pro Late Model division.

Four rounds into the 2022 USAC national midget season, he sits second in points. In January, Kofoid won a qualifying race in the legendary Chili Bowl Nationals after holding off dirt star and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson, and he went on to finish fourth in the A Main. The run was his third in the Chili Bowl and his best performance after falling short of the A Main in 2020 and 2021.

“Getting the opportunity to race the best equipment in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a huge step in my career and I can’t thank Kyle Busch Motorsports, (sponsor) Mobil 1 and Toyota enough for giving me this chance,” commented Kofoid. “To be making my Truck Series début in such a unique event at an iconic venue like Bristol Motor Speedway is going to be really cool.”

Kofoid’s truck has the chassis (KBM-12) that Martin Truex Jr. drove to victory in the inaugural Bristol Dirt Truck race last year. KBM also has two wins in the dirt at Eldora Speedway courtesy of Bubba Wallace (2014) and Christopher Bell (2015).

Formula 1 Reveals Las Vegas Grand Prix – Starting in 2023

The FIA Formula 1 World Championship has revealed the newest circuit that is due to appear on the season calendar, this time being held in the streets of Las Vegas. Formula 1 has been racing at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for over ten years now, and will see the first ever Miami Grand Prix held this year; but the latest addition to the calendar sees the sport continue to grow in the US.

The event will take place on a Saturday night (local time) in November “on the famous Las Vegas Strip with the track sweeping past some of the world’s most legendary landmarks, hotels and casinos.”

Formula 1 also claims that the circuit will feature fourteen corners, including a chicane and some high-speed corners. The track is 3.8 miles in length, as it travels around the streets of Las Vegas, and can see drivers reaching top speeds of over 212 miles per hour. The Saturday-night event will be 50 laps in length.

Stefano Domenicali – “This is an incredible moment for Formula 1”

CEO and president of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali, said that a third US Grand Prix proves the amount of growth the sport has seen in recent years.

“This is an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US. Las Vegas is a destination known around the world for its excitement, hospitality, thrills, and of course, the famous Strip.”

GALLERY: 2022 Porsche GB Motorsport media day

Stacy Guiney of Suberashi Auto Photo headed along to the Porsche GB Motorsport media day this week to capture a selection of images for The Checkered Flag, of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB and Porsche Sprint Challenge GB contenders ahead of the 2022 season.

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