Antonio Felix Da Costa will join former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi as Red Bull’s reserve drivers’ for the 2014 season, which will see the duo back main drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo for the new season. Both Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa have assumed the role on previous occasions.
After yet another competitive season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Arden Caterham, which consisted of three victories and six podium finishes, Antonio Felix da Costa will officially assume the role of test and reserve driver for the new season alongside Sebastien Buemi. The former Macau Grand Prix winner has completed numerous show car runs for the Milton Keynes-based outfit, including several days of testing in the Young Drivers’ Test throughout the last two years.
Despite his commitments in the Le Mans 24-Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship, Sebastien Buemi will also join the reigning Champions as their test and reserve driver once again alongside Antonio Felix da Costa. With da Costa still a member of Red Bull’s coveted junior programme and Sebastien Buemi a former member prior to his time in Formula 1 with Toro Rosso, this confirmation makes Red Bull’s complete 2014 driver line-up the first to include a full combination of either current or former members.
“It’s great to be able to announce the signing of Sebastien [Buemi] and Antonio [Felix da Costa] for 2014,” enthused Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner. “Next year sees the biggest change to the Formula One regulations for some time and the return of multiple in-season tests. To therefore be able to call on two such capable drivers is of huge benefit to the team. In Sebastien we have a great resource, a driver with extensive Grand Prix experience and that will be invaluable. Antonio, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming talent with whom we already have a good working relationship. I’m sure that his contribution will be just as important during what is sure to be an intensely busy season.”
With the reintroduction of in-season testing once again for next season, both Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa will be keen to assist Red Bull in defending their Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. However, they will both also be keen to continue pursuing their individual careers’, with Buemi undoubtedly set to continue in the FIA World Endurance Series and Antonio Felix da Costs most likely eager to secure a drive in one of the sport’s top feeder categories once again.
Picture Copyright © Daniel Kalisz/GP3 Series Media Service
Nico Hulkenberg has been officially confirmed at Force India for the 2014 season, after the Silverstone-based outfit announced that the German would return on a ‘multi-year’ deal after only one season at Sauber. Despite the 26-year-old’s confirmation, his team-mate at Force India has yet to be announced.
After leaving Force India at the end of the 2012 season for Sauber, many were expecting the German sensation to partner Romain Grosjean at Lotus following Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari. However, after the Enstone-based outfit elected for Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado, Nico Hulkenberg’s options for the new season consisted of either another season at Sauber or a return to Force India. Throughout the 2013 campaign Sauber struggled in comparison to the previous season, with the Swiss outfit unable to return to the podium as Nico Hulkenberg managed to bring home the lion share of the team’s points alongside rookie Esteban Gutierrez.
For the 2014 season Formula 1 will enter a new era of technical regulations, with a new 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine formula being introduced. Although testing with the new engines has not yet begun, Mercedes are hopeful of offering a competitive engine when the new era of Formula 1 dawns in March. Nico Hulkenberg has expressed great delight in making his return to Force India for the new season, with hopes that the new Mercedes engine package will enable the Silverstone-based outfit to enjoy a competitive season.
“I am happy to come back to Sahara Force India,” explained Nico Hulkenberg, who scored 63 points with the outfit in 2012. “The team is aiming high for next year and I believe that the experience I have gained over the years will help us achieve those goals. I genuinely believe we can have a competitive package in 2014. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Mercedes engine as well, so I think there is a lot to be excited about for next year. I know this team and I can see their determination; it’s a great bunch of people and we all share the same hunger for success.”
Whilst the rumour-mill surrounding Nico Hulkenberg’s future endeavours for 2014 will now evaporate, speculations will surely continue with regards to the German’s eventual team-mate for the new season. Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta will unquestionably remain candidates, with the former team-mates enduring a topsy-turvy 2013 season which ultimately ran out of steam after Pirelli made amendments to their tyres. Other likely candidates such as former McLaren driver Sergio Perez could also remain a possibility for the Silverstone-based outfit, as the pieces of the 2014 driver market slowly begin falling into place.
Picture Copyright © Force India F1 Team
Mark Webber has managed to end the third and final practice session fastest at Sao Paulo, despite the treacherously wet weather conditions which continued to plague proceedings. The Australian ace end the session ahead of Romain Grosjean, with the second Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen 3rd.
After a Friday plagued with inclement weather conditions over Sao Paulo’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit, the teams and drivers were once again greeted with heavy rainfall for the third and final practice session prior to the all-important qualifying hour later in the day. With standing water lurking all over the treacherous 4.309km circuit, the majority of the drivers were extremely cautious when they finally took to the track. Despite the weather, Esteban Gutierrez became the first driver to take to the track for Sauber, and was quickly followed by Jules Bianchi and Pastor Maldonado.
Whilst the majority of the field elected to only carry out installation laps as the session swung into motion, Esteban Gutierrez proceeded to splash around the circuit with a seven lap stint in his Ferrari-powered Sauber. The Mexican rookie initially produced a 01:34.837, before eventually working his way down to a 01:34.129. With the track conditions failing to improve as the session continued, only the odd installation lap occurred up and down the order as the majority of the drivers unsurprisingly elected to remain in the safe and dry confines of the pit-lane.
As the halfway stage of the third and final practice session occurred, Max Chilton eventually became the second driver to produce a timed lap behind Esteban Gutierrez. Meanwhile team-mate Jules Bianchi managed to storm to the top of the timing sheets with a 01:33.412, as more drivers eventually began to brave the Brazilian elements. Williams ace Valtteri Bottas was the next driver to rise to the top, after producing a 01:32.772. The Finnish rookie momentarily managed to improve a lap later, before World Champion Sebastian Vettel asserted his authority over proceedings with a 01:31.857.
With only several minutes remaining in the session, the rain eventually began to subside allowing as the track action intensified around the legendary circuit. Esteban Gutierrez managed to return to the top for Sauber with a 01:31.121, before Lewis Hamilton thwarted the Mexican rookie with an even quicker 01:29.980. Although the conditions were visibly improving around the track, both Marussia drivers’ of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi still managed to run slightly wide at various points of the circuit. Meanwhile Mark Webber managed to catapult himself to the top with a stunning 01:27.891, with the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado slotting into 2nd and 3rd behind the experienced Australian driver.
Due to the slightly improved weather conditions, many drivers began switching to Pirelli’s intermediate tyres during the closing minutes including Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez. The former managed to propel himself up into 2nd position behind Mark Webber, with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen slotting into 3rd position for Lotus. Despite the majority of the field electing to run the final few minutes on the intermediate tyres, Mark Webber’s benchmark remained unchallenged as the checkered flag emerged signaling the end of the session.
With the rain forecast to remain a strong threat for the remainder of the day, the all-important qualifying hour could well include several surprises as the drivers battle against the elements in their quest for pole. Can Sebastian Vettel remain dominant in the rain, or can Mark Webber end his career with yet another pole?
Picture Copyright © Pirelli
Nico Rosberg has remained on top after another wet practice session around Sao Paulo’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit, with the German ending the 90 minutes of track action ahead of the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Heikki Kovalainen managed to finish 4th, ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The teams and drivers were greeted with further rain for the second practice session in the afternoon, after a wet start to the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. This led to a slow start to proceedings around Sao Paulo’s Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, as the majority of the teams elected to remain in the safe and dry confines of the pit-lane. After ceding driver duties to their respective team-mates, the second practice session marked the return of Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Chilton.
Despite the increasingly wet weather conditions, Max Chilton became the first driver to take to the track for Marussia early on. The British rookie tiptoed around the circuit, before returning to the pits after only one installation lap. As one driver returned to the pits, another exited the pits in the form of Heikki Kovalainen. Unlike Max Chilton, the Finn elected to carry out a five lap stint which saw him produce the first timed lap of the session with a 01:31.658. The Lotus driver managed to improve upon his time on several occasions, eventually working his way down to a 01:30.537 as Jules Bianchi joined him out on track.
Mark Webber soon joined the track action in his Red Bull RB9, initially posting the 2nd fastest time before bettering Heikki Kovalainen’s time to rise to the top with a 01:29.088. Although the rain failed to ease off, many other drivers soon took to the track including the two Caterhams, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. Charles Pic ran slightly wide at Turn 5, before Nico Rosberg stormed to the top for Mercedes with a 01:28.873. The German soon returned to the pits after rising to the top, with Romain Grosjean slotting into 3rd position for Lotus.
As the second practice session progressed, Fernando Alonso joined the track action on the intermediate tyre. The Spaniard could only manage 10th fastest on his first run, before then catapulting himself further up the order to 3rd fastest a little later. Many drivers soon began joining the former World Champion on the intermediate tyres, including the likes of Mark Webber and Felipe Massa. As Sebastian Vettel finally took to the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace sporting Pirelli’s intermediate tyres, team-mate Mark Webber was once again struck by a KERS failure on his RB9.
Although the conditions seemed to be gradually improving, Charles Pic managed to run wide at Turn 1 as the majority of the field continued switching to Pirelli’s intermediate tyre. Sebastian Vettel’s first timed lap of the session saw him slot into 5th position, before improving a lap later to go 2nd fastest with a 01:28.939 behind fellow countryman Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes ace improved at the top with a 01:28.693, before Sebastian Vettel obliterated the opposition with a scintillating 01:27.993 in the tricky weather conditions.
Whilst the entire field, except the Marussia duo, circulated the short Brazilian circuit, Lewis Hamilton perilously spun on the exit of Turn 5. The 2008 World Champion was lucky avoid colliding with the barriers, as he continued to circulate before slotting into 3rd position behind his team-mate and Sebastian Vettel. The German Champion continued to assert his authority at the top as the session entered its closing stages, with the German producing a 01:27.531.
With the track conditions continuing to improve throughout the final minutes, the times up and down the order began to tumble as Jean-Eric Vergne popped up into 3rd position in his Toro Rosso. Mark Webber soon demoted the Frenchman as he slotted into 2nd position behind his Red Bull team-mate, as Pastor Maldonado spun at Turn 1. The departing Williams driver managed to continue circulating, as Nico Rosberg thwarted the Red Bulls with an impressive 01:27.306. The checkered flag was eventually revealed signaling the end of the second practice session, with Nico Rosberg once again fastest at the top ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
After a wet day of track action around the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, the teams and drivers will be hoping for a much dryer third and final practice session tomorrow before the all-important qualifying hour. However, the rain has been forecast to remain a threat over the legendary circuit, which could well spice up the action when the battle for the final pole position of the season is commenced.
Picture Copyright © Mercedes AMG Petronas
Colombian driver Carlos Munoz has secured a full-time drive with Andretti Autosport for the 2014 IndyCar Series season, which will begin in late March around the streets of St. Petersburg. The 21-year-old driver made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the year, qualifying and finishing an impressive 2nd for Andretti Autosport.
Since making his debut in the Firestone Indy Lights support series, Carlos Munoz has impressed many within the IndyCar paddock. This allowed the Colombian ace to make his IndyCar debut at the legendary Indianapolis 500 in a fifth Andretti Autosport entry, where he stunned the opposition and the entire motor sport community by qualifying 2nd alongside former Series Champion Tony Kanaan. Carlos Munoz managed to lead 12 laps throughout the race, before eventually finishing a strong 2nd only just behind Tony Kanaan.
Along with another competitive season in the Firestone Indy Lights category, Carlos Munoz returned for two more races towards the end of the IndyCar season at Toronto and Fontana for Panther Racing and the Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM outfit respectively. Although the Bogota-born sensation failed to repeat his successes of the Indianapolis 500, his four victories in the Firestone Indy Lights Series at both Barber, Long Beach, Pocono and Fontana was a clear indication of his aptitude on both ovals and circuits.
“I don’t have the words to express right now how I feel.” Explained Carlos Munoz, who becomes the fourth driver from Colombia to compete in IndyCar. “I have to thank Andretti Autosport, and especially Michael Andretti, for this opportunity. To be a part of this team, they believe a lot in me, and to pay them back would be to bring them great results. With that, I have to work hard in all aspects – mentally and physically. I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to start practicing and testing. I also have to thank my family for all of their support all these years. Finally my dream has come true. Also to my fans for being here and believing in me; this is just the beginning.”
Carlos Munoz will join former IndyCar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti at the outfit, which will boast four full-time drivers for the first time since 2011. Sponsorship for Carlos Munoz’s entry has yet to be confirmed, with the Colombian being sponsored by Electric Energy Straws and Dialy-Ser at the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the year. Carlos Munoz will undoubtedly be aiming for success once the season gets underway, with Andretti Autosport eager to snatch the Championship crown from Target Chip Ganassi and Scott Dixon.
Picture Copyright © Chris Owens/IndyCar Media
Sebastian Vettel has made Formula 1 history in Texas with his eighth successive race victory, surpassing the legends of Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari. The German sensation was joined on the podium by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who only just managed to finish ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
At the start Sebastian Vettel was able to glide unchallenged into the lead of the race, whereas behind him his team-mate Mark Webber was pounced upon by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. As the field negotiated the opening corners of the race, Adrian Sutil made contact with the Williams of Pastor Maldonado along the straight betweens Turn 11 and 12. This contact saw the German spear into the retaining barrier, destroying the front of his Force India and bringing out the safety car for good measure.
Luckily Adrian Sutil was unscathed after his race-ending incident, as the Austin marshals began clearing his stricken Force India. After only several laps behind the safety car, the race was resumed which allowed Sebastian Vettel to romp away into the distance with Romain Grosjean 2nd behind the World Champion. Further down the order Max Chilton served his drive-thru penalty, which the British rookie was issued with after several blocking misdemeanors during qualifying. After being forced to pit during the earlier safety car period, the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez soon began clawing his way back through the order with the Mexican rookie running 17th by Lap 7.
After being involved in the first lap incident with Adrian Sutil, Pastor Maldonado’s race weekend failed to improve as the departing Venezuelan was shown the black and orange flag due to severe damage to his front-wing. The Williams driver was quick to adhere to the race stewards, as he returned to the pits for a new front-wing which dropped him to last position. With Sebastian Vettel clearly in a league of his own at the front, all eyes were on the battle for 3rd between Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, with the 2008 World Champion beginning to come under severe pressure from the soon-to-retire Australian ace. On Lap 14, Webber shot around the outside of Lewis Hamilton at Turn 12, making the sensational move stick.
Whilst Lewis Hamilton vented his frustrations via the team radio, Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas began reeling in the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in his quest for his maiden points in Formula 1. Meanwhile Heikki Kovalainen performed the first scheduled pit-stop of the race on Lap 17, with the Finn switching to the harder tyre compound with ambitions of leapfrogging the field later on. After enduring a torrid qualifying performance for Mercedes, Nico Rosberg found himself in a battle for 10th with the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 19. The German eventually stormed up the inside of the future Red Bull driver at Turn 12, as Jenson Button became the latest driver to make a pit-stop from 13th.
In an bid to remain ahead of the McLaren driver, Felipe Massa reacted to Jenson Button’s pit-stop by pitting a lap later. This enabled the Brazilian driver to just remain ahead of his British rival, as many other drivers made their first scheduled pit-stops including Nico Rosberg, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo. Valtteri Bottas also made his one and only stop on Lap 23, with the Finn rejoining the action in 10th position as he kept his sights firmly placed on his maiden points.
As Sebastian Vettel continued to control proceedings at the front with a lead of over six seconds to Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton made his first stop as Esteban Gutierrez stormed up into 7th position at Turn 12 after perfecting an overtaking maneuver on Jean-Eric Vergne. The Frenchman soon found himself under the pressure of another Mexican driver during the next lap, as Sergio Perez swept around his Toro Rosso and into 8th position. Meanwhile race leader Sebastian Vettel made his stop on Lap 28 along with Nico Hulkenberg, which in turn allowed Romain Grosjean to assume the lead of the race in his Lotus ahead of Mark Webber. The Frenchman’s lead at the front was short-lived, as he pitted on Lap 30 and therefore allowed Sebastian Vettel the luxury of resuming his lead at the front.
After enjoying a relatively competitive return to Formula 1, Heikki Kovalainen struggled during the 56-lap race. The Finn endured a highly uncompetitive start, before dropping through the order shortly after his first pit-stop as the likes of Paul di Resta and then Nico Rosberg muscled their way around the Lotus driver. On Lap 32 Kovalainen returned to the pits for a second pit-stop, changing his front-wing in the process which dropped him way down to 17th position. After overtaking the Finn earlier in the race, Nico Rosberg and Paul di Resta began jostling for 10th position, with the German eventually making the move stick through Turn 12.
As the race entered its closing stages, Mark Webber began producing successive fastest laps in a bid to catch Romain Grosjean for 2nd position. After momentarily dropping back in a bid to extend the life of his tyres, the Australian ace soon pounced back by adding further pressure onto the rear of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus. With tyre wear once again the talking point up and down the paddock, Felipe Massa and Ferrari threw caution to the wind by pitting on Lap 39 for the medium tyre compound in a bid to rise through the order in what was becoming a frustratingly uncompetitive race for the Brazilian.
Paul di Resta also elected to make a second stop for the medium tyre compound, after the Scotsman lost another position to the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo. Further up the order Fernando Alonso perfected an overtaking maneuver on Nico Hulkenberg for 5th, as Heikki Kovalainen’s return to racing was dealt with yet another blow as a KERS issue materialized on his Lotus. Charles Pic was struck with a drive-thru penalty during the closing stages of the race, after the Frenchman failed to adhere to numerous blue flags as Lewis Hamilton tried desperately to lap him with Fernando Alonso quickly reeling in his former McLaren team-mate.
Despite the threat of tyre wear once again hanging over the teams and drivers like a black cloud, Sebastian Vettel was able to cross the line once again to secure yet another unchallenged victory for Red Bull. The German was followed by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who was able to defend from Mark Webber to retain his 2nd position. On the final lap Esteban Gutierrez and Jean-Eric Vergne made contact, which tipped the Mexican into a spin. Although he was able to make it to the finish despite his altercation with Jean-Eric Vergne, the race stewards confirmed they would investigate the issue after the race.
With only one race remaining this season, Sebastian Vettel is remaining to look almost unbeatable at the front. The German could well make it nine in a row next weekend at Sao Paulo, when the 2013 Formula 1 season is finally brought to a conclusion around the iconic Interlagos circuit.
Picture Copyright © Pirelli
Sebastian Vettel has powered back to the top in second practice ahead of the United States Grand Prix, ahead of team-mate Mark Webber around Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. The Red Bull duo were followed by the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in 3rd and 4th, with Heikki Kovalainen 5th for Lotus.
After a slightly bizarre opening practice session for the United States Grand Prix weekend, the Formula 1 drivers were understandably eager to return to the Circuit of Americas for the second practice session. After ceding driving duties to their respective team-mates’, Jean-Eric Vergne, Giedo van der Garde and Jules Bianchi returned behind the wheel for the second session. After a delayed start to the morning period, the afternoon session began with a flurry of track activity as Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Hulkenberg became the first drivers to exit the pit-lane.
This unsurprisingly saw Heikki Kovalainen produce the first timed lap of the session in his Lotus with a 01:40.335, as Jules Bianchi ran wide in his Marussia as he made his first endeavor around the Circuit of the Americas. Jenson Button soon rose to the top for McLaren with a 01:39.786, before Romain Grosjean continued to lower the benchmark during the early stages of the session with an even quicker 01:39.159. Heikki Kovalainen proceeded to slot into 2nd position behind his team-mate, to momentarily create a Lotus 1-2.
With the extensive delay to the opening practice session earlier in the morning, there was an instant rush of track action during the opening few minutes of the second session. Nico Rosberg was quick to thwart the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, before World Champion Sebastian Vettel asserted his authority over proceedings with a 01:38.352 in his Red Bull. Jenson Button momentarily managed to slot into 2nd position, before Mark Webber did likewise with a 01:38.660 with Lewis Hamilton a close 3rd for Mercedes.
As the many drivers continued lapping the Circuit of the Americas in preparation for the remainder of the weekend, many drivers were seen running extensively wide at Turn 19 including the likes of Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean and Felipe Massa. The penultimate corner proved troublesome during the three practice sessions last season, when the sport first visited the Circuit of the Americas. As the session progressed many drivers began opting for Pirelli’s medium tyre compound, which saw the times begin to tumble once again as the likes of Nico Hulkenberg improved with the German slotting into 2nd position behind his fellow countryman.
Once again Nico Rosberg momentarily returned to the top for Mercedes on the softer tyre compound, before Mark Webber produced an even quicker lap time with a 01:37.420 to rise to the top for Red Bull. In traditional fashion the majority of the order soon began completing long timed runs as the session progressed, in a bid to continue preparing for Sunday’s 56-lap race. Despite the switch in focus for many of the teams, Sebastian Vettel soon catapulted himself back to the top with a 01:37.305 as he too opted for Pirelli’s medium tyre compound.
Despite acting as Caterham’s reserve driver for the majority of the season, Heikki Kovalainen wasted no time in returning to his former competitiveness behind the wheel of the Renault-powered Lotus E21. The Finn, who will compete in the final two races in place of Kimi Raikkonen, managed to remain ahead of team-mate Romain Grosjean by several tenths in 5th position behind the Red Bull and Mercedes’ duo.
During the final minutes of the second practice session, Max Chilton spun out at Turn 20 in what was a tough two sessions for Marussia. The Briton, who has so far finished every race this season, was heard explaining of brake failure over the team radio. As the classification remained relatively unchanged during the dying minutes, the Austin marshals endured an amusing ordeal trying to retrieve the Briton’s Marussia as the tractor struggled to carry out the task.
Eventually the checkered flag was unfurled signaling the end second practice session, with World Champion Sebastian Vettel fastest ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton was 4th fastest for the German marque, with Heikki Kovalainen an impressive 5th for Lotus. The numerous teams will undoubtedly continue crunching the numbers throughout the night, with only one more hour of track action available before the all-important qualifying hour.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m37.305s 35 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m37.420s +0.115s 37 3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.785s +0.480s 38 4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.958s +0.653s 38 5. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m38.073s +0.768s 41 6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.229s +0.924s 40 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.254s +0.949s 40 8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m38.255s +0.950s 33 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.269s +0.964s 34 10. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.461s +1.156s 33 11. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m38.719s +1.414s 31 12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m38.938s +1.633s 37 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m38.941s +1.636s 31 14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.246s +1.941s 28 15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m39.410s +2.105s 34 16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m39.512s +2.207s 37 17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.579s +2.274s 36 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m39.784s +2.479s 33 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m40.376s +3.071s 39 20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m40.563s +3.258s 35 21. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m46.226s +8.921s 31 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m47.009s +9.704s 20
Picture Copyright © Pirelli
Dario Franchitti has officially announced his retirement from motor racing on medical terms after injuries sustained during the second race of the Grand Prix of Houston, which saw the multiple IndyCar Champion collide violently with Takuma Sato and fly into the retaining catch-fencing.
The resulting incident saw Dario Franchitti sustain spinal injuries and concussion, including fractures to his ankle. Although the Scotsman was released from a nearby hospital in Houston only four days after the incident, the 40-year-old has been forced to retire from motor racing after advice from doctors over his long-term recovery. For the 2014 season Dario Franchitti was once again expected to join long-time team-mate and reigning IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon at Target Chip Ganassi for what would’ve been his 12th season in the IndyCar Series, with clear ambitions on hunting down his fifth Championship Crown and fourth Indy 500 trophy.
Although Dario Franchitti has admitted he will find it tough not to compete in motor racing again, he has explained he had no choice but to retire from the sport. Throughout his long and colorful career in American open-wheel racing, Dario Franchitti has managed to enjoy incredible success, including three Indianapolis 500 victories and four IndyCar Series Championship Crowns with both Andretti Green Racing and later Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The Edinburgh-born driver has thanked many for his support throughout his motor racing career in America, which began back in 1997 with Hogan Racing in the now defunct ChampCar Series.
“Since my racing accident in Houston, I have been in the expert care of some of the leading doctors and nurses, all of whom have made my health, my safety and my recovery their top priority.” Explained Dario Franchitti, in an official statement. “One month removed from the crash and based upon the expert advice of the doctors who have treated and assessed my head and spinal injuries post accident, it is their best medical opinion that I must stop racing. They have made it very clear that the risks involved in further racing are too great and could be detrimental to my long term well-being. Based on this medical advice, I have no choice but to stop.
“Racing has been my life for over 30 years and it’s really tough to think that the driving side is now over. I was really looking forward to the 2014 season with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, with a goal of winning a fourth Indianapolis 500 and a fifth IndyCar Series Championship. I’d like to thank all my fellow competitors, team-mates, crew and sponsors for their incredible support over the course of this amazing ride. I’d also like to thank Hogan Racing, Team KOOL Green and Andretti Green Racing for the opportunities to compete on the racetrack, and especially Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who have become like a family to me since I joined their team back in 2008. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all my fans around the world. I can’t thank you enough for standing by my side for all these years.”
Despite his retirement from motor racing, Dario Franchitti is intending to remain a part of the IndyCar Series in an off-track role. Due to his long-term relationship with Chip Ganassi and his highly successful IndyCar outfit, the Scotsman is hoping to continue working within the team as they strive to defend their Championship Crown next season from the likes of Penske and Andretti Autosport.
Picture(s) Copyright © Shawn Gritzmacher/IndyCar Media & LAT Photo USA