Rain washes out MotoGP qualifying in Qatar Saturday (Update)
Rain washes out qualifying
UPDATE After overnight rain, a storm and too much standing water on track at Losail International Circuit, the original timetable for Saturday at the #QatarGP saw some adjustments before the decision was taken by Race Direction to cancel track action for the day.
Track conditions were deemed too dangerous to enable riders to get out on track – and with little chance of improvement as rain and lightning began again.
So it’s combined times after the end of FP3 that will decide the grid ahead of Sunday.
Johnson comments on his practice crash (2nd Update) UPDATE Added video interview at bottom.
Due to the incident in the first practice session, the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS team will not participate in qualifying today.
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS:
“Unfortunately, we crashed the Lowe’s Chevrolet in practice today. We crashed on our third run and had to pull out the backup car and didn’t get back out on the track. I just felt it was wiser to get the car prepared correctly rather than qualify poorly. I wasn’t comfortable putting Jimmie in a position where he would have to hustle a car that he hasn’t turned a lap in yet.
Video: He Shoots, He Scores! Valtteri on Ice in Melbourne Valtteri Bottas hits the rink in preparation for the 2017 Australian Grand Prix! How else would you get in the zone for F1 action in sunny Melbourne? Comment
Video: Exploring Melbourne with Lewis Hamilton What does a Saturday morning in Melbourne look like for Lewis Hamilton? We rode along with the man himself to check out out some of his favorite spots and made some new friends along the way... Comment
Kurt Busch has filed a countersuit against former agent Jon Caponigro, whose firm sued Busch for $1.4 million for unpaid and future fees after Busch terminated the deal last year. Busch, in a court filing Friday, said he had paid Caponigro's firm $1.3 million since 2011 and is asking to be awarded "millions" in damages because Capongiro's firm had conflicts of interest, including representing the Penske and Andretti teams he has raced for and negotiating deals favorable to the teams.
Video: Rosberg discusses 2017 and retirement Reigning World Champion Nico Rosberg looks ahead to the 2017 Formula 1 season and discusses his feelings in the wake of his decision to retire from the sport. Comment
Aldo Costa is the greatest F1 designer of all-time
Make no mistake about it, Aldo Costa is a design genius. Even Adrian Newey isn't fit to shine his shoes.
Aldo Costa designed the cars that made Michael Schumacher unbeatable for 5-straight years at Ferrari. Now he is designing the Mercedes F1 cars and they have been unbeatable for three straight years.
Fresh from claiming pole position for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has hailed his 2017 Mercedes as "the best I have experienced" and the Aldo Costa car looks dominant for a 4th straight year.
Hamilton scored his fourth consecutive pole in Melbourne finishing 0.268s ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and another half tenth in front of new teammate Valtteri Bottas.
(GMM) Pascal Wehrlein on Saturday said he is confident he will be fit enough to return to his Sauber in China.
Although he told the German press he was in "no pain" in Melbourne following his back injury nine weeks ago, Wehrlein explained it was simply a lack of physical fitness that prompted his decision to sit out qualifying and the race.
"Anyone who knows how ambitious I am will know how much this decision hurts me. Especially since I'm having no pain.
Aspen Dental becomes 'Official Dentist of NASCAR.'
NASCAR and Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of independent dental care providers in the United States, announced a multi-year official partnership, designating the brand as the 'Official Dentist of NASCAR.' The announcement coincides with the launch of Aspen Dental's 'Get Started' awareness building health initiative with NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Danica Patrick.
"Aspen Dental's level of dedication to drive awareness and educate fans about the importance of dental health, especially as it relates to quality of life for everyday Americans is inspiring and contagious," said Chad Seigler, Vice President, Business Development, NASCAR. "We welcome Aspen Dental to our family of Official Partners and look forward to adding our voice to amplify the important message behind Aspen Dental's Get Started initiative."
Showing the form in preseason testing that gave everyone hope that Ferrari could this year challenge the Mercedes team, Sebastian Vettel put his Ferrari on top in the red-flagged shortened final practice session Saturday morning ahead of qualifying for the Australian GP in Melbourne.
Vettel's lap of 1m23.380s was 1/2-sec. faster than Valtteri Bottas in 2nd for Mercedes ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton in third. Because of the red flag when Lance Stroll hit the wall in his Williams, we do not know if either Mercedes driver could have beat Vettel's time, but it's doubtful given both had done a qualifying simulation run on the ultra-soft Pirellis and failed.
The Sauber F1 Team has decided to replace Pascal Wehrlein for the Australian Grand Prix. Wehrlein does not feel fit enough for a complete race distance due to his training deficit. As of FP3, Antonio Giovinazzi will take over the Sauber C36-Ferrari for the rest of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.
Pascal Wehrlein (car number 94): My fitness level is not as it should be for a full race distance because of my training deficit. I explained the situation to the team yesterday evening. Therefore, the Sauber F1 Team has decided not to take any risks. It is a pity, but the best decision for the team.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. willing to talk new contract with Hendrick
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had talks to have actual talks about remaining at Hendrick Motorsports beyond this Monster Energy Cup Series season.
Earnhardt, whose contract ends after 2017, had put contract negotiations on hold after suffering a concussion that kept him out of the car for the final 18 races of 2016.
In February, Earnhardt had said he wanted to take some time, possibly a couple of months, to see how he felt before resuming negotiations. The 2016 concussion was his fourth known concussion in his career.
Video: NASCAR Fontana Pre Race Earnhardt, Blaney, Newman Q&A Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No.88 AXALTA Chevrolet); Ryan Blaney (No.21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford); Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) Comment
Austin Dillon intentionally ran into Cole Custer during the XFINITY race at Phoenix Raceway last weekend. The move was retaliation for Custer getting lose and hitting Dillon to cause a caution.
Dillon indicated that a repeat offense of wrecking another car under caution would result in NASCAR suspending him. Dillon, after a meeting with NASCAR officials Friday at Auto Club Speedway a week following his running into Cole Custer under caution, said: "NASCAR did a really good job of sharing with me that if I make a mistake like that again that the penalties would be very harsh. ... I love to race and I don't want to be on the sideline, ever." ESPN.com
Conor Daly is the latest Verizon IndyCar Series driver attempting to become an "American Ninja Warrior."
Following in the athletic footsteps of fellow drivers Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden, Daly will venture to San Antonio this weekend to participate in a regional qualifier for the Emmy-nominated NBC obstacle course challenge show that will air its ninth season this summer.
Mario Andretti Shakes Down Charlotte Motor Speedway's Road Course One of the most accomplished drivers in the history of motorsports tried out one of the newest racing venues this week, when Mario Andretti shook down Charlotte Motor Speedway's road course in two high-performance cars.
Andretti took to Charlotte's 2.4-mile, purpose-built road course in an 887-horsepower 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder -- in which the 77-year-old got up to 177 miles per hour -- and a 640-horsepower 2015 Cadillac CTS-V.
As it has done for the past three years, and now the 4th year in a row, the Aldo Costa designed Mercedes continued to enjoy the upper hand in Friday afternoon's second practice session in Australia, as Lewis Hamilton lapped more than half a second faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to top the timesheet once more.
Hamilton slashed 0.6s off his practice 1 best when the field switched to ultrasofts, smashing his 2016 pole position time in the process. Vettel couldn't match the Mercedes driver in dipping below 1m 24s, but managed to split the Silver Arrows after edging Valtteri Bottas by 0.009s.
Based on results from practice 1, the year is essentially over for anyone but Hamilton.
When you drive an Aldo Costa designed car everything comes easy. Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice for the Australian GP in Melbourne by 1/2-sec over teammate Valtteri Bottas. If the opening practice is any indication, it's going to be a very long year for everyone else. Watching the Aldo Costa designed cars circulate around the Albert Park circuit it was clear his cars generate a lot more downforce than anyone else
However, the world champions were the only team to sample Pirelli’s ultrasoft tires, with the rest of the field choosing to stick to softs and supersofts for the first 90 minutes of running.
With the purple-marked tires bolted to his Silver Arrow, Hamilton lapped in 1m 24.220s – half a second quicker than his new team mate, and a full 5.5s faster than he went in the same session last year, perfectly illustrating the increased performance of the new generation of F1 machinery.
The two drivers of Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 team hauler were uninjured when their tractor-trailer rig was involved in a hit-and-run accident just after midnight Thursday on their way to this week’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The incident occurred when a car carrying two occupants pulled off the shoulder and back onto the highway directly in front of the Furniture Row Racing hauler on Interstate 15 approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Truck drivers Travis Watts, who was at the wheel, and David Shano were uninjured. There was no damage to the trailer or its contents, including the No. 77 Toyota Camrys prepared for driver Erik Jones for this week’s event. However, the tractor sustained front-end damage and a replacement tractor has been rented from Rush Truck Centers of North Las Vegas.
Vinales tops first MotoGP practice of 2017 season After Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was quickest out the box, it was a familiar scene from preseason by the end of the first track action at Losail International Circuit - Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) on top and Repsol Honda Team’s reigning Champion Marc Marquez in second, 0.596 off P1.
Maverick Vinales led the way ahead of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in Free Practice 1
Formula 1 Launches F1 Experiences Ahead Of '17 Season Opener
Fans will get a closer look at F1 under Liberty
Formula 1 announced the launch of F1 Experiences, the organization's official ticket and travel package program. F1 Experiences will provide fans with benefits and access not available anywhere else. For the first time, fans will have the opportunity to access unique F1 race weekend experiences, from touring the track and walking the pit lane to meeting former drivers. Race tickets, VIP hospitality and premium hotels will also be offered as part of these exclusive packages. F1 Experiences will offer a range of price points. F1
NASCAR's L.A. Office Taking Advantage Of Lone Trip To SoCal With Hollywood Exec Event It is one of the biggest weeks of the year for NASCAR's L.A. office, which has organized a range of events to take advantage of the circuit's lone visit to Southern California. The L.A. office, which opened in '00, is headed up by NASCAR VP/Entertainment Marketing & Content Development Zane Stoddard and designed to get the NASCAR brand weaved into general-market media platforms like movies, cartoons and sitcoms.
While the office has scheduled numerous meetings in recent years between drivers and Hollywood execs, new this year is the way NASCAR is arranging the introductions. Whereas in prior years NASCAR had scheduled meetings throughout the day at offices or at Auto Club Speedway, which is located about 50 miles away from L.A. in Fontana, NASCAR is holding a cocktail event tonight at the EP & LP restaurant in West Hollywood with around 10 Hollywood execs and a spate of young drivers to allow for more intimate mingling.
Indycar Connection Runs Deep In New F4 U.S. Championship Team Abel Motorsports confirmed it will make a campaign for the 2017 Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda with two F4 newcomers Jacob Abel of Louisville, Kentucky, and John Andrew Entwistle of Katonah, New York.
The newest F4 U.S. crew was built from a combination of a second-generation friendship and IndyCar Rookie of the Year Scott Harrington’s Indy Racing League team. Harrington is the childhood friend of Abel Motorsports’ team principal Bill Abel. The Big Three American Motorsport competitor will serve as the team’s driving coach. Parts of Harrington’s former IndyCar crew also made the jump to the formula franchise. Mark Gibbs functions as the team manager and Larry Nash serves as chief engineer.
Officials with Team Penske have not determined if the organization will appeal penalties handed down to the #2 team and driver Brad Keselowski on Wednesday, according to a statement from the team. Stewart-Haas Racing, meanwhile, announced it would appeal the penalty for the # 4 team of Kevin Harvick.
Team Penske also announced that Brian Wilson will serve as interim crew chief this weekend, replacing Paul Wolfe, when the series visits Auto Club Speedway for Sunday's running of the Auto Club 400.
Jack Aitken has grabbed the day 2 bragging rights by topping this afternoon’s session in mixed conditions on the final day of the first GP3 Series test session of 2017 at the Circuito de Estoril, easily surpassing George Russell’s best time in wet conditions this morning with a laptime of 1:28.125, but Russell claimed the overall honors with the best time of the test at 1:27.606, set yesterday afternoon.
The GP3 paddock was greeted by rays of sunshine this morning to open day 2 of pre-season testing, but grey clouds made their way across the Portuguese track minutes before the pitlane turned green. As the cars fed onto the track, rain drops fell from the sky and the session was soon declared wet.
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel upheld penalties against the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team that competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series following a hearing Wednesday at NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina.
JTG officials appealed L1-level penalties levied against the team, driver AJ Allmendinger and crew chief Randall Burnett following the March 5 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
American Honda supports RRDC Evening with Fittipaldi in Long Beach
Emerson Fittipaldi's Penske IndyCar
American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will support the RRDC Evening with Emerson Fittipaldi Presented by Firestone by hosting the cocktail reception on April 6 at the Road Racing Drivers Club’s ninth annual West Coast banquet. Honda returns for the eighth consecutive year to support the legends dinner, which will be held prior to the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.).
“American Honda is once again pleased to support the Road Racing Drivers Club in its salute to Emerson Fittipaldi,” said John Mendel, Executive Vice President, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “His outstanding career in both Formula One and Indy car competition, including two world championships and a pair of Indy 500 triumphs, demonstrated his talent and versatility throughout the 1970s, '80s and into the '90s. He remains a true legend in our sport.”
The growing rivalry between superpower Red Bull Holden Racing Team and Shell V-Power Racing team was laid bare in an intense battle between their four superstar drivers at Albert Park today.
The Penske pair of Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin took the honors ahead of Shane Van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup with a dominating performance across the unique, back-to-back four qualifying sessions format at the Rolex Formula One Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
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