Spain preview - will car upgrades upset the pecking order?

After a three-week gap, this weekend sees the teams and drivers rev back into action with the first European race of the season in Barcelona. As is customary at this time of year, all of the major players will be bringing serious updates to their cars, so it will be fascinating to see whether there are any changes to the pecking order at a track reckoned to be the best reflection of true form.

Reigning champions Mercedes, of course, have won three of the opening four races, but Ferrari’s victory in Malaysia demonstrated that the Italian team have seriously closed the performance gap, and ever since they have kept the Silver Arrows honest.

The indications from the opening rounds were that Mercedes still have a power and downforce advantage, but Ferrari have superior tyre wear. Will those remain each team’s outstanding characteristics in Barcelona, or will their respective updates change anything significant?

Ferrari’s brilliant strategy in choosing a soft-medium-soft tyre schedule nearly enabled Kimi Raikkonen to score an upset win in Bahrain last time out, as team mate Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes’ drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg opted for soft-soft-medium, and team boss Maurizio Arrivabene plans to maintain that aggressive ploy while Ferrari continue to work on closing the gap.

"In Bahrain we put together an aggressive strategy and this is exactly what we discussed," he says. And he warns: “We now have some solutions for Barcelona. We are doing all of our development step-by-step but I think here we are going to finally take a good package."

Mercedes, however, are determined to weigh up all of their options, rather than just rushing developments through to try and stem the Ferrari tide. Non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says that they won’t be bringing revised engines to this power circuit. "What may appear as a disadvantage now will become an opportunity when it really counts, in the second half of the season," he says. "The right thing to do is to not change work programmes on a whim. In any case, we'll have big changes to the car at Barcelona."

Lauda also says that he isn’t surprised that Ferrari have recovered so quickly after last year’s disappointments. “Their resurgence is deeply rooted in last season, in the good job done by (technical director) James Allison, in the restructuring of the team."

Both Lauda and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believe that their drivers are at their peak, and that Bahrain signalled Rosberg’s return to form. He is currently 27 points adrift of championship leader Hamilton, but Wolff is adamant that the German will be back on the pace this weekend.

"Nico wouldn't be in Formula One as a multiple race winner and a challenger for the championship if he allowed himself to be destabilised after a few races,” Wolff says. "I fully expect him to come bouncing back. I don't know when it will happen, but he's always going to be there, no doubt."

Elsewhere, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are hoping for good news from Renault. The French power unit manufacturer’s director of operations Remi Taffin says that they have high hopes after making changes based on lessons learned from the first four races: “Barcelona is much more of a traditional circuit than the first four tracks we have visited so far this year. The layout flows a lot more, with high and medium speed corners rather than tight, slow hairpins and long straights.

“The three-week gap has given us an opportunity to look at all the information from the start of the season. We have been flat out to counter the issues encountered early on and we will have a modified spec of engine for this race that should give improved reliability and driveability.”

That should be a relief to Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz after their recent powertrain tribulations.

Williams are bringing not just updates but better knowledge of how to get the best out of their Pirelli tyres, which already helped to reduce the deficit to Mercedes and Ferrari in Bahrain. The Grove-based team will run test and development driver Susie Wolff in FP1 - her first appearance of the season.

Lotus have also heavily revamped their promising E23 Hybrid, which among other things will feature a Williams-like nose this weekend. And reflecting his performances in China and Bahrain, tester Jolyon Palmer will get another outing on Friday morning.

McLaren will be bringing more development to their MP4-30, but perhaps the most noticeable difference to the Honda-powered car will be in the livery department. The team have dropped the chrome colour scheme that has adorned their cars since 2006 and replaced it with a more “predatory” stealth-grey look. Local favourite Fernando Alonso will be hoping the new look brings him extra luck at a track he won on in 2006 and 2013.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, at which the teams tested in February, places very high demands on tyres, especially the left front, because of its wide range of high-speed corners and rough asphalt. Thus tyre suppliers Pirelli are bringing their orange-marked hard and white-marked medium tyres this weekend.

“Spain is obviously one of the more familiar venues that we go to, as there has already been plenty of data gathered during testing,” says the Italian company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery.

“One of the things we have noticed so far is that this year Barcelona will once again be a front-limited circuit, from a tyre perspective. Last year, the increase in traction and torque from the cars meant that for the first time the race became a rear-limited event, with the useful life of the rear tyres dictating the pit stop strategy.

“Thanks to the improvements we made to the rear tyre construction for this year, we’re back to Barcelona being a front-limited circuit again. However, we do not expect this to mean that there will necessarily be more pit stops this year: last year the majority of competitors used a two-stop strategy and that will probably be the case again.

“The start of the European season traditionally means that many teams bring important upgrades, and it will be very interesting to see how these interact with our 2015 tyres.”

The 4.655-kilometre Barcelona track, a staple on the calendar since 1991, is largely unchanged since last year, though changes have been made to the kerbs at Turn 9 and Turn 15. A new CCTV camera has also been installed at Turn 3 - the site of Alonso’s unusual pre-season testing crash.

As in 2014, two DRS zones will be in operation over the weekend. The first has a detection point just after Turn 8 and an activation point after Turn 9, while the second has a detection point just ahead of Turn 16 with the activation point 157m along the pit straight.

The weather is expected to be dry, sunny and warm all weekend, with a high of 26 degrees Celsius on race day. Sunday’s Grand Prix will start at 1400 hours local time (1200 GMT) and will run over 66 laps or 307.104 kilometres (190.825 miles).

National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Statement

Today the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, Mr. Bryan Moss, heard and considered the appeal of a P5 penalty issued on March 31, 2015 to Richard Childress (owner), Ryan Newman (driver), Lucas Lambert (crew chief), James Bender (tire technician) and Philip Surgen (race engineer) relative to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series vehicle #31 at Auto Club Speedway.

The penalty concerns the following sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.16: Wheels and tires
            A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
20.16.2: Tires
            F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.

12.5.3.5.2: Minimum P5 Penalty Options (includes all four points below):

            A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not
            B. $75,000-$125,000 fine
            C. Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR
            D. Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons

12.5.3.5.3: P5 Level infractions detected during post-race inspection:
If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added to those listed previously in this section:
            A. Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not
            B. Loss of an additional $50,000

The original penalty assessed included a $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000) fine, six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to Lambert; six-race suspension and probation through Dec. 31 to both Bender and Surgen; and the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship car owner and 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver points to both Childress and Newman.
 
On April 16, a three-person National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and made the following decisions:

1. The Appellants violated the Rule or Rules set forth in the Penalty Notice and it is a P5 level  violation.
2. The Panel amends the original Penalty levied by NASCAR because there is no written explanation of what constitutes a post-race inspection. Therefore the Penalty elements added under Section 12.5.3.5.3. are removed and the Penalty adjusted to:
-Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points for Richard Childress.
-Loss of 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points for Ryan Newman.
-$75,000 fine.  Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for crew chief Lucas Lambert.
- Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Tire Technician James Bender.
-Suspended for the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Races, plus any non-Championship Races or Special Events which might occur during that time period.  Placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31 for Race Engineer Philip Surgen.

Upon hearing today’s testimony, Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, made the following decisions:
•    Based on a preponderance of evidence, the Appellants violated the Rules.
•    Based on a preponderance of evidence, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer upholds the penalty as amended by the National Motorsports Appeals Panel.

The decision of the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer is final and binding on all parties.

NASCAR XFINITY Series Team Penalized For Rule Violation At Talladega Superspeedway

The No. 40 team OF Driver Derek White that competes in the NASCAR XFINITY Series has been penalized for a rule infraction discovered during pre-race inspection May 2 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The infraction is a P3 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:

12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.17.2.1: Overall vehicle weight
            B. Any and all ballast added to the vehicle must be bolted inside an added ballast container, inside the main frame rails, and/or inside the front sway bar mounting tube.

As a result of this violation, crew chief Kevyn Rebolledo has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Additionally, driver/owner Derek White has been docked 15 NASCAR XFINITY Championship driver and car owner points.

East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial To Murcott

After an intense rain system passed through Brisbane on Friday afternoon many parts of the river city were left more than a little damp and AusDeck Patios Archerfield Speedway was no exception. Despite clear skies all day Saturday the infield area of the track remained far too wet and the event was postponed until Sunday 03 May 2015. It would be an afternoon event, with racing starting from 1pm, and concluding by 6pm. Several of the nominated drivers were unable to make the Sunday afternoon event, leaving twenty-five Sprintcars to contest another round of the East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial Series. David Murcott was the standout from the beginning, setting quick time, winning a heat and taking race honours at the end of the 30-lap A-Main event. Andrew Scheuerle put in another strong and consistent run to finish the night in second with Darren Jensen filling the final podium position. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman rounded out the top five.

Qualifying got underway with the sun still quite high in the sky. David Murcott was in the first group to hit the track and quickly set an unbeatable benchmark when he stopped the clock at 12.039 seconds. Bryan Mann, Kevin Titman, Darren Jensen, Andrew Scheuerle and Steven Rowell were all less than half a second slower, with Mick Sauer, Brent Kratzmann, Mitchell Gee and Brent Aprile rounding out the top ten. Lachlan McHugh, in his first qualifying run in a Sprintcar, qualified in eighteenth with a qualifying time of 13.168 seconds, and made it into the top eighteen inversion on a very difficult track. McHugh was relegated rear of the field for his heats as it was his maiden night of Sprintcar competition.

Mike Walsh and Steven Johnson started the front row for the start of heat one. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Johnson to have jumped the start and relegated the Q27 racer to the second row for the restart. Second time around it was Mike Walsh and Mick Sauer who led the field to the green, with Sauer managing to secure the lead by turn one. Steven Johnson took to the high line in turn two trying to find a way past Mike Walsh, only to get a little too high in turn three, clip the wall with his right rear, and invert the Brisbane Yamaha #27 racer. Johnson was not injured in the crash but was out of the race. Walsh and Sauer again led the field to the start with Walsh this time securing the lead by the time they hit turn one. Steven Rowell ducked underneath Andrew Liebke as David Murcott ran around the outside in turn one. By turn two both Rowell and Murcott had made their way in front of Liebke, only to come together, allowing Liebke to slip back through. Meanwhile Sauer was trying to slip back underneath Walsh as they raced down the back straight, only for the race to once again be brought under caution, this time for David Murcott who had slowed to a stop in turn three after the incident with Rowell. Walsh and Sauer led the field for the fourth attempt to get heat one underway, with Walsh again securing the lead. David Murcott however was on a mission and wasted no time once the lights went green. Murcott instantly took the highline and made his way past both Rowell and Liebke by the end of the second corner, and Brett Thomas, in his first night in a Sprintcar for a number of years, just half a lap later. Murcott now had Mick Sauer in his sights, and while it took a couple of laps, the reigning Australian Champion slipped underneath Sauer as they raced down the main straight before setting out after Walsh and the race lead. Walsh had built a comfortable lead but it only took Murcott a few laps to close the gap and take advantage when Walsh ran a fraction wide in turn two. David Murcott went on to take the race win ahead of Mike Walsh, Mick Sauer, Brett Thomas, Andrew Liebke, Anthony Lambert and Bruce Marshall. Steven Rowell and Steven Johnson both failed to finish the event.

Heat two saw Richard Morgan and Ben Hilder share the front row for the start, with Morgan getting the jump and quickly settling into the race lead. Hilder settled into second as Bryan Mann took to the high side and ran around the outside of Brent Kratzmann and Brandon Rawlings, before putting the pressure on Hilder and making his way into second by the end of the first lap. Andrew Scheuerle searched for a way past Brandon Rawlings, while Brent Kratzmann and Lachlan McHugh battled at the rear of the field. Mann gradually closed in on Richard Morgan and the race lead, and was just attempting a bold outside passing move for the race lead as the duo exited turn two, when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Lachlan McHugh in turn three. Richard Morgan led the restart with just two laps to run and Bryan Mann right on his tail. Further back in the field Brent Kratzmann managed to slip past Andrew Scheuerle, the two putting on a great show for the fans as they raced towards the chequered flag. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Bryan Mann, Ben Hidler, Brandon Rawlings, Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle, Kristy Bonsey and Lachlan McHugh.

Heat three rolled onto the track with Callum Walker to start from pole position with Mark Pholi alongside. Walker led them to the first corner, with Pholi challenging hard on the high side while Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee argued over positions mid-field. Walker and Pholi were side-by-side coming our of turn two when Walker got a little crossed up and retreated to the inner bike track for a moment. Walker rejoined the race once he had settled the car but had lost positions to Brent Aprile, Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee, and quickly faded to the rear of the field. Aprile, Jensen and Gee were embroiled in an intense battle, with Gee managing to slip underneath Jensen. Brandon Haynes spun to a stop in turn four and brought the race under caution, with Mark Pholi to lead the restart with eight laps still to run. Darren Jensen managed to slip underneath Mitchell Gee as they raced down the back straight, but an uncharacteristic spin in turn four left the Q75 racer stranded on the track and brought the race under caution once more. With barely a lap of the restart completed the race was again stopped, this time for Kevin Titman who had slowed to a stop in turn four with mechanical issues on the Q59 racer. Titman was unable to restart the event, retiring to the infield after completing just four laps. Mark Pholi again led the restart and while Brent Aprile put all kinds of pressure on Pholi for the remaining five laps, he couldn’t quite get the job done. Mark Pholi walked away with the heat win, with Brent Aprile forced to settle for second. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third and led Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Darren Jensen and Callum Walker across the line. Kevin Titman did not finish the race.

Heat four started with Callum Walker and Ben Hilder from the front row with Andrew Liebke and Mitchell Gee close behind. Walker and Hilder raced side-by-side into turn one, with Hilder eventually managing to secure the race lead. Walker settled into second while Brent Aprile had quickly made his way from fifth to third in just half a lap. Aprile spent a couple of laps searching for a way past Walker, while Walker did a great job holding off his more experienced rival. However track conditions got the better of walker and he spun the Q33 racer in turn three, bringing the race under caution. Hilder led the restart from Aprile and Mitchell Gee, with David Murcott in fourth. Aprile was all over the back of Hilder, the two putting on a breath-taking show for the crowd, while further back in the field Steven Johnson was trying to find a way underneath Kristy Bonsey. Still it was hard to take your eyes from the battle for the lead as Aprile committed to the high line, running around the outside of Hilder as they navigated turns three and four. Once in front Aprile began opening a sizable lead and weaving his way through lapped traffic. He slammed the wall coming out of turn two but had built enough of a margin that while he slowed briefly he was able to maintain his lead. Brent Aprile went on to take the win, with a margin of 1.897 seconds on second placed Ben Hilder. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third ahead of David Murcott, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Kristy Bonsey, Callum Walker and Bruce Marshall.

Brett Thomas and Richard Morgan shared the front row for the start of heat five, with hard-chargers Kevin Titman and Brent Kratzmann out of the second row. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Thomas to have jumped the start. Thomas was relegated to the second row for the second attempted start, with Kevin Titman now from pole position. Titman got the initial jump but Morgan was quick to challenge on the high side and had basically secured the lead when Titman got too sideways in turn two and lost several car lengths. Brent Kratzmann was quick to move and quickly blasted around the outside. Titman found himself in the middle of a very intense battle with Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle and Brett Thomas. Scheuerle challenged Titman before Titman put all kinds of pressure on Kratzmann, eventually slipping underneath the Q4 racer as they raced through turn four. Titman set out about chasing down Richard Morgan in the race lead, spending several laps closing the gap before giving it everything he had. It was a spectacular battle as Titman relentlessly searched for the right way past Morgan, while Morgan ran a smooth and consistent line, continually denying Titman every time he was challenged. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Titman, Andrew Scheuerle, Brent Kratzmann, Brett Thomas, Bryan Mann, Anthony Lambert and Lachlan McHugh.

The sixth and final heat of the night rolled onto the track with Mike Walsh and Steven Rowell set to lead them away. Walsh got the jump on the start, but Rowell was strong on the high line, stealing the lead through turn one, only for Walsh to fight back hard on the low line through turn two to regain the lead. By turn three Rowell had slipped back underneath Walsh to take control of the race, leaving Walsh to defend his position from Mark Pholi. Darren Jensen was on his way forward when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Brandon Haynes in turn four. Steven Rowell led the restart from Mike Walsh and Darren Jensen with Jensen and Mark Pholi both making their way past Walsh over the next few laps. Rowell opened a sizable lead, leaving Jensen and Pholi to argue over second and third, and while Rowell slammed the wall at one stage, he was able to maintain his lead and went on to be the first to greet the chequered flag. Darren Jensen and Mark Pholi battled all the way to the line, with Jensen crossing the line in second and Pholi forced to settle for third. Mick Sauer was fourth past the chequered flag, leading Brandon Rawlings, Mike Walsh, Jason Bottin and Brandon Haynes home.

Next up was the B-Main event, with eleven cars taking to the track for twelve laps. Andrew Liebke started from pole position with Mike Walsh alongside and Brett Thomas and Callum Walker right on their tail. Liebke got the best start and quickly settled into the race lead, with Walsh in second followed by Thomas and Steven Johnson. Johnson managed to slip underneath Thomas at the end of the first lap while further back in the field Anthony Lambert was working the high line trying to make his way into a transfer position. Lambert soon made his way into fifth, just one spot shy of a transfer, and joined the battle that was unfolding as Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas each tried to find a way past Mike Walsh. Thomas had just managed to slip back under Johnson when behind them Callum Walker drifted too high coming out of turn two and slammed the concrete wall hard. Walker tried to limp the broken Q33 racer off the track but didn’t quite make it to the infield and the race was brought under caution. Andrew Liebke led the restart from Walsh, Johnson and Thomas, with Lambert still in the hunt for a transfer position. Liebke got a brilliant start and immediately opened a small but comfortable lead, while the battle raged for the minor places. Brandon Haynes had a truly spectacular run, slipping underneath Anthony Lambert, Brett Thomas and Steven Johnson in little more than a lap, but ultimately faded as all three drivers eventually found their way back past. Steven Johnson caught Mike Walsh and gave it everything as the two put on a spectacular show. Neither was willing to give up without a fight, with Johnson eventually able to secure the advantage. Andrew Liebke went on to take the win, nearly three seconds ahead of second placed Steven Johnson. Mike Walsh crossed the line a very respectable third while Brett Thomas secured the final transfer to the A-main in his first night of Sprintcar competition in quite some time. Anthony Lambert crossed the line in fifth ahead of Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Kristy Bonsey, Lachlan McHugh and Bruce Marshall. Callum Walker did not finish the event.

Eight cars lined up for the 6 lap Dash event, with Brent Aprile and Darren Jensen from the front row and Bryan Mann and David Murcott out of the second row. Both Aprile and Jensen got a great start and they drag raced side-by-side into the first corner. Unfortunately slight contact between the pair as they exited turn one launched Aprile into a series of quick, low to the ground, flips. Aprile was quick to exit the wreck but would sadly be out for the rest of the evening. With Aprile out of the event, Bryan Mann was promoted to pole position for the restart but Jensen had a brilliant run on the high line and quickly secured the race lead. David Murcott instantly challenged Mann for second and while Mann held on for the first lap, Murcott ran the highline perfectly and made his way into second. Andrew Scheuerle briefly challenged Mann for third, while Murcott closed in a little on Jensen. Still there was no stopping Darren Jensen out in front, the Q75 racer taking the win ahead of David Murcott, Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle. Mark Pholi finished fifth and led Richard Morgan and Steven Rowell across the line. Brent Aprile did not finish the event.

Darren Jensen and David Murcott led the field of seventeen cars, missing only Brent Aprile, around for the start of the 30-lap A-Main event. Jensen got the initial jump on the start and led the way into turn one, but Murcott positioned the A1 racer perfectly through turn two, to almost effortlessly slide underneath Jensen and steal the lead with just half a lap completed. Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle argued over third and fourth while Richard Morgan and Mark Pholi were embroiled in their own battle. Brent Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee had a great battle and were soon joining by Kevin Titman who was having a truly spectacular run, predominately on the high line and putting all kinds of pressure on Gee as they entertained the crowd. Behind them the battle between Mick Sauer, Ben Hilder and Brandon Rawlings was really starting to heat up, the trio often wheel-to-wheel as they traded positions several times, while B-Main transfers Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas continued their battles from the B-Main event. The race was however brought under caution when Mitchell Gee, Ben Hilder and Steven Rowell came together in turn four. Rowell ended up on his side, Gee had a flat left rear and Hilder suffered sufficient damage to end his race. All three were unable to restart the event.

David Murcott led the restart from Andrew Scheuerle, who had managed to find a way past Darren Jensen, with Jensen in third ahead of Bryan Mann with seventeen laps left to run. Bryan Mann and Darren Jensen had a great battle but it was Kevin Titman and Richard Morgan who captivated everyone's attention for several laps as they relentlessly raced wheel-to-wheel and exchanged positions several times, with Titman eventually emerging in front and setting his sights on Brent Kratzmann. Titman was on a mission and was spectacular to watch, while Kratzmann refused to give up, fighting hard to maintain his position. Titman managed to get his nose in front as they crossed the line, just moments before Steven Johnson spun to a stop in turn three and brought race under caution.

David Murcott, Andrew Scheuerle, Darren Jensen and Bryan Mann led the restart with just thirteen laps left to run, but all eyes were again on Titman as he worked the high line beautifully to make his way in front of Mark Pholi. Mann and Jensen argued over the final podium position, while Brandon Rawlings and Mick Sauer raced two abreast for several laps, but there was no touching David Murcott out in front. Murcott went on to take the win, with Andrew Scheuerle in second and Darren Jensen hanging on to finish third. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman completed the top five with Mark Pholi, Brent Kratzmann, Richard Morgan, Brandon Rawlings, Mick Sauer, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Brett Thomas and Mike Walsh rounding out the finishers. Steven Rowell, Mitchell Gee and Ben Hilder all failed to finish the event.

INDYCAR: Manufacturers Championship Points Update

INDYCAR announced the following manufacturers' championship points adjustments following the Indianapolis 500 Open Test Day on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

• Honda received a bonus of 30 engine manufacturer points for attaining the life cycle minimum for three of its engines. According to Rule 10.6.4.2 of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook, any engine that reaches a lifespan of 2,500 miles will receive 10 bonus for its manufacturer. Honda engines for the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry, No. 26 Andretti Autosport entry and No. 98 BHA with Curb Agajanian entry all reached at least 2,500 miles.

• Chevrolet received a points deduction of 20 points. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its life cycle. The engine in the No. 83 entry did not reach 2,500 miles before it was changed out.

• Chevrolet also had four of its entrants' engines - the Nos. 1 and 22 from Team Penske and Nos. 9 and 10 of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams - reach their 2,500-mile lifespans, but they will not receive manufacturer bonus points according to Rule 10.6.4.4, which states that an engine is no longer eligible for mileage lifespan points once it has undergone a non-minor repair approved by INDYCAR.

Following the adjustments, Honda has a total of 380 manufacturer points and Chevrolet 216.

Tata appointed broadcast supplier for GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup

Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™ and the Official Connectivity Provider to Formula 1®, today announces that it has been chosen by Formula One Management (FOM) to provide broadcast services for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup racing series. Tata Communications will provide a fully diverse end-to-end fibre and satellite solution to broadcasters from across the globe at the 12 race locations in 2015.

With this agreement broadcasters will have access to a provider with knowledge and experience in motor racing and the infrastructure capability to provide specific media management and movement services that go above and beyond the core technology.

Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive Officer of the Formula One group commented: “We are always looking to help provide our partners and clients with the highest standards of support and service and our decision to appoint Tata Communications as the provider of these broadcast services is designed to deliver this.”

The agreement will also enable broadcasters covering GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup races to take advantage of Tata Communications’ Race Network Operations Centre (NOC), located in the Formula 1 Technical Centre, Formula One Management’s 150 ton, 750 square metre nerve centre present at every F1 Event.

Servicing the requirements of GP2, GP3 and the Porsche Supercup is a key milestone in Tata Communications’ journey as a Technology Supplier to Formula 1, and as an enabler of innovation in sport. Tata Communications already provides MPLS, Internet access and managed hosting and security, as well as Content Delivery Network (CDN) and co-location services for FOM. This robust global platform also delivers data and live broadcast quality video to FOM and since 2012 Tata Communications has successfully supported 57 races with over 400 hours of live service management. The same platform also delivers a range of connectivity services to the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and Chello DMC, which distributes to Dutch sports channel Sport1.

Tata Communications installs and tests its network infrastructure in two days at the 19 race locations, then dismantles it in just three hours after the races.

Vinod Kumar, MD and CEO, Tata Communications, says: “Tata Communications’ work with Formula One Management is a testament to the diversity and versatility of our services. Each Formula 1 race demands a range of connected services similar to that of a small city. By consolidating fixed line connectivity needs with Tata Communications, Formula One Management will be able to take the greatest possible advantage of that infrastructure and tap into the versatility, on and off-site support and existing knowledge and experience of our platform and our team. We are a unique player in the ecosystem and well-placed to help deliver high quality live feeds to customers all over the world.”