February 2017 News
Phoenix Oval Track Gets Facelift

Feb 2 - The 1-mile Phoenix oval track will
undergo a $178 million overhaul with the
demolition of the frontstretch grandstands and
construction of a new grandstand that extends
where the old grandstand ends in Turn 1.

With the change, the track will move the
start-finish line to Turn 2, just before the dogleg.  
The change is expected to create more drama for
NASCAR drivers, but not IndyCar.

The two main entrances will get escalators.
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The infield camping spots are being replaced with a fan zone.  

No more bleachers, though there will be 6,000 less seats.  

A medical center will be built in the infield.  

The midway area will now have a restaurant and bar.   Completion planned for end of 2018.
New McLaren Car Name

Feb 4 - If you are like me, you look forward with great
anticipation each February and March to the launch of the
new Formula 1 cars.  I create a web page each year
showing them each year.  (
2017 F1 Launch)

F1 cars names are letters followed by a number.  Usually
the letters are the initials of the team's name.  The number
is usually either the year or the number of years the car has
been made.

Every McLaren F1 car since 1981 began with MP4.  (Last
year's car was called MP4-31.)  MP4 stands for Marlboro
Project Four.  That was in reference to the tobacco
sponsor that helped engineer in 1981 a reverse takeover of
McLaren by Ron Dennis, whose previous operation had
been Project Four Racing.

With the departure of long-time chief Ron Dennis,
McLaren's new car will be called MCL32.  Obviously the
MCL are the initials for the name McLaren.
SF - stands for Scuderia Ferrari

VJM - named after team owners Vijay
      Mallya, Jan Mol and Michiel Mol

VF - The origin of naming the car
    “VF-16” goes back to the first CNC
    machine manufactured by Haas
    Automation, the VF-1, launched in
    1988. The “V” stands for vertical,
    which is an industry standard
    designation for a vertical mill. Gene
    Haas, founder of Haas Automation,
    added “F1” to the name to
    unofficially designate it as the
    company’s “Very First One”.

W - Mercedes began making their own
  race car in 2010, having previously
  quit racing in 1955.  However they
  had been supplying engines to some
  F1 teams.  Mercedes began naming
  their race cars with a "W" going back
  to 1933.  The W stands for Wagen -
  German for car.

RB - Stands for team name

RS - Stands for team name

C - In 1970 when Peter Sauber first set
  himself up as an independent builder
  of open two-seater racing sports cars.
  Out of the cellar of his parents’ home
  in Zurich emerged the Sauber C1. He
  used the first name of his wife
  Christiane as the model designation.

STR - Stands for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
       Scuderia stands for "stable" in
       Italian.  Toro Rosso uses Ferrari
       engines and Ferrari uses the term

FW - Initials of team founder Frank

Force India

Haas F1


Red Bull

Renault Sport


Toro Rosso

Other Formula 1 Car Names
Wehrlein Joins Sauber F1

Feb 4 - The Sauber F1 Team is pleased to announce that
Pascal Wehrlein will complete the team’s driver line-up for
the 2017 Formula One World Championship. The 22-year
old German started in karting and has proved his potential in
junior single seater racing, but above all with Mercedes-Benz
in the DTM where he drove from 2013 until 2015, breaking
record after record: He became the youngest debutant in
2013, the youngest race winner in 2014, followed by
becoming the youngest champion in 2015. In 2017 Wehrlein
will move on become a race driver with the Sauber F1 Team  
Marcus Ericsson.

Wehrlein drove in F1 last year for Manor Racing, scoring
one point.  Manor Racing may be kaput.
McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, England
German Pascal Wehrlein
Ecclestone Replaced as F1 CEO

Feb 4 - Former FIA president Max Mosley believes that
Liberty Media should have kept
Bernie Ecclestone in
charge of Formula 1 following its acquisition of the sport.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 two weeks ago, with
American executive
Chase Carey replacing Ecclestone as

Carey will run the sport alongside commercial chief
and sporting manager Ross Brawn, while
Ecclestone has been given the honorary position of
chairman emeritus.

Mosley ran F1 alongside Ecclestone during his time as FIA
president between 1993 and 2009, and believes that
Liberty has made a mistake by not keeping the 86-year-
old at the helm.

“I think it may be quite difficult [for Liberty]. I think what
[Ecclestone] was brilliant at was dealing with the
promoters and the organizers and the whole structure of
the championship,” Mosley told ITV News.

“For somebody new to come in without all the personal
relationships it may be difficult. If it had been me I’d have
kept him on doing the things that he’s demonstrably very
good at and concentrated my efforts on doing the things
that up to now have not been done, like interactive
television, virtual reality, social media, the internet and all
the rest of it.

“All of that’s been slightly neglected in Formula 1 and that’s
the sort of thing that Liberty will probably be very good at.”

Mosley was quick to praise Liberty’s decision to make
Brawn F1’s new sporting managing director, saying the ex-
Ferrari and Mercedes team boss will be of huge value to
the sport’s new owner.

“Ross completely understands the sport and he understands
what needs to be done and he’s got an absolutely first class
analytical brain,” Mosley said.

“I think he’ll be an enormous asset to them and that
[sporting] side isn’t really what Liberty should be doing.
Ross is outstanding so they made a good choice there.”
Tony Stewart partners with Schmidt
Peterson for Indy 500

Feb 7 - Did that title make you think Smoke was going to
return and run in the 500?

That's the conclusion I jumped to, before reading article
saying he's just a sponsor.

Darn.  That would have definitely been a big story.
Phoenix Testing - Day 2

Feb 11 - JR Hildebrand, who returns to a full-season
ride this year with Ed Carpenter Racing, claimed the
honor of best lap of the weekend at 193.234 mph
(19.0401 seconds) in the No. 21 Chevrolet. The lap
came early in this afternoon’s session and was better
than the track record established last year by Helio
. Hildebrand’s lap is not considered an
official record because it did not take place during
qualifications or the race.

Ed Carpenter, Hildebrand’s teammate and boss, had
the second-best overall lap of the weekend at 192.404
mph in the No. 20 Chevrolet, also logged in today’s
afternoon practice. The top five spots in the daytime
session were filled by Chevy cars, a day after the bowtie
brigade held the top four spots.

The night’s final practice – when cars were fitted into

race trim – saw five Honda entries at the top. Ryan
set the pace in the No. 28 for Andretti
Autosport at 189.716 mph.
Sebastien Bourdais was
second tonight in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing car at
189.495 mph. Honda cars claimed the first six positions

on the speed chart in Friday’s night practice.

Five Crashes Today
Less than five minutes into the afternoon session,
Alexander Rossi, last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner,
spun in the No. 98 Andretti Herta Honda and backed
into the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier.

Thirty minutes into the evening session,
Graham Rahal
had a similar spin and impact in the No. 15 RLL Honda.

With 30 minutes left in the night practice,
No. 2 Penske Chevrolet made light
contact with Sebastien Bourdais as they battled into
Turn 1. Both cars continued after touching and returned
to pit lane.

In the night’s final practice,
J.R. Hildebrand crashed
into the Turn 4 SAFER Barrier with less than 30 minutes
remaining in the three-hour session.

No drivers were injured.
Phoenix Testing - Day 1

Feb 10 - The newest driver for Team Penske ran the
fastest lap this afternoon in the opening session of a two-
day IndyCar Series open test at Phoenix Raceway. Driv
ing the No. 2 Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden’s top lap of
190.129 mph (19.3511 seconds) set the pace as the 21
drivers turned 910 laps in the first of four three-hour
practices on the 1-mile oval.

Alexander Rossi was the fastest Honda driver and fifth
overall during the afternoon session in the No. 98

Andretti Herta car (187.611).

Drivers with Honda engines and aero kits recorded the
six fastest laps of the three-hour evening practice, after
Chevrolet drivers nailed down the first four spots in the
afternoon session.

Tonight it was
Marco Andretti, driving the No. 27  
Andretti Autosport racer, who led the 21-car contingent
with a lap of 189.122 mph (19.4541 seconds).

He was followed by
Graham Rahal, whose best lap was
188.642 mph (19.5036 seconds). Rahal, in the No. 15
Honda.  Rahal also logged the fastest lap of any driver
tonight without benefit of a tow from a car in front, at
J.R. Hildebrand Fastest in Testing