October 2019 News
RACE NEWS & VIEWS
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IndyCars New Safety Windshield

Oct 3 - When Formula 1 stuck a giant sandals-toe-strap to
the top of their cars for cockpit protection, I thought it
looked dumb and made their cars uglier.  I was thankful
that IndyCar was looking at an attractive, low windshield
option being developed by PPG Aerospace.
[see
Feb 9, 2018 News]

For some reason, IndyCar began working with Red Bull
Advanced Technologies to develop a different system and
this is the hideous result.  

Apparently it has already been decided that these
monstrosities will be attached to all IndyCars at the
beginning of the 2020 season.

IndyCar drivers
Scott Dixon and Will Power tested the
RBAT aeroscreen at the Indy Speedway this week.

They both felt it made them feel much safer.  Dixon also
commented on how it reduces wind buffeting and noise,
“now it’s almost like you’re in a road car driving around.”

How much more difficult this aeroscreen makes it for the
driver to get in and out of the car was not mentioned.

The device has a titanium framework with three
attachment points, like Formula One's.  

The polycarbonate windshield removes the wind's cooling
affects so a cockpit-cooling duct will be installed.

The car will be tested further by different IndyCar drivers
at other tracks over the next 30 days.
Now it's Formula 1 Fans' Turn to Laugh!
Ganassi Adds 3rd IndyCar

Oct 9 - Currently driving for Chip Ganassi Racing is 5-Time
IndyCar Champion
Scott Dixon and 2019 IndyCar 'Rookie
of the Year'
Felix Rosenqvist.

Since shrinking the team to two cars in 2017, Ganassi was
been beaten badly by the 3-car Team Penske this year.

Ganassi will be adding a third car for 2020.  They have
hired
Marcus Ericsson to pilot.  After five years driving in
Formula 1, Ericsson drove for SPM in IndyCar this year.

Ericsson and Rosenvist are both Swedish and in their late
20s.
Ericsson did not have a great first year, especially when
compared to some other rookies.  Other than a 2nd-place
finish in Detroit, his only other top-10 finishes were a
couple 7th-places.  Discounting crashes and a mechanical
problem, his team-mate
James Hinchcliffe beat him 9 out
of 10 races.

I'm curious as to why Ganassi hired him instead of Santino
Ferucci or Gabby Chavez.  Was Pato O'Ward, Sage
Karem or Conor Daly considered?

Or, for that matter, hire Hinchcliffe!
Having an open-cockpit is as iconic to IndyCar as not having fenders.  

With their full rollcages, stock cars are far safer than IndyCars.  
If driver safety is more important to IndyCar than preserving what IndyCar is,
what would happen if they just slapped a stock car cockpit onto an IndyCar?  See for yourself:
(To my surprise, it actually looks less stupid than what IndyCar is planning!)
Make Believe - A NASCAR cockpit grafted onto an IndyCar
F1 Japanese Grand Prix

Oct 13 - Due to a typhoon blowing into Japan on Saturday,
practice 3 was cancelled and qualifying was moved to
Sunday.   Ferrari qualified on the front row, Mercedes the
2nd, and Red Bull the 3rd.

At the start of the Japanese Grand Prix,
Sebastian Vettel
had a stutter-start, which allowed
Valtteri Bottas to blow
by him in his Mercedes and take the lead.

Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc and Leclerc lost
control in Turn two while trying to keep up with him.  He
slid and hit Verstappen knocking him off course, forcing
him to the end of the field.  

Leclerc sustained wing damage, but did not pit.  A piece
fell off and sprayed the cars behind him, even taking a
mirror off of
Lewis Hamilton’s car.  Now that the broken
pieces had fallen off, Ferrari told Leclerc to stay out.  The
stewards then notified Ferrari to make him come in for
inspection.  This moved Leclerc to the back, but he drove
back to finish 6th.  However, the stewards gave him a 5-
second penalty for colliding with Verstappen as well as two
penalty points on his license.  Then they gave him a 10-
second penalty for not pitting on lap 1 and fined Ferrari
€25,000. The combined penalty dropped Leclerc to 7th.

The damage sustained to Verstappen’s car in the incident
resulted with him pulling into his garage on lap 14, out of
the race.

Bottas maintained the lead during the race, except during
pitting.  Vettel was able to hold on to 2nd place with
Hamilton coming in 3rd.  This was Bottas’s first win since
Azerbaijan in April.

The sole remaining Red Bull of
Alex Albon came home
P4, while a brilliant race from
Carlos Sainz saw the
McLaren driver finish fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo started from P16, but converted that to
7th by the race end, which became 6th after Leclerc's
penalty.

A unique error helped
Sergio Perez.  He crashed on lap
53, the last lap of the race.  However, the checkered flag
light came on a lap too soon which meant the race was
declared a lap early.  So, Perez has been credited with
P9.  This also moved
Lance Stroll to P11 and out of the
points.

Hamilton got a point for the fastest lap, which helped
clinch the Manufacture’s Championship for Mercedes.  
This is Mercedes 6th championship in a row, breaking
the record Ferrari held:  5-in-a-row between 2000-2004.

The Mercedes drivers pulled far enough ahead in points
that the only person capable of beating Hamilton for the
championship is his team-mate Bottas.
A neat new graphic
appeared on  coverage
of the F1 race at Suzuka.

It shows the condition,
type and number of laps
on a car's tires.

Very cool!
F1 Silly Season Begins

Oct 26 - Current Williams Racing driver Robert Kubica,
who made a comeback to Formula 1 this season after
suffering devastating injuries in a rally crash back in 2011,
announced last month that he will not be returning to
Williams for the 2020 season.

Williams have already confirmed that
George Russell, the
rookie teammate to the 34-year-old Pole, is set to return to
the team next season.

Current Formula 2 and Williams reserve and test driver
Nicholas Latifi has been tipped to replace Kubica next
season.  The 24-year-old Canadian is the son of McLaren
co-owner and billionaire
Michael Latifi.  He is testing for
Williams in the first practices at the Mexico, US and Brazil
grand prix this year.  Latifi currently sits in 2nd place in the
Formula 2 standings.

Meanwhile,
Nico Hulkenberg will likely be replaced at
Renault next year by
Esteban Ocon.  Williams may try to
get him to fill Kubica's seat next year.
Nicholas Latifi
Verstappen Penalized in Qualifying

Oct 26 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen won the pole for the
Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix today.  

While Verstappen was qualifying,  Mercedes driver
Valtteri Bottas lost control, went wide and scraped along
the wall, in the process, cutting some wire that is part of
the alert system.  That kept the caution lights along the
track and in the cockpits from coming on, however
yellow flags were still waved. Verstappen did not slow
down when he passed Bottas because he says he did not
see the flags.

FIA officials said that none the less, a yellow flag was
waved.  They penalized Verstappen, dropping him back
three places on the grid.  This moved Ferrari's
Charles
Leclerc
to pole.

If Verstappen had slowed, he would still have had pole as
his first lap had been fast enough to secure it.  The time
was not thrown out though and it is a new track record.
Valtteri Bottas Crash
The Mexican Grand Prix

Oct 27 - Lewis Hamilton won the Mexican Grand Prix
with a superbly controlled drive in a tactical fight with
Ferrari to move to the brink of the world title.

Hamilton triumphed in a tense, slow-burn race of divergent
strategies between the four Mercedes and Ferrari drivers.

Ferrari's
Sebastian Vettel was second, ahead of Valtteri
Bottas
and Charles Leclerc.

The four men closed up in the final laps as their different
tactics came together.

Vettel had tires that were 14 laps fresher than Hamilton's
for the climax to the race, but the reigning champion was
more than capable of holding the Ferrari back.

Red Bull's
Max Verstappen suffered a puncture after
executing a typically ambitious overtake

In the closing laps, as Vettel was urged on by Ferrari,
Hamilton was able to hold his advantage at just over two
seconds and take his 10th win in 18 races this season.

The divergent strategies meant that for the third race in a
row Ferrari had turned first and second on the grid into a
poorer race result.

A chaotic first lap took Verstappen out of the picture, the
Dutchman dropping to ninth place as he tangled with
Hamilton, who had an oversteer moment as they disputed
third behind the Ferraris at Turn Two.

On the run down to the first corner, Hamilton, who started
fourth, had been challenging Vettel for second behind
Leclerc, but was edged on to the grass by the Ferrari.

Ferrari had the one-two positions they would have wanted
at the end of the first lap but somehow they still conspired
to lose the race.

The first error was pitting Leclerc out of the lead on lap 15
when they did not need to.

That ruined Leclerc's race and consigned him to a fourth
place finish as the two Mercedes drivers and Vettel ran
long and committed to one-stop strategies.

With Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas running one-two-three,
the key then was whose one-stop would triumph and
Mercedes' decision to pit Hamilton early in a successful
attempt to get ahead of Vettel into the lead was critical.

When Hamilton stopped on lap 23, leaving him 48 laps to
go to the flag, Vettel decided to surrender the lead and stay
out, with Bottas doing the same behind him to cover their
bases.

Verstappen recovered to finish sixth.

Mexican
Sergio Perez finished seventh in his home grand
prix.
IndyCar Silly Season - McLaren

Oct 30 - McLaren's desire to re-enter the IndyCar series
culminated in them partnering with Schmidt Peterson
Motorsports (SPM) with Arrow sponsorship for 2020.

A new driver line-up was announced by Arrow McLaren
SP today.  

Earlier this month, SPM's 2019 rookie,
Marcus Ericsson,
moved to Chip Ganassi Racing.  That left
James
Hinchcliffe
at SPM, who had a contract for next year.

McLaren has bought out Hinchcliffe's contract and hired
two 20 y/o drivers who performed well in Indy Lights.

One driver is
Pato O'Ward, whom I am happy to see
return to IndyCar.  In 2018, he won nine Indy Lights
races, compared to Colton Herta's four victories.  
O'Ward only ran the first part of his rookie year in Indy
Car and then left for Japan's Super Formula.

McLaren also signed
Oliver Askew, the reigning Indy
Lights champion.  (He barely edged
Vinus VeeKay.for
the 2019 championship. VK also won five races the
previous year in Indy Pro 2000 compared to Askew's one
victory there.)

Unfortunately for Hinchcliffe, several pecuniary things
have come together to oust him from the team.  

First off, Askew brings a million dollar sponsorship from
Indy Lights.

Secondly, Hinch's main sponsor is Canadian Honda, and
McLaren has switched SPM's engine supplier to
Chevrolet.  
Pato O'Ward & Oliver Askew
So, Hinch likely needs to go to a team that uses Honda
engines.  These teams are Andretti, Dale Coyne, Ganassi,
Rahal and fledgling Meyer Shank Racing, who is only
running a part-time schedule.

Discounting MSR, the only driver I see who might be on
the chopping block is
Zach Veach, who has driven for
Andretti during his first two years in Indycar.  His average
finish in 2018 was 14th.  This year his average dropped to
15.8.  

However, Hinch already drove for Andretti - between
2012-2014.  Would they hire him back?
New F1 Rules for 2021

Oct 31 - For the first time ever, Formula 1 will introduce
spending restrictions to make the sport fairer and more
sustainable. A cost cap will be set at $175m per team, per
year, and applies to anything that covers on-track
performance – but excludes marketing costs, the salaries of
drivers, and of the top three personnel at any team.

An auditing team will be created to monitor the teams'
expenses.  Penalties for exceeding the spending cap vary
widely - from point reductions, lowering of salary cap,
financial penalty to bans from races and even exclusion
from the championship.

Changes to the car include simpler front wings and
suspension, bigger rear wings and low-profile tires on 18-
inch wheels.  The goal is to allow the cars to race closer
and make it easier to pass.

There will be some small changes to the weekend schedule
and the maximum number of races per season will be raised
to 25.