February 2020 News
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Racing Point to Become Aston Martin F1
Works

Feb 3 - Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll bought the
Force India F1 team during the 2018 season, renaming it
Racing Point.  (The team consequently hired his son
Lance
Stroll
away from the Williams F1 team.)

Stroll now plans to buy 20% of Aston Martin and then
rename his F1 team after it beginning 2021.  I presume
the name will then disappear off of the Red Bull cars.

Under the deal, Stroll will pay £182 million for a 16.7%
stake, which could rise to 20% upon completion of the
company's plan.

Aston Martin, which I think makes the best looking
front-engined sports cars in the world, is mainly owned by
Italian and Kuwaiti private equity groups.  It came late to
the lucrative SUV market and has struggled to keep up with
rivals.
A New Xfinity Race at the Brickyard

Feb 4 - The NASCAR Nationwide series began racing on
the Indy speedway's oval track in 2012, in a race known as
the "Indiana 250."  The 100-Lap race was held the day
before the Brickyard 400.  

This year that race will be replaced by the "Pennzoil 150
at the Brickyard."

This new NASCAR Xfinity race will consist of 62 laps on
the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course that includes portions
of the oval track.

The three stage lengths are Laps 1-20;  Laps 21-40 and
Laps 41-62.

The Pennzoil 150 will start at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4 and
will be televised live on NBC.
Honda Is Stupid

Feb 4 - A local Indianapolis newspaper claims that
Fernando Alonso's attempt to join Andretti Motorsport
for this year’s Indy 500 was blocked by officials at
Honda's headquarters in Tokyo because they are holding a
grudge against the Spanish two-time Drivers World
Champion.  Andretti has not confirmed this story.

The grudge goes back five years ago when McLaren had
split with Mercedes and chose Honda engines for 2015.  
At the same time, Alonso left the Ferrari team and headed
to McLaren.

The car was slow and Alonso would finish a lowly 17th
in the standings.  During the year,  grumblings about the
Honda engine emanated from Woking.  Alonso too was
heard on the team radio complaining how slow the car
was.

McLaren and Alonso’s comments greatly angered the
Japanese company.  

After three lackluster years at McLaren Honda, the two-
time world champion quit Formula 1 altogether, although
he served as a brand ambassador for McLaren until the
end of last year.

McLaren has moved on and now runs Renault engines.  
Alonso has been racing in different race series around the
world.  But Honda is apparently still seething, and their
pettiness is only hurting them.

First off,  Alonso is an amazing driver and an international
star.  He is not only capable of winning the 500, but he is
certain to bring world-wide attention to any team he is on.  
Any organization would be stupid not to use him.

Secondly, if Honda would not have acted like a spoiled
cry baby and moved on, it would have been forgotten.
In fact, they could now point out that the Red Bull F1
team retained 3rd place in the constructors championship
last year after they had switched to Honda power and
McLaren is still performing poorly.

Alas Honda continue to stir the pot, riling race fans around
the globe while reminding everyone of their failure at
McLaren.
So now we have a giant foreign corporation (Honda)
extorting a little American company (Andretti Motorsport)
to punish one of the world’s great drivers out of
vindictiveness!

I am curious about the politics behind all of this.  What
power does Honda yield where they can tell a major league
team who they can't hire?  What is Honda going to do,
withdrawal their engines from the team?

Honda's actions sound like nothing more than extortion.

Does IndyCar condone that?  And if they do not, do they
have any recourse of penalizing Honda, other than kicking
them out of the series?

In Formula 1, we've seen huge multi-million dollar fines
levied on factory teams when they've been caught cheating.  
But would they too be at a loss to address unethical
conduct by an engine manufacturer?

For now, it doesn't look like we will see Alonso race in
the Indy 500.  It's sad and pathetic.
Silly Season - AJ Foyt Racing Adds Two
Drivers

Feb 5 - Last week A.J. Foyt Racing hired Tony Kanaan to
race the #14 Chevrolet in all five oval races on the 2020
IndyCar calendar.

Today the team announced the hiring of
Sébastien
Bourdais
and Dalton Kellett to pilot the car at the rest of
the races in the season.  In addition, a third car will be ran
at Indianapolis for Kellett, alongside full-time driver
Charlie Kimball in the #4 car and Kanaan.

Kellett has been racing in the Indy Lights series, most
recently for Juncos Racing.  He is 26 years-old and from
Toronto.  

Kellett will compete at COTA, Indy GP, Indy 500, Detroit,
Road America, Toronto, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca.

Bourdais will run at St. Petersburg, Birmingham, Long
Beach and Portland.
Kellett took 3rd-place in Toronto
last year in Indy Lights.
Silly Season - Chilton Stays with Carlin

Feb 7 - Carlin announced today that Max Chilton will be
back with them this season on all road/street courses in
2020 and the Indy 500.  He will pilot the No. 59 Gallagher
Racing Chevrolet.

Last summer, Chilton decided he didn't want to race on
ovals any longer due to the danger.  Apparently the Indy
500 is worth the risk.

Carlin has one full-time driver position to fill, left vacant by
Charlie Kimball.  It is the last spot open in the field.
Penske Announces Plans for IMS

Feb 14 - Since Jan. 6, following the change in ownership,
the IMS team moved quickly to implement significant
upgrades to the races and the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway.

Indianapolis 500 Purse
The event purse for the Indianapolis 500 will be the largest
in the history of the event. The purse will grow by $2
million to more than $15 million.

Indianapolis 500 Qualifying
Qualifying weekend will feature a variety of changes to its
format and broadcast to create even more memories and
drama. The Last Row Shootout is expanding to 75
minutes and multiple attempts per car will be allowed.

New Sponsors
Six new major sponsors include Pennzoil, Verizon,
Snap-on Tools, DEX Imaging, Road & Track magazine
and Global Medical Response.

Multimillion-Dollar Fan Experience Investment
More than 30 additional large-screen video boards will be
added, including 24 along the Paddock seating. All seven
large infield big-screen monitors will receive a running order
addition.

A video board, measuring 100 feet wide by 20 feet tall,
will be installed at the base of the Pagoda facing the
Pagoda Plaza.

Verizon will provide IMS with commercial 5G service that
will enhance both the consumer experience and track
operations.

Pedestrian traffic on Georgetown Road will be widened by
two lanes.
More than 125 restrooms are being renovated inside IMS.

New pavement will be added to the Parcel B lot near the
IMS Main Gate.

Approximately 3 miles of fencing will be added to the entire
grounds.

The winning driver and car will be elevated to the same
level as the Victory Podium after each major race.

Night light signage will be installed over Gates 1 and 2,
while IMS will assume responsibility for the beautification
project along Crawfordsville Road.

More picnic tables will be added throughout the grounds
as well as more flags.
Roger Penske promises everything will
be done before the gates open in May.
Rookie McLaughlin Will Race for Penske
in GMR Grand Prix

Feb 3 - Team Penske has decided to give their 26 y/o Virgin
Australia Supercars driver,
Scott McLaughlin, a try at
IndyCars.

They are running him in pre-season testing and putting him
in their fourth IndyCar at the GMR Grand Prix in May, a
car
Helio Castroneves thought he would be driving.

McLaughlin has been a dominant force in the Supercars
world, having won each of the last two series titles for DJR
Team Penske, along with a race win in the Bathurst 1000,
Australia's most prestigious race. In his three seasons with
DJR Team Penske, he's produced 35 victories and 44 poles.
He has been the driving force behind the team's own titles in
2017 and 2019. A year ago, he set the series record with 18
wins and led the series with 15 poles and 22 podium finishes.
Scott McLaughlin - Team Penske
Hinchcliffe Finds a Team!

Feb 19 - After getting dumped unceremoniously by
McLaren over the winter,
James Hinchcliffe found a new
sponsor that would enable him to race in the Indy 500 if he
could find a ride.

Today he joined Andretti Autosport and will compete at the
GMR Grand Prix at the Brickyard and the Texas Indy 600
in addition to the Indy 500.

Hinchcliffe replaced
Danica Patrick at Andretti in 2012
and drove three seasons for them.
James Hinchcliffe at the gym
New F1 Tech From Mercedes

Feb 21 - As the Formula 1 teams gathered in Barcelona for
the first testing sessions of the year, video from Lewis
Hamilton's onboard cameras revealed something strange.  
It appeared that he was pushing and pulling his steering
wheel forward and backward as he drove.

The media and other teams were greatly surprised and all
have been studying the video intensely.

It is guessed that this is a mechanical device which controls
the tow angle of the front wheels.  The media are calling it
Dual-Action-Steering or DAS for short.

As a car goes down the straight, the front wheels are towed
out and their tow angle straighten as the brak
es are applied
for a corner.  This provides better turning response.  
However tow out also means less
straight-line stability and
speed as well as more tire wear.


Perhaps with this device,
the tow-angle can be optimized by
the driver for either straight-line acceleration or corner
breaking, with less wear on the tires.


Time will tell what effects this new technology will have
and if other teams will be racing to catch up!