|ART Grand Prix||Gary Paffett||Lucas Auer|
|HWA AG||Paul Di Resta||Robert Wickens|
|HWA AG||Christian Vietoris||Pascal Wehrlein|
|Mücke Motorsport||Daniel Juncadella||Maximilian Götz|
Robert Wickens: “I’m all fired up for the 2015 campaign. Everyone at Mercedes Benz is highly motivated and keen to have a good season, especially in view of the way the 2014 season ended. We’ve all worked hard over the winter. We’re ready to go and will do everything we can to have a really strong 2015 season.”
Today’s announcement by BAND that the March 8INDYCAR race in Brasília was cancelled was both unexpected and disappointing. INDYCAR had received every indication that the race was already a success: Two-thirds of the seats available for the event had already been sold; a title sponsor for the event (ITAIPAVA) was announced yesterday; hospitality was sold out; and track construction was progressing and scheduled to be complete in time for the event. Although we have not received formal confirmation from our partners in Brazil regarding the cancellation, economically INDYCAR is protected and the paddock is protected from such action.
KV Racing Technology issued the following statements regarding the naming of vice-president of competition Brian Barnhart as IndyCar race director.
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the No. 11 Team MISTIC E-Cigs and Team HYDROXYCUT – KVSH Racing Chevrolet/Dallara/Firestone entry:
“Following Beaux Barfield’s departure from INDYCAR’s race control, I think everybody was wondering who would take over. Yesterday, it was announced that Brian Barnhart will be back and I have to say, in my opinion, that it makes perfect sense and is the right decision. First, Brian knows the INDYCAR organization very well, having held several positions over the years. Second, he has worked with and knows all the teams and drivers. Third, he has a tremendous amount of experience at race control having served as the Race Director in the past and as part of the three-steward’s panel during the 2014 season. Finally, as I often said, the Race Director’s position is the worst job in the series because no matter what decision you make someone will always think you are wrong. That being said, Brian is a very sensible person. He is easy to talk to and never afraid to accept blame if things go wrong, which makes it great to work under his command. For all of the reasons above, I fully support the decision to make Brian the Race Director and welcome his return!”
Jimmy Vasser, co-owner KV Racing Technology and 1996 Series Champion:
“Brian Barnhart is the right man for the job of Race Director. He knows the series, knows the teams and drivers and most importantly, knows racing. The last time he held the position he was doing double and sometimes triple duty which is an impossible task. Now with the three-steward’s panel system in place, Brian will have the proper support. On behalf of the entire KV Racing Technology organization and myself, I can say we look forward to his stewardship.”
Barnhart named INDYCAR Race Director
INDIANAPOLIS (January 28, 2015) – INDYCAR announced today that Vice President of Competition Brian Barnhart has been named Race Director and will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series’ three-steward Race Control system in 2015. Barnhart was a key member of the INDYCAR Race Control system implemented in 2014 that stipulates all in-race penalties are decided by a two-thirds vote among the respective stewards officiating each event.
“We believe that based on his extensive experience in Race Control, combined with the three-steward system, Brian Barnhart is a good fit as INDYCAR Race Director,” said Derrick Walker, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “The process allows the Race Director to focus on running the race, without the double-duty of reviewing multiple replays and simultaneously trying to make a call. In terms of determining penalties our process defines that a majority vote amongst the three stewards is required, which ensures a jury-like process. Last year we found that this was a fair system when making difficult judgment calls.”
Barnhart was a Race Control steward throughout the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season and was previously INDYCAR Race Director from 1997-2011.
“This is a position and a role that I’ve done for a number of years and I take a great deal of pride in being Race Director of the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Barnhart said. “One of the things that excites me the most is the steward system we implemented last year. That was a great advancement in how we review and make discretionary decisions, and having that assistance in making calls is a big improvement to the way we officiate INDYCAR events.”
As Vice President of Competition, Barnhart oversees the Race Control staff, the sporting regulations of the rulebook, the Holmatro Safety Team and medical personnel, security and INDYCAR Timing and Scoring. He has been a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR since 1994.
“The technological improvements we’ve made in Race Control have expanded the amount of information available to us,” Barnhart said. “The additional cameras, the replay system and assistance from other stewards provide us with additional tools to do our job better. I’m excited about this opportunity and look forward to doing it again.”
INDYCAR’s Race Control system allows any of the three stewards to call for a review of a potential on-track incident. Upon review the stewards will deliberate on the violation using all available resources – which includes video replays, timing and scoring data and rulebook references – in rendering their decision. Following the review each race steward votes for, or against, the issuance of a penalty and the majority vote then decides if a penalty is issued. Once that determination is made the senior steward, as determined by Walker before each race, dictates the severity of each penalty.
I always enjoyed interviewing Jeff Gordon. He was open with me, thoughtful about issues and blunt when needed. Mostly, he was and is simply a consummate professional.
I also feel that I had a pretty good working relationship with him (well, Jeff and his public relations guy Jon Edwards may have another view but I think it was ok). Upon hearing that he plans to cut back his racing at the end of 2015, it struck a chord.
It all goes back to the first time I interviewed him. At the time, I was early in my career as a motorsport journalist and wanted to interview one of NASCAR’s biggest stars at the Brickyard 400. It was mid-June (if I recall correctly) and the race was in a few weeks.
I didn’t know anyone in the NASCAR and needed help. I had met an Associated Press auto racing writer named Mike Harris at the other events like the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Molson Indy races in Toronto and Vancouver, and the Indianapolis 500, so I decided that since he covered NASCAR too, I’d ask for a bit of advice.
I sent Mike a note saying that I was hoping to get an interview with Jeff Gordon at the Brickyard and if he could give me a bit of assistance. Who do I need to contact and what do I need to know or say to ensure I have a god chance of securing some time with him, I asked.
Mike responded in minutes and gave me the contact info I needed for Gordon’s PR man Jon and told me to make sure that Jon knew I got his email address from him. He also warned me that Jeff’s schedule filled up quickly and not to be discouraged if it didn’t happen.
I sent off a note to Jon explaining what I wanted, that Mike had suggested I get in touch, and then kept my fingers crossed for a positive response. I recall it was the same day or perhaps the next day when Jon responded and said he would put some time aside for me.
I was overjoyed. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the arranged time, Jeff was nowhere to be found, nor was Jon. I waited. And waited. And waited.
Just when I thought I would never get the interview, Jon arrived saying Jeff had been held up and could I return later. He told me that Jeff had a bigger block of time to chat later and if I came back I could have more than just a few minutes with him. Of course I agreed and returned at the appointed time.
When I came back, both were waiting for me and I was brought into Jeff’s hauler (it’s not a transporter in NASCAR). Jon left us alone for the interview and Jeff and I sat down for almost an hour. We talked about a whole bunch of things and I was impressed by Jeff’s candor and thoughtfulness on many different topics. The interview ended when Jon came in, apologised, and said Jeff had a sponsor commitment. I was told to get in touch if I needed anything else.
I remember walking away thinking: “Need anything else? I just had an hour with NASCAR’s biggest star.”
As soon as I took my seat in the media centre, Mike came over and asked how things went and if Jeff was good to me. I told Mike that I had an hour with Jeff and thanked him again for everything. He simply sighed and said: “You obviously don’t need my help; I never get that much time with him.”
Later, I found out from another journalist that Mike had also sent a note to Jon, asking if he would make sure I got time with Jeff. It was also made clear that it was huge deal to have Mike reach out. To me, Mike was just a colleague I met who was friendly and helpful. I was told that as the Associated Press’ main motorsport writer, Mike was massively influential and it’s likely the only reason that Jon agreed to my interview request was because of him.
That interview helped lay the foundation of a good relationship with Jon and Jeff which continues to this day, even if I don’t speak to them as often as I would like now that my focus (and my reader’s preference) is more geared toward Formula One and open wheel. Since that first encounter, all I ever needed to do was send Jon an email and ask for some time on the phone with Jeff (with appropriate lead time) and he makes it happen.
Even years later, Mike would never admit that his influence had anything to do with my getting that first interview with Jeff. I know now that Mike’s kindness and selflessness is a trait that is reflected in everything he does. He is just that kind of person.
Jeff Gordon’s stepping away from racing made me think about that first interview again and the collegiality of Mike Harris that made it happen. He is one in a million and I am humbled to call him a colleague and honoured to count him among my friends.
Jan. 21: Force India (Mexico City, Mexico)
Jan. 29: McLaren (online)
Jan. 30: Ferrari (Maranello, Italy)
Jan. 31: Toro Rosso (Jerez, Spain)
Feb. 1: Mercedes (Jerez, Spain)
With Formula One’s first pre-season test less than a month away, teams are beginning to announce their car launches ion preparation for the official start of the 2015 season.
Force India was the first to announce its car launch, pegging the unveiling of the VMJ08 on Jan. 21 at the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City.
Now Ferrari and McLaren have joined in, with the both going for digital launches.
McLaren tweeted Thursday that it has chosen Jan. 29 to launch its 2015 challenger, but will introduce the MP4-30 online rather than in a physical location, while Ferrari will show off its new racer on the Scuderia’s website and on its digital and social platforms a day later.
The cars will make their track debuts in the first winter test session at Spain’s Jerez de la Frontera Circuit Feb. 1-4.