The start of the IMSA SportsCar championship comes as a welcome relief to motorsport fans feeling deprived following a quiet winter. The historic Daytona 24 Hours rarely fails to deliver competitive action and thrilling conclusions throughout the classes.
In 2018, the IMSA curtain raiser promises to attract even more eyeballs courtesy of an unprecedented invasion of talent from single-seater disciplines, all looking to test their mettle against sportscars elite names.
Sport does a really bad job of remembering those who finish second, even when their defeat is dealt by the smallest of margins. However, Felipe Massa is somewhat of an exception, having been one half of a 2008 world championship tussle that will surely be remembered as long as racing cars lap racing circuits.
Last week, Massa announced that the final two races of the 2017 season will be his last in Formula 1. A familiar position following his announcement last season that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2016 campaign, only to be recalled just weeks later as Williams needed a late replacement for the Mercedes-bound Bottas.
With Massa already setting his sights on other categories, the chances of a second return to F1 range between slim and none. All-out for 15 years at the pinnacle of motorsport, 11 victories, 41 podiums and a starring role in the most dramatic sporting spectacle F1 will likely ever host.
Despite 2018’s front running seats being locked down by their incumbents, it appears that a midfield shuffle is about to be triggered by Carlos Sainz Jr. Bizarrely, it would seem that power unit politics is the factor that is set to fuel a move for Sainz from Toro Rosso to Renault for 2018.
It is a switch which makes perfect sense, as it benefits all five parties that are either directly or indirectly involved; Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso, the beleaguered McLaren and – most poignantly – Sainz himself.
Given that the summer break has starved Formula 1 fans of concrete news stories over the past few weeks, silly season speculation has been rife. While much of the discussion can be filed under far-fetched fan fiction, the rumours surrounding Fernando Alonso seem somewhat substantiated.
In reality, speculation regarding Alonso’s future has been a news feature ever since the disappointing McLaren Honda MCL-32 rolled out of the garage – and was swiftly rolled back into the garage – on the opening day of 2017 pre-season testing.
It is entirely possible that Alonso is now considering the very real prospect of a tilt at IndyCar in 2018.
A common trait of seemingly all motorsport fans is a desire to reminisce. It’s hardly surprising when you consider how richly diverse and intriguing history is in almost all categories.
After all, football has always been about two goals and one ball, but in motorsport, the goalposts have always been moving as technologies have come and gone and driver and team mentalities and priorities have evolved.
For those who love a trip down memory lane, 28th May is going to be a great occasion. Not only will Fernando Alonso become the first active F1 driver to compete in the Indy 500 this century, but he will once again go toe-to-toe with his old adversary Juan-Pablo Montoya.
It’s a battle they both seem to be eagerly anticipating.
After countless clues growing more and more obvious as launch day drew closer, McLaren somewhat spoilt the surprise for the moment that they finally revealed a primarily orange MCL32. Despite many being sceptical of the livery, I’m a fan. Call it a Spyker, Arrows or Marussia, it’s a flash of colour on the 2017 grid and that should be welcomed.
McLaren will hope the new look can brighten up the mood at Woking following several seasons of woe. The once great team enter a critical season in 2017. They missed a trick at the last regulation change and need to be quick out of the blocks this time to avoid a repeat performance.
Don’t bet against this kind of McLaren resurgence this season. This is a new look team for 2017 and here’s why.