Dario Franchitti out early at St. Pete

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Dario Franchitti is out of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg after hitting the wall at Turn 3 on Lap 18.

Franchitti had qualified 10th and had just made his first pit stop of the day before he slid up the corner and stuffed his No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda into the concrete barrier. Afterwards, the four-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion chalked it up to cold tires and driver error.

“We’ve really struggled with the car and that’s what I was just saying to [team owner] Chip [Ganassi],” he told NBC Sports Network. “I had to try and make it up somewhere and I just stepped over the line there. Cold tires, hit a bump in [Turn] 3 with the ride height being so low and the low tire pressures, and got in the marbles and hit the wall.

“[It was] totally my mistake. Just pushing too hard to get some kind of – get back on some kind of level peg somehow – and I stepped over the line.”

Franchitti also mentioned that the team was “a long, long way from where we need to be” in terms of making progress on the car.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do,” he said.

FIA returns Manor’s F1 entry fee for 2017

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Good news: Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited got a refund of an entry fee it paid to the FIA to run in this year’s F1 season.

Bad news: Manor still hasn’t run this year, and won’t be for the foreseeable future (especially as Manor’s former leadership staff is moving that team into FIA WEC’s new-look LMP1 class in addition to its LMP2 program).

Manor Group’s receivership outfit, Just Racing Services Limited, went into administration earlier this year. As there was no new buyer for the F1 team, Manor dropped from the 2017 grid before the season.

The FIA said it would return its entry fee to help Manor Group pay off outstanding debts.

It basically means nothing in the grand scheme of things since Manor missed out on 10th place in the constructor’s standings in 2016 and fell from the F1 grid as a result, but hey, it’s a goodwill gesture going into Thanksgiving this week.