Symonds suggests Marussia-Ferrari deal is close

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Marussia technical director Pat Symonds has suggested that a deal with Ferrari is close, with the Italian marque keen on supplying more teams with engines in 2014.

The backmarkers have made a good start to the 2013 season, with its charge led by Ferrari Driver Academy member Jules Bianchi. This tie-in appears to have made an engine agreement more possible, although Symonds admitted that Marussia are considering every possible option.

“Both Ferrari and Mercedes have been very positive with us,” Symonds told Sky Sports. “I say it’s near, because if it’s not then we’re not going to have a car. My original target for getting a 2014 engine deal was the end of May.

“But it was the end of May 2012. So we are behind where we want to be.”

Symonds also revealed that Renault had shot down a possible partnership, citing that they were already supplying enough teams.

“Renault have made it clear they’ve got enough on their plate.”

He also said that Bianchi’s efforts with the team have aided negotiations.

“It absolutely hasn’t done us any harm, it’s brought us a little bit closer to Ferrari. I think that they wanted another team anyway and the contact through Jules has done nothing but help.”

Marussia’s start to the season has certainly been impressive, although the gap to Caterham in Bahrain will have been cause for concern. However, with Ferrari power looking likely for next season, the future could be very bright for the Anglo-Russian team indeed.

Power, Newgarden, Dixon fastest in first of 2 IndyCar practices today at Barber Motorsports Park

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Will Power was fastest in Friday’s first of two IndyCar practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park.

Power covered the 2.3-mile permanent road course in 1:07.5987 minutes at 122.488 mph in the 45-minute practice session.

Even though he spun off the course during his session, Phoenix winner Josef Newgarden still managed to be second-fastest (121.919 mph at 1:07.9141 minutes), followed by Scott Dixon (121.296 mph/1:082627), Max Chilton (121.251 mph/1:08.2882) and Ed Jones (121.215 mph/1:09.5692).

 

Sixth through 10th were Simon Pagenaud (121.208 mph/1:08.3122), Jordan King (121.113 mph/1:083661), Graham Rahal (121.059 mph/1:08.3964), St. Petersburg winner Sebastien Bourdais (121.029 mph/1:08.4131) and rookie Zach Veach (121.014 mph/1:08.4216).

Here’s the full speed chart:

Incidents:

* Early in the session, Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi ran off the track and into the grass, striking a small sign, but was able to get back on-track. However, Rossi was only able to complete 10 laps, relegating him to 20th-fastest in the 23-car field.

* Moments later, it appeared the rear brakes locked up on Newgarden heading into Turn 5, spinning him into the gravel trap. He was able to get going and returned to the pits for service and was back on-track with less than four minutes remaining in the session.

ALSO OF NOTE:

* The second practice session of the day will begin at 3:50 p.m. ET. A third practice will take part Saturday morning at 10:50 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The race, to be televised live Sunday on NBCSN, is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

* However, weather forecast does not look promising for Sunday’s race. As of 1 p.m. ET today, the forecast calls for 100 percent rain throughout the day.

* Dixon has had an incredible record at Barber Motorsports Park, with seven podium finishes in eight starts there. Except for one thing: he has yet to win a race there. But he does have five runner-up and two other third-place showings on the permanent road course.

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