Mark Miles: Indy road course would be improved

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Continuing to think about using the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course for an IZOD IndyCar Series event in 2014, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles has said that improvements would be made to the 2.6-mile circuit if such an event comes to fruition.

According to The Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin, Miles isn’t ready yet to commit to the race and has shied away from the idea of tagging it as the season finale. However, he calls the potential event “a solid business venture” and says his organization is willing to put in the money needed to improve the infield section of Indy’s not-so-highly regarded road course, which has hosted Formula One, MotoGP and GRAND-AM (pictured) over the years. The course utilizes Turn 4 and the frontstretch of the Brickyard’s famous oval.

“We will certainly spend money to make improvements, make it a better example of that genre,” Miles said according to Cavin.

Miles also indicated that he’d like to use the potential IMS road race as part of a three-race ending to the season; a three-race “playoff” was one of the suggestions made by Boston Consulting Group earlier this year toward the Hulman-George family on how to raise IndyCar’s profile (although that suggestion did have the IMS road race designated as the season finale).

In particular, Miles would like each of the three races to emphasize the different disciplines of the series — ovals, road courses and street courses — and have more importance overall as well.

“We want to put more points for the championship on those three, we want to have great television coverage, and we want to have more money at stake,” said Miles.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”