Webber: Ferrari planning long-term move for Vettel

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Red Bull driver Mark Webber believes that Ferrari are planning a move for three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the future, with the recent signing of Kimi Raikkonen being a solution in the short-term.

The Italian team is currently in the middle of a drought, having failed to win either championship since 2008 despite the arrival of star driver Fernando Alonso in 2010. However, with the signing of Raikkonen for 2014, the policy of having a designated number one and number two driver appears to have disappeared at Maranello, but Webber believes that this merely a short-term solution to the team’s poor form.

“For lots of reasons Ferrari need to be winning again in Formula 1,” Webber explained to Sky Sports. “It has to happen so this is the first step forward for them to get the team back in [form]. Constructors’ is important, Ferrari winning that, and then the drivers’ Championship as well. So those two things have got to come together.”

He then went on to suggest that Raikkonen is merely a stop-gap for Ferrari before signing Vettel.

“Two years for probably both of them actually I think. And then what they do after that, obviously, pick Seb up off the back of Red Bull and they keep moving from there.

“But it [signing Raikkonen] is a very short-term aggressive statement from Ferrari to put the team at the front.”

Aged 34, Raikkonen is approaching the end of his Formula One career, with his Ferrari deal taking him to his 36th birthday. Therefore, the team may see this as a chance to get to the front and then have the form to make a move for Vettel, who has raced just once for a team outside of the Red Bull setup (one race for BMW Sauber in 2007).

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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