UPDATE – Further report on Schumacher set for Monday morning

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UPDATE (6:47 p.m. ET) : British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports is now reporting that an update from Grenoble on Michael Schumacher’s condition is set for Monday morning at 5 a.m. ET (10 a.m. in the United Kingdom).

UPDATE (5:37 p.m. ET): Jennie Gow, a presenter for Formula One coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live, has posted a series of statements from the doctors in Grenoble, Schumacher’s manager, and Schumacher’s press secretary.

UPDATE (5:05 p.m. ET): Reports from multiple outlets, including Agence France-Presse, confirm that management for Michael Schumacher and the University Hospital of Grenoble (France) has said the Formula One legend is in critical condition and that he is also in a coma which required an “immediate neurosurgical operation.”

Per the BBC, the hospital’s statement on the situation was signed by its deputy director, its neurosurgeon, and the professor in charge of its anesthesia and revival unit.

UPDATE (4:02 p.m. ET): While we await official word from Michael Schumacher’s management team on his condition, French radio station RMC is now reporting that, according to a medical source, Schumacher has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and is now in critical condition at the hospital in Grenoble, France.

Again, we must stress that we are still waiting for an official statement from Schumacher’s group. As soon as it is released, we will pass it along to you.

UPDATE (2:10 p.m. ET): Various reports are now saying that a further update on the condition of Michael Schumacher will be released by his management team shortly.

Initial reports had a press conference taking place at the hospital in Grenoble, France, where Schumacher was taken after he sustained a head injury this morning while skiing in the nearby town of Meribel. However, that will not be the case, apparently.

Seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher has been injured in a skiing accident in France. According to reports from Sky and the BBC, he has suffered a minor head injury after hitting his head on a rock.

Schumacher, 44, was wearing a helmet and did not appear to lose consciousness while skiing in the town of Meribel. After the incident, he has been transported to hospital via helicopter.

Christophe Gernignon-Lecomte, director general of Meribel ski resort, did not know the severity of the incident but explained the situation to French media outlets.

“For the moment I don’t know the severity of the injury,” he said to French radio station RMC, via Sky. “The gendarmes are at the scene investigating how the accident happened. He was taken by helicopter to Grenoble Hospital. I don’t know if it happened on piste or off piste.”

Past 10:30 a.m. ET, an update from Schumacher’s PR: “Michael fell on his head..He was taken to hospital and is receiving medical attention.”

Schumacher has long enjoyed skiing as one of his main activities outside of driving. His first retirement from F1 came in 2006; he returned for a three-year stint with Mercedes from 2010 to 2012, with limited success.

IndyCar’s 2018 full-field grid nearing completion

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Following Wednesday’s confirmation of the all-Canadian tandem at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, each of the eight full-time teams in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season have announced at least one driver for 2018, leaving very few remaining question marks.

What stands confirmed is below:

CONFIRMED

  • Team Penske (3, Chevrolet): Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power
  • Chip Ganassi Racing (1, Honda): Scott Dixon
  • Andretti Autosport (4, Honda): Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2, Honda): Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (2, Honda): James Hinchcliffe, Robert Wickens
  • Ed Carpenter Racing (2, Chevrolet): Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter (ovals)
  • A.J. Foyt Enterprises (1, Chevrolet): Tony Kanaan
  • Dale Coyne Racing (1, Honda): Sebastien Bourdais
  • Harding Racing (1, Chevrolet): Gabby Chaves

There are four additional drivers confirmed for selected races or an month of May program:

  • Team Penske (1, Chevrolet): Helio Castroneves
  • Andretti Autosport (1, Honda): Stefan Wilson
  • Calmels Sport with SPM (1, Honda): Tristan Gommendy
  • Team TBD (1, TBD): Kyle Kaiser

All told that’s 17 full-season driver and team combinations confirmed and four additional part-time programs, at least, that are set. Several of those driver/team combinations will have engineering and strategist changes, as well.

In a minor note since our last update at Sonoma, Marco Andretti confirmed he won’t run No. 27 next year. Of note, Bryan Herta served as Andretti’s race strategist this year, although the car he was an entrant on was Alexander Rossi’s No. 98 car. Herta will continue his relationship with Andretti Autosport again next season.

WHAT’S LEFT TO SORT? NOT MUCH

Elsewhere, there’s only a handful of remaining question marks as the series hits mid-October, a rarity from past years and an illustration of the urgency to fill seats to get as much preparation time in testing with the new 2018 Dallara universal aero kit as possible.

NBC Sports expects 2016 Indy Lights champion and 2017 IndyCar rookie-of-the-year Ed Jones to be confirmed soon as second driver in Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 19 Honda alongside Sebastien Bourdais, with team personnel and Bourdais both having indicated a preference in keeping the Dubai-based Brit for a second year.

NBC Sports also expects Jones’ successor as Indy Lights champion, Kyle Kaiser, to have his future announced shortly in terms of which team he’ll step up to IndyCar with. It would not be a surprise if Kaiser does graduate along with Juncos Racing, although Kaiser is known to have talked to multiple teams. The Mazda Motorsports scholarship nets him $1 million for a three-race program, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500, with the driver then needing to secure additional funding for further races, as Jones and Pigot both have each of the last two years.

The status of Brendon Hartley has now been thrown up as a slight question mark dependent on how his Formula 1 debut with Scuderia Toro Rosso goes at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, and if Toro Rosso provides him a further race opportunity in one of the remaining three Grands Prix thereafter. Having been all-but-earmarked for Chip Ganassi Racing’s second seat in 2018, if an F1 offer comes, Hartley’s potential IndyCar bow could get delayed.

A McLaren-named entry competing either in the Indianapolis 500 or full-time seems further off than realistic for next year, McLaren’s Zak Brown told reporters on a teleconference this week. McLaren maintains an IndyCar technical presence though, via its McLaren Applied Technologies outfit.

What’s left then are the dominoes of whether Carlin’s IndyCar plans officially come to fruition as the team has gotten closer than it ever has to doing so, and who emerges in the second seats at A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Ed Carpenter Racing (road and street courses), respectively.

A number of young IndyCar veterans – Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball, Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly namely – are yet to land for 2018 and there’s no guarantee all four of them will be back in IndyCar next season.

There’s also a handful of young drivers, namely RC Enerson, Jack Harvey, Esteban Gutierrez, Santiago Urrutia, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Sage Karam and Matthew Brabham among others, who could well emerge in the frame for seats.

Gutierrez’s status seemed dependent on Mexico City being added to the 2018 calendar, and although the race still could be added, the fact neither is in place at this point doesn’t inspire as much confidence about his presence as a regular on the grid as it did earlier this summer.

All told, there’s not nearly that much to sort out as IndyCar’s grid for 2018 is looking very much close to set at this early stage of a long offseason.