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GP2: Nasr and Cecotto win as Rossi scores first points

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The fourth round of the 2014 GP2 Series season in Austria saw Carlin’s Felipe Nasr and Trident’s Johnny Cecotto Jr. emerge victorious as American driver Alexander Rossi finally scored his first points of the season.

F1’s direct feeder series is enjoying its tenth season in 2014, but the advantage currently lies with DAMS driver Jolyon Palmer. The Briton entered the weekend with a healthy lead, but his worst showing of the season meant that his advantage was cut into by Nasr. The Brazilian does still trail by 33 points, though.

Nasr’s win in the first race came at the expense of Cecotto, who could only finish sixth despite starting on pole. McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne finally refound his form to finish second, having not scored any points since his win at the very first race of the 2014 season in Bahrain. The podium was completed by Ferrari youngster Raffaele Marciello.

Marciello doubled up in race two to secure yet another third place finish, but he was unable to challenge Cecotto and teammate Stefano Coletti at the front. The latter’s charge was highly impressive, but he just did not have the pace to beat the Venezuelan.

The races in Austria saw Alexander Rossi secure his first points of the season. Despite being one of the pre-season title favorites, Rossi had failed to finish any higher than 11th heading into the race weekend. However, he rallied to finish eighth in the feature race, giving himself pole position for the sprint race. Unfortunately, a poor start and aggressive tire wear meant that he had to settle for fifth place come the checkered flag.

GP2 will support the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time, and after seeing his lead at the top of the standings decrease this weekend, Palmer will be hoping to extend it once again on home soil.

Report: No Mexico, 16 races expected on 2016 IndyCar schedule

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IndyCar chairman Mark Miles doesn’t expect the 2016 Verizon IndyCar season to begin in Mexico in February next year, according to a report by USA Today.

Though Miles said the Mexico race was “unlikely,” he believes the final schedule will 16 races at 15 venues over the course of seven months.

Miles said the series is waiting for a “highly, highly likely” event to be approved by a board around Oct. 13, going on to say it wasn’t Pocono Raceway.

“If we had to, we probably could put this out, in theory, sooner, but we want to go through the formality and respect the process of a formal approval from one of the promoters,” Miles said.

Miles said the Mexico City race has been put on hold due to concerns for proper promotion for the event, which would be the series’ first outside the United States since racing in Brazil in 2013.

“The process they needed to go through to get everything lined up has not really left a lot of time to be confident that everything can be done to properly promote the first race,” Miles told USA Today. “So I think the conversation is very much about ‘17. We just kind of ran out of time for ‘16.”

This is what is know about the 2016 IndyCar schedule so far.

Either the track, IndyCar, or an IndyCar support series (Pirelli World Challenge) have announced these dates for 2016:

March 13: St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 17: Long Beach, Calif.
April 24: Birmingham, Ala.
May 14: Indianapolis, In. (Indy GP)
May 29: Indianapolis, In. (100th Indy 500)
June 4-5: Detroit, Mich.
June 11: Fort Worth, Texas
June 26: Elkhart Lake, Wis.
July 31: Lexington, Ohio
Sept. 4: Boston, Mass.
Sept. 18: Sonoma, Calif.

These dates are not formal but are highly likely for 2016, per media reports:

April 2: Phoenix, AZ
July 17: Toronto, Ontario

These tracks have been rumored, but are yet to announce the status of IndyCar races for 2016:

Iowa Speedway
Pocono Raceway
The Milwaukee Mile
Gateway International Raceway

Williams hopes to improve on 2014 performance in Russian GP

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At this weekend’s Russian GP, Williams Martini Racing is looking for more of the same from Valtteri Bottas and a little improvement from Felipe Massa.

Last year, Bottas started and finished third while Lewis Hamilton ran away with the win, finishing 13 seconds over Nico Rosberg and 17 over Bottas in the inaugural race at the Sochi Autodrom.

Meanwhile, Massa started 18th after a fuel flow issue knocked him out of the first round of qualifying and managed an 11th-place finish.

Bottas and Massa enter the Sochi race fifth and sixth in the driver standings.

“We had a good result last year in Russia so we’re expecting another strong weekend and a good collection of points,” said Bottas in a release. “We all know the track now and it has a really good flow, with the long straights a good fit for our car.”

Bottas has finished in the top five in each of the last three races, two of which were won by Hamilton.

“Pace-wise we were close to Mercedes in Japan and I think we can be close again in Sochi, just like we were in 2014,” Bottas said, who also noted after Japan the team is set to turn its focus to its 2016 car.

Massa, who has two podium finishes this year, will try to bounce back from a DNF at Marina Bay and a 17th-place finish in Japan.

“I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I’m confident we can have a competitive race,” Massa said in a team release.

“Russia is a very nice track with a few long straights which makes it interesting for overtaking,” Massa said of the 18-turn track. “The circuit has almost everything, starting with a straight and then moving into high-speed corners and then very slow corners in the middle sector. This makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident.”

The Russian Grand Prix can been seen on NBCSN on Sunday at 7 am ET.