Dixon looks to complete career California track sweep


He won at Long Beach earlier this year, and he won at Sonoma last fall (also in 2007).

So on Saturday, Scott Dixon has a shot now to complete a career sweep of the three California race tracks that currently make up the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, if he can deliver a win Saturday afternoon in the MAVTV 500 at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway.

Asked whether it would mean anything to have a single state “triple crown,” as you were, the driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet replied that it doesn’t mean more or less than any other win would mean.

“Always. You always want to win, no matter what track it is. It’s rewarding definitely the first time you maybe get to have a shot at winning,” Dixon told reporters during a teleconference Wednesday.

“Fontana, we’ve had mixed results there. Last year we were very dominant I think with both cars. T.K. (Tony Kanaan) did a phenomenal job capturing the win late in the race, to take that.

“I think we’ve done well on ovals so far this year. The car was very good at Indy, despite the overheating of the engine at the end of the race that cost us another shot at the 500. And in Texas, both the 9 and the 10 were definitely the class of the field.”

Fontana will be a different ballgame for the field this year, shifting to a day race after it has traditionally been a night race in the past.

“We’ll have to see how it goes for Fontana this weekend, but typically a track I think the team does quite well at. Hopefully we can continue that trend,” Dixon said.

“Obviously different conditions this year going from a night race to a day race. It should hopefully be not too hot. Looks like the temperatures are kind of mild for this time of year.

“But I think degradation and trying to maintain pace over a stint is going to be the tough situation, especially with the track temp being higher during the day.”

Dixon’s crew’s decision to run a higher downforce setup at Texas Motor Speedway paid dividends as the New Zealander captured his second win of 2015 there.

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.