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Marko: Red Bull won’t race in 2016 without competitive engine

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Helmut Marko has issued the latest in a long line of quit threats from Red Bull, saying that the team will not race in Formula 1 next year unless it has a competitive engine.

Red Bull’s relationship with current power unit supplier Renault has soured over the past two years as the French marque’s shortcomings have resulted in a dramatic dip in form on-track.

Both Red Bull and Renault have agreed not to work together in 2016 despite their agreement running until the end of next season. Renault has stated that it will either revive its works team by buying out Lotus, or quit F1 altogether.

As a result, Red Bull has been left in need of an engine contract for 2016. Mercedes has already rejected working with the team for fear of increased competition, leaving Ferrari as the only realistic alternative.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said at Monza that he would be open to helping Red Bull, but its demands for an engine equal to that of the works team, combined with Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in Singapore last weekend, may have prompted the bosses at Maranello to think twice.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Red Bull advisor Marko said that the brand could quit F1 altogether if it does not get an engine deal in place for 2016, which would also include the exit of its Toro Rosso b-team.

“There is an option to stop F1,” Marko admitted. “If we don’t have an engine that allows us to compete at the very front we will prefer to stop.

“The curtain may go down after Abu Dhabi. That is Mr. [Dietrich] Mateschitz’s opinion. He knows that it costs the same amount of money to race at the front or, like we are now doing, in the ‘premium midfield’ – and he is not willing to do that for another season.”

Marko also responded to rumors of a possible entry by Volkswagen to F1 in the future, with reports over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend claiming that a deal between the two parties was close.

“I don’t think that they have a ready engine concept in their drawers,” Marko said, agreeing to Audi motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich’s comments to MotorSportsTalk last month.

“Yes, the rumours are there – and, of course, it would be great if another engine manufacturer would join. But right now that is all crystal ball reading.”

Here are the starting times for 2020 NTT IndyCar Series action on NBC and NBCSN

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Another important tidbit for NTT IndyCar Series fans is out as INDYCAR and NBC announced starting times for the 2020 season. The full television schedule is also included.

There are different starting times at four races in 2020 from 2019. Those include the March 15 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of the Americas on April 26, a later starting time for the Saturday night race at Iowa Speedway on July 18 on NBCSN

INDYCAR released the green flag times today for the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season that features starting time shifts at four races – St. Petersburg, Circuit of The Americas, Iowa and Mid-Ohio – and the anticipated evening return to Richmond Raceway.

Those four returning races represent the only significant green flag start time changes from a year ago in the 17-race 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule, beginning with the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg scheduled for Sunday, March 15.

The August 16 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be moved to an earlier starting time and will be broadcast on NBC. Previously, the race was scheduled for 4:05 p.m., but has been changed to a 12:45 p.m. Eastern Time green flag.

INDYCAR’s return to Richmond Raceway on Saturday, June 27 will begin at 8:15 p.m. ET. That is the only new event on the schedule.

Detailed broadcast information for the entire season will be announced at a later date.

Here are the notable changes to the starting times on the schedule:

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which began at 1:40 p.m. ET this past season, will now have a 3:30 p.m. green flag. The race on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., will be celebrating its 10thanniversary as the series’ season opener and be televised on NBC Sports Network.

The AutoNation INDYCAR Challenge at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, April 26, will have a similar shift, moving from a 1:43 p.m. ET green flag this past season to 4:10 p.m. (3:10 p.m. local) in 2020. The permanent road course in Austin, Texas, will play host to the fourth race of the season and be broadcast on NBCSN.

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway, set for Saturday, July 18, on NBCSN, will be better accommodated for an evening race under the lights with the green flag moving from 7:15 p.m. ET to 9 p.m. (8 p.m. local).

“The return of a night race for INDYCAR at Iowa Speedway is exciting news for our race fans, sponsors, and the entire region,” Iowa Speedway President David Hyatt said. “The cars look great under the lights, and the competition should be even more fierce given what should be cooler conditions. Our track provides some of the best racing you’ll see anywhere, which will be good for attendance. This will be a can’t-miss weekend for all race fans.”

The return to a true night race at Iowa was the result of fans requesting it. The race will begin at 8:00 p.m. CT on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. And for fans and drivers, it is nostalgic, hearkening back to the first race many of them experienced … a night race on a short track.

The series hasn’t held a race that began after dusk at Iowa Speedway since 2015, and drivers and fans are welcoming it. Not only does it look more vibrant — and create sparks as cars bottom out — it also makes for better racing. Tires grip better when the track is cooler. Fans also avoid sweltering conditions during summer afternoons.

The Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, Aug. 16, will be the only race among the four that moves to an earlier start time. The race, which had a 4:05 p.m. ET start this past season, will shift to a 12:45 p.m. green flag in 2020 and be televised on NBC.

The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Richmond Raceway – the only new addition on the 2020 schedule – for the 11th race of the season on Saturday, June 27. The field will take the green flag at 8:15 ET for the start of the first Indy car race at the .75-mile oval since 2009. The race will be broadcast on NBCSN.