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‘Still a possibility’ Mexico will join 2018 IndyCar calendar

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Although it wasn’t listed on the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar released earlier today, Mexico still could get added to the schedule as an 18th race, likely in August.

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles addressed the lingering topic of Mexico’s presence but didn’t want to confirm the race in advance before all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, as the area rebuilds following a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico City earlier this year.

“Yes, I think there is still a possibility of adding Mexico City for next year,” Miles said. “We felt like with Portland being nailed down, most of the schedule, a schedule we’re happy to have as our final schedule for next year is set, ought to be public.

“But there is ongoing work in Mexico City to get to the track there. I think it’s quite close. We’re optimistic about the possibility, even yet to be added for the 2018 schedule.”

If the race happens, Miles identified an early August date. Looking at the schedule, that likely would fall on Sunday, August 5, the weekend after a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. If the race was a week later, on August 12, it would position the series for a four-week in a row stretch to tack on Mexico before racing at Pocono for 500 miles, Gateway on a short turnaround, and then out to the Pacific Northwest in Portland.

“If it happens, it will be in there probably just after Mid-Ohio where we have a little longer break in the middle of our summer than we’d like,” he said.

“Everything we know about the opportunity there is exciting. Great track, great facility. Obviously huge market. A lot of open-wheel fans and IndyCar fans. We hope that can come together, but the schedule works for us if it doesn’t.”

Getting Portland done for this portion of the schedule release proved the first thing Miles wanted to get accomplished in the wake of Watkins Glen falling off. Miles did not impose a deadline on getting a Mexico race – if it happens – sorted.

“We have not presented a final deadline for that. It would be a combination of what they would need time-wise to be successful in promoting an event in early August. But from our perspective, it could be added down the road,” he said.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.