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Jeff Gordon would love to see Lewis Hamilton race in NASCAR

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On this week’s NASCAR On NBC podcast, special guest four-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon was asked by host Nate Ryan about F1 champ Lewis Hamilton.

Gordon was at the Mexican Grand Prix last fall when his friend Hamilton clinched his fourth career Formula 1 title (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017). Gordon was returning the favor as Hamilton attended Gordon’s final NASCAR race in 2015 at Homestead, Florida (before he came back for several races to fill-in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. the following season).

Last year, Hamilton expressed a desire to drive in the Daytona 500.

So could Hamilton make the transition to race in NASCAR?

Here’s what Gordon had to say (the segment starts around 24 minutes, 18 seconds into the podcast):

“I think that would be amazing (if Hamilton ran in the Daytona 500),” Gordon said.

But, Gordon quickly added, “Odds are very, very slim, I would say.

“We all saw what happened when Fernando Alonso came to (the Indianapolis 500 last year) or the 24 (Rolex 24 this year), how great that is. In the past, we’ve seen IndyCar drivers come over to NASCAR. I think it’s a great storyline and it’s also an eye-opener for open-wheel drivers to get behind the wheel of a stock car because it’s a lot different.

“It’s no different than Kurt Busch going into an Indy car (in the 2014 Indy 500), and even though he did a great job, that experience is just mind-boggling how much different it is.

“I chuckled (at the idea of Hamilton racing the Daytona 500) because trying to get a quality car and team together that’s not a charter and give Lewis an opportunity to be competitive would be a challenge. That’s the first kind of check against him.

“And then I also think there’s no testing now. Lewis could go and test, especially at Daytona, get in a draft and understand the dynamics of that. There’s no doubt he’s incredibly talented and could do the job with the right amount of preparation. But there’s so little preparation these days for any races, especially Daytona.

“I briefly talked to him about it. He showed interest and excitement. I don’t know if it was necessarily for Daytona. It’s just that he’d like to drive a car and I’d like to see him drive a car. He did drive Tony’s (Stewart) car at Watkins Glen, but it was wet. I’d like to see him do it on an oval. I think that would be cool.”

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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.