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Mama Mia! Ferrari powerhouse Scuderia Corsa partners with Rahal for Indy 500

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Legendary IMSA, 24 Hours of Le Mans and endurance racing team Scuderia Corsa will add a new chapter to its legacy on the biggest motorsports platform in the world.

The Southern California-based organization announced Friday that it will field a team for this year’s Indianapolis 500, with veteran IndyCar driver Oriol Servia behind the wheel.

In addition, the team will partner with Rahal Letterman and Lanigan Racing to put forth the effort, it was announced in St. Petersburg, Florida, site of this weekend’s 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“It is an honor to compete at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli said. “To be a part of this great racing heritage and tradition is something I always envisioned for Scuderia Corsa and running across the yard of the bricks this year is a thrill.

“I am excited to be partnering with Bobby Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, such an outstanding and established team, as well as having veteran IndyCar series driver, Oriol Servia, onboard.”

While Scuderia Corsa is known for racing Ferrari’s, it will race a Honda in the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500. RLL principal Bobby Rahal is looking forward to the partnership.

“Scuderia Corsa has a very successful track record in sports car racing and Giacomo’s success in the retail automotive marketplace is well known,” Rahal said. “And it goes without saying that we are very pleased to have Oriol back with us for our fifth Indy 500 together.

“He brings a lot of talent to the program and I have no doubt that together with Graham (Rahal) and Takuma (defending Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato) … we have three very, very strong entries in the 500, three strong chances to win. That certainly is exciting.”

This will be Servia’s 17th year of racing an open-wheel car in either the former CART/Champ Car Series or the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Servia has made 201 career starts across those series, with one win (2005). His best season finishes were fifth in 2005 in Champ Car, and fourth in 2011 in IndyCar.

“As you can imagine, I’m very excited first to be at the 500 … especially doing it with Bobby’s team,” Servia said during Friday’s press conference in St. Pete.

“Obviously both teams are very successful, winning teams. When you put two teams together, you never know how it’s going to come out. They both saw the advantage of taking, you know, this shot together. With our friends at Honda supporting, too. I couldn’t be happier.”

Former Formula One driver Stefan Johansson is Scuderia Corsa’s sporting director.

“IndyCar has got great momentum at the moment,” Johansson said. “I think the timing is great. Obviously what better place to start than the Indy 500? I mean, it’s the biggest race in the world. It’s a great place to put the team on the map, on a much larger scale than what we do right now.”

Rahal believes adding both Servia and Scuderia Corsa will bring in additional fans globally.

“Definitely this is going to generate a lot of international interest, given the relationship that Giacomo has with Ferrari,” Rahal said. “You’ve got to believe there’s going to be a lot of Italian people following the 500 this year.”

Rahal then added with a laugh about Oriol, a native of Spain: “Maybe we’ll have to the change Oriol’s nationality to Italian. Whatever it takes, right?”


Since Mattioli and partner Art Zafiropoulo formed it in 2013, Scuderia Corsa has amassed an outstanding racing resume, including:

* 2017 IMSA GTD Champion
* 2017 Le Mans podium
* 2017 6H of Watkins Glen podium
* 2017 12H of Sebring podium
* 2016 IMSA GTD Champion
* 2016 24Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner
* 2016 6H of Watkins Glen Winner
* 2016 12H of Sebring Winner
* 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTA Champion
* 2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium
* 2015 IMSA GTD
* 2013 Grand-AM GT championship

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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.