Photos: IndyCar

IndyCar: Rossi, Kanaan, Hunter-Reay quickest in final warmup for today’s race in St. Pete

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Alexander Rossi, penalized for a qualifying infraction on Saturday, made up for it in Sunday morning’s warmup and final practice for IndyCar’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The Andretti Autosport driver covered the 1.88 temporary street course layout with a best lap of 1:01.6182. Overall, Rossi ran 22 laps during the session. He’ll start 12th on the grid for today’s race.

Alexander Rossi was quickest in this morning’s warmup session prior to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, scheduled to take the green flag around 12:40 p.m. ET. (Photo: IndyCar)

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan was second quickest (1:01.6650), followed by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:01.7338), Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves (1:02.0030) and Penske driver and defending series champion Josef Newgarden (1:02.0438) rounded out the top five drivers.

Sixth through 10th were Scott Dixon (1:02.0806), defending race winner Sebastien Bourdais (1:02.1511), James Hinchcliffe (1:02.3681), Will Power (1:02.3817) and Spencer Pigot (1:02.5262).

11th through 15th were Simon Pagenaud (1:02.5534), Zack Veach (1:02.6113), Jordan King (1:02.6279), Matheus Leist (1:02.6286) and Marco Andretti (1:02.6366).

16th through 20th quickest were Ed Jones (1:02.6633), Max Chilton (1:02.6730), Takuma Sato (1:02.7527), Graham Rahal (1:02.9290) and pole-sitter Robert Wickens (1:02.9568.

Lastly, 21st through 24th were Jack Harvey (1:03.2674), Charlie Kimball (1:03.5847), Zachary Claman De Melo (1:03.9533) and Rene Binder (1:04.4071), who continues to search for speed.

Four drivers ran the most laps – 24 each: Chaves, Dixon, King and Harvey. The drivers running the fewest laps were Leist and De Melo, both totaling just 17 laps each.

There was only one incident during the session. A banner got loose with about 6:30 remaining, briefly bringing out a red flag practice stoppage, but the banner was removed and cars quickly returned to action.

There is a threat of rain around 11 a.m. ET, but forecasters predict it will only last about an hour. It could impact pre-race introductions, but the green flag is expected to go off as scheduled around 12:40 p.m. ET.

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.