UPDATE: Three F1 drivers get random drug tests

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UPDATE: 6:31am Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo were the latest F1 drivers to be given random drugs tests this morning.

The trio took to Twitter to describe the early morning wake-up call they’d had from anti-doping enforcers.

Formula One adheres to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s protocols and drivers are often tested during race weekends – five of them were during last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But they may also be subjected to unscheduled tests outside of competitions to ensure they are not using drugs such as steroids to strengthen their muscles, or other performance enhancers.

The FIA’s Race True campaign instructs drivers on what substances they must avoid. But some competitors think the sport should go further.

One of them is Mark Webber, who has spoken out on the subject more than once, urging the FIA to adopt more stringent measures.

“I’ve always been championing the idea to do more of it, but the FIA have never really been that strong on it,” he said last year.

Webber is a former friend of Lance Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist who was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories for drug use. Earlier this year he described how their friendship fractured as the truth emerged about Armstrong’s drug-taking.

Formula One has so far avoided a similar scandal but it is not unknown in the motor racing world.

Last year former F1 driver Tomas Enge was handed an 18-month ban after failing a drugs test for the second time in his career. In 2002 he lost his Formula 3000 championship victory when he was stripped of a race win in Hungary after cannabis was found in his system.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”