Symonds suggests Marussia-Ferrari deal is close

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Marussia technical director Pat Symonds has suggested that a deal with Ferrari is close, with the Italian marque keen on supplying more teams with engines in 2014.

The backmarkers have made a good start to the 2013 season, with its charge led by Ferrari Driver Academy member Jules Bianchi. This tie-in appears to have made an engine agreement more possible, although Symonds admitted that Marussia are considering every possible option.

“Both Ferrari and Mercedes have been very positive with us,” Symonds told Sky Sports. “I say it’s near, because if it’s not then we’re not going to have a car. My original target for getting a 2014 engine deal was the end of May.

“But it was the end of May 2012. So we are behind where we want to be.”

Symonds also revealed that Renault had shot down a possible partnership, citing that they were already supplying enough teams.

“Renault have made it clear they’ve got enough on their plate.”

He also said that Bianchi’s efforts with the team have aided negotiations.

“It absolutely hasn’t done us any harm, it’s brought us a little bit closer to Ferrari. I think that they wanted another team anyway and the contact through Jules has done nothing but help.”

Marussia’s start to the season has certainly been impressive, although the gap to Caterham in Bahrain will have been cause for concern. However, with Ferrari power looking likely for next season, the future could be very bright for the Anglo-Russian team indeed.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.