Ferrari: No driver announcement at Monza

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All hopes of Ferrari making an announcement regarding its driver line-up for next season at the Italian Grand Prix next weekend have been doused after the team dismissed the move on its official website.

Kimi Raikkonen has been frequently linked to the team in recent weeks, with the Finn thought to be in line to replace Felipe Massa for 2014. However, although such a move has not been denied by either party, the team did confirm that no announcement would be made at its home grand prix at Monza next weekend despite popular opinion being that this is a “custom” for the team.

“Often in Formula 1, these customs are created artificially, just because they sound nice or because they can be made to fit one’s theories about something,” the team explained in its Horse Whisperer blog. “One of these states that the Scuderia likes to announce its driver line-up for the following year at the Italian Grand Prix.

“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint all those with feverish imaginations, who are awaiting Monza in trepidation, but this particular presumed custom is a non-starter.”

Monza is thought to be the ideal location for any announcements from Ferrari, being the team’s home grand prix and playing host to thousands of fans – the Tifosi – who are draped in team colours for the weekend. However, history shows that making an announcement at the race is a rarity.

“All one needs to do is look at the facts,” the article stated. “From 1991, when the Maranello press office first began to put its official pronouncements down on paper, until now, only twice, in 2006 and 2008, has the team’s home grand prix provided the backdrop to an announcement regarding the drivers.”

Therefore, it is unlikely that we will see a conclusion to this part of ‘silly season’ any time soon.

Read NBC’s team-by-team guide to the driver market here.

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.”