Ecclestone: “I hope every race is going to be like a wet race”

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With the start of a new World Championship just days away, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is expecting the unexpected this season.

New technical regulations have already had a major impact on preseason testing and could very well jumble the sport’s established pecking order beginning with this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

It’s a prospect that Ecclestone appears to be looking forward to.

“I hope every race is going to be like a wet race – unpredictable is the word,” the British billionaire told Reuters yesterday.

Certainly, the crown jewel of Ecclestone’s empire could use a competitive shake-up following four straight years of dominance from champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing.

The German’s romp to his fourth consecutive world title – in which he won 13 races and closed the year on a nine-race win streak – seemed to also have a noticeable effect on F1’s global TV ratings, which fell about 10 percent (Ecclestone himself said last fall that Vettel’s success wasn’t eroding the viewership).

But with Vettel and Red Bull (along with engine supplier Renault) having struggled mightily in winter tests at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain and in Bahrain, the title would appear to truly be up for grabs even if Red Bull manages to turn the corner following the early season races.

And should it indeed be a free-for-all, that could mean better business for F1 – and, of course, Ecclestone.

Speaking of business, Ecclestone also told Reuters that he should be able to keep running the sport even though he’ll have to face a bribery trial next month.

“We will attend as and when we have to, a couple of days a week,” he said about the situation. “We’ll be able to deal with that internally.”

Last week, Ecclestone said he was now searching for his successor. He is charged with allegations that he bribed a German banker that was linked to the sale of F1 rights.

Ecclestone has maintained that he was blackmailed by the banker, Gerhard Gribowsky, who had allegedly threatened to report him to British tax authorities. Gribowsky has since been sent to prison.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.