UPDATED: IndyCar targeting return to Brazil for 2015 season

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The INDYCAR sanctioning body has announced that it’s exploring a return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to Brazil for the 2015 championship. However, it’s not Sao Paulo that the series is looking at in regards to which city will host the event.

Instead, the series has revealed that they’re talking with event organizers in the South American country’s capital of Brasilia, which is home to more than 2.7 million people and will serve as one of the host cities for this summer’s FIFA World Cup.

The series raced from 2010-2013 in Sao Paulo, and enjoyed a strong local following there with Brazilian drivers such as Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan as the main attraction.

“Brazil has a real history in Indy car racing and we would like to re-establish a championship race there as early as 2015,” Hulman & Co. CEO  Mark Miles said in a statement. “We are engaged in on-going discussions toward this goal and hope suitable arrangements can be finalized soon.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are encouraged by the efforts from The Government of the Federal District – GDF and the Governor of Brasilia, Agnelo Queiroz, as well as the TV Bandeirantes Group.”

However, the Associated Press is reporting that “a deal with local race promoters was signed at an event in Sao Paulo” and that the GDF has said in a statement that there will be a race held from 2015-2019 at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Brasilia, a 3.4-mile road course.

That track is not to be confused with the former Autodromo Nelson Piquet in Rio de Janeiro, which hosted Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix in the 1980s and the Champ Cars from 1996-2000 on an accessory oval.

The AP also passes along a statement from Castroneves:

“I’m very happy to find out that our return to the calendar is secured. It will be great to race in Brasilia and I can’t wait for that to happen. Several challenges kept Brazil from hosting the race in 2014, but that’s life. Sometimes we need a step backward to come back stronger.”

When the sanctioning body released this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series schedule back in October of last year, Miles had left the door open for the Sao Paulo race’s return.

However, in December, the series sued Bandeirantes – reportedly for a sanctioning fee of just under $10 million – arguing that the promoter was contractually obligated to find another race venue when planned road work around the Sao Paulo street circuit caused Bandeirantes officials to tell INDYCAR that they couldn’t hold the event.

With that said, INDYCAR has continued to show the desire to return to Brazil, which has proven to be a solid market for the series. Considering that Bandeirantes appears in on this new race for Brasilia, perhaps the two sides have settled their differences in some form or another.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).