No concerns for Mattiacci about Raikkonen and Alonso

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Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has no concerns about drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen despite a difficult season at Maranello for the Italian team.

Alonso has led the team’s charge in spite of the problematic F14 T car, and currently sits fourth in the drivers’ championship. However, McLaren is known to be chasing the Spaniard for a 2015 seat, prompting speculation about his future with Ferrari.

However, in an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Mattiacci said that he has no concerns about either of his drivers, despite some accusing Alonso of practically running the team.

“We have to work very hard and will find many tough days along the way, but we will get back to the top,” Mattiacci said, reflecting on Ferrari’s six year title drought. “I like to deliver rather than overpromise.

“It’s true, everybody is a leader at Ferrari. Everybody is running the team, including Fernando, in the way that everybody has to bring ideas. Yes, we have a very clear organization structure – and at the moment I am at the top of that organisation.”

Raikkonen’s form has been patchy in 2014, making his much-fanfared return to Ferrari rather underwhelming. He has already said that he will be retiring from F1 upon the expiration of his contract with the team at the end of next season, leading to some suggestions that the team could cut its losses at the end of the year and force the Finn out.

However, Mattiacci had nothing but praise for the 2007 world champion.

“I love Kimi,” he said. “He is one of the most talented drivers. We have had a bit of an issue delivering an outstanding car, but the team is all behind him and we have seen from his races in Hungary and Belgium that he has arrived.”

The Finn certainly showed signs of his old self by finishing fourth at Spa for Ferrari, helping the team to stay ahead of Williams in the constructors’ championship.

Mattiacci has made clear that he plans to keep both drivers on for 2015, but if the paddock chatter about Alonso’s movements is indeed true, the Italian may be forced to switch to ‘Plan B’ for his line-up.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).