Vettel: No reason to leave Red Bull for McLaren

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Sebastian Vettel has dismissed speculation suggesting that he may be set to walk away from Red Bull and join McLaren in the near future, saying that he has plenty of work to do with his current team.

The German driver has won all four of his world championships with Red Bull, and has established himself as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

However, the team has failed to carry its dominant form into the 2014 season, and Vettel has struggled to get to grips with the RB10 car. This has led to suggestions that he could be set to leave the team for a new challenge with McLaren upon the revival of its partnership with engine supplier Honda.

McLaren has made it known that it would like to sign Vettel upon the expiration of his current contract in 2016, but the German driver feels that he has plenty of challenges to be getting on with at Red Bull.

“There’s been a lot of talk. I heard on the Thursday that I signed for $150m for three years. I was asking where the pen was but nobody came back to me!” Vettel joked in a media session at Monza.

“I think it’s normal that you have a lot of talks, but it doesn’t change anything that we do or the normal or regular day basis. We’re not yet where we want to be, particularly on my side, so there’s a lot of work and thoughts going into that, which is my main attention.”

Many leading F1 pundits believe that Vettel must prove himself as a driver outside of the Red Bull setup, but he feels that the challenge of getting the world champions back ahead of Mercedes is his main focus.

“I think at the moment I have plenty of challenges if I’m honest,” he said. “There’s plenty of stuff to do. My situation hasn’t changed.

“I’m happy where I am, but you never know what’s happening in the future. As I said, right now, I don’t feel the need to do something different, so I think that case is fairly boring.

“It’s something I’m not talking to you guys about. I’m not planning to change that, for which I think I have my reasons.

“It’s not the first time I have been approached in the last couple of years which is nice, but not my style to share, sorry again!”

It’s official: Laguna Seca to host INDYCAR for at least next 3 seasons

Laguna Seca, from the 1991 CART race there. Photo: Getty Images
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INDYCAR made it official today: the 2019 season-ending race will move a couple of hours down the Northern California coast to WeatherTechRaceway Laguna Seca.

Sonoma Raceway, which has hosted INDYCAR since 2005 – including the last five season-ending races (that includes this year’s upcoming season finale) – will not be part of next season’s schedule.

Earlier today, the Monterey County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors, which oversees operation of the iconic racing facility, approved a three-year agreement with INDYCAR to host next year’s season finale on Sept. 20-22, 2019.

The remaining two race dates for 2020 and 2021 will be announced later, according to an INDYCAR media release.

The 2.238-mile permanent road course previously hosted CART and Champ Car World Series Indy car races from 1983 through 2004, including the season-ending races from 1989 through 1996.

“I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for INDYCAR’s season finale,” Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”

Bobby Rahal, former CART/CCWS driver and current INDYCAR team co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, won four of the prior 22 previous Indy car races at Laguna Seca, all consecutively (1984-87).

“It’s great news, but I might be biased,” Rahal said. “I personally won four Indy car races there and won my first Can-Am race there. Our Indy car team won with Bryan Herta and Max Papis and our sports car team won IMSA races there.

“So I would almost bet you that Laguna Seca is the site of more victories for me as a driver and team owner combined of any track I’ve ever raced on.

“There is nothing better than the Monterey Bay area, and it’s a great circuit that always drew great crowds. So I’m thrilled to have Indy car racing coming back to a circuit I love so much. We will put on a good show, for sure.”

In addition to Rahal as a multiple winner, two-time winners at Laguna Seca were fellow current INDYCAR team co-owners Michael Andretti and Bryan Herta, INDYCAR on NBCSN analyst Paul Tracy, Danny Sullivan and Patrick Carpentier.

“The return of INDYCAR to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honor and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses,” said Timothy McGrane, CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, “We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.'”

NBC Sports Group has secured exclusive domestic television and digital media rights for INDYCAR races beginning in 2019. Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, agreed that Laguna Seca is an ideal venue to close out the schedule.

“We commend INDYCAR for returning to Laguna Seca, a historic track and an inspired place for the 2019 season finale,” Miller said. “The 2019 season will be our first as the exclusive media rights partner of INDYCAR, and we could not be more pleased to broadcast the championship from beautiful Monterrey.”

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