IndyCar: Brasilia, Brazil race confirmed for March 8, 2015

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INDYCAR announced today it is returning to Brazil next season and will sanction a Verizon IndyCar Series event at Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in the capital city of Brasília during the 2015 season. Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles and Maruska Souza Holanda, President of Terracap, a government-owned company that owns the racetrack, made the joint announcement from Brasília today. The Brasília Indy will be held on March 8, 2015.

“We’re eager to continue INDYCAR’s rich history of racing in Brazil with today’s announcement of a Verizon IndyCar Series event in Brasília next season,” Miles said. “This event is an instrumental step in the growth of INDYCAR as we continue to execute our strategy of adding race markets and events that drive us forward. We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from Governor Agnelo Queiroz, the Government of the Federal District – GDF and the Bandeirantes Communications Group throughout this entire process. INDYCAR fans throughout the world are unbelievably enthusiastic about our sport and we’re excited to showcase another thrilling event next season.”

INDYCAR previously sanctioned a Verizon IndyCar Series street race in São Paulo (2010-13) and CART raced in Rio de Janeiro (1996-2000) on an oval circuit that was also named in honor of Piquet.

“I look forward to having the race in Brasilia; it will be a marvelous event not only for developing Brasilia but for all of Brazil,” Brasília’s Governor Agnelo Queiroz said while visiting the Indianapolis 500 in May. “The racetrack is located close to downtown and we expect more than 100,000 fans at the event. The racetrack is a permanent facility and it was built in the center of the city in 1973, and we were determined in our improvements that the track should meet the safety and performance requirements for INDYCAR, F1 and MotoGP. We truly hope the event will bring investments and economic development for the whole Central region of Brazil.”

Brazilians Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, two of the most successful and popular drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series, applauded the 2015 schedule addition.

“It’s awesome news that we’re going back to Brazil next year,” said Kanaan, the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. “The fans there love INDYCAR and support the race and we also have Brazilian sponsors involved in our sport, so racing in my home country is a no-brainer. I raced at the Brasília track a very long time ago, in the beginning of the 90’s, but I remember it being very cool. I can’t wait for INDYCAR to get back there in 2015.”

Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who recently finished second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship behind his teammate Will Power, echoed Kanaan’s sentiments.

“We are living in great times for Brazil,” Castroneves said. “The World Cup was there a few months ago. The Olympics are coming to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In between we will see the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2015. Brazilians are very proud of their sports heritage, including motorsports. I know it will be a great event at a new venue for us in the capital of Brasilia, the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, named after one of our greatest drivers. I love racing in my native country and I hope to be the winner next year.”

Brasília joins NOLA Motorsports Park as the second new INDYCAR venue added to the calendar for next season. INDYCAR officials are currently finalizing the entire 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which will be announced later this offseason.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.