F1: 3rd-place battle between Williams and Ferrari heads for Suzuka

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Fourth and eighth place finishes for Ferrari in Singapore has brought the Scuderia within single digits of Williams for the valuable third-place position in the Constructor’s Championship.

Indeed, the Grove gang is now the target for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso, the fourth-place finisher in Singapore, has expressed his belief that Ferrari will be able to erase its current nine-point deficit and overtake Williams for P3.

“We are Ferrari, we are much more than a normal team,” Alonso is quoted as saying by Autosport. “So we just have to keep working hard and whatever is the performance of the car, whatever our advantage or disadvantage over Williams we will fight until the last lap of the last race because there are a lot of points in the table.

“There is Abu Dhabi with double points and there is a lot of opportunities that we will have to close that gap. I’m confident that at the end of the championship we will beat Williams.”

Ferrari technical director James Allison also chimed in today, telling the team’s website that they’re “determined” to beat out Williams with an F14 T machine that’s making improvements in mechanical grip.

Speaking of Williams, they’ll seek to get both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas high up in the points after the latter fell to 11th in the final two laps at Singapore because of tire degradation.

Massa’s fifth-place run ensured that Williams kept grip on third in the constructor’s race. With five races to go, that remains the priority as the scene shifts this weekend to the challenging Suzuka Circuit and the Japanese Grand Prix.

“It is incredibly important to get the cars’ set-up right and very difficult for the drivers to get the perfect lap,” said team head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley. “The track is one which test all aspects of the car and so is very tough to get right.

“Tire management is key, so we hope we have done all of our homework and getting on top of track conditions throughout the weekend will directly affect qualifying and the race.”

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.