Sauber aims to beat the blues of 2014 with C34’s launch

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Sauber F1 Team has today unveiled its new car for the 2015 F1 season, the C34, as it looks to bounce back from its worst ever campaign and return to the top ten this year.

The Swiss team failed to score a single point in 2014, leaving it tenth in the constructors’ championship come the end of the season as financial uncertainty threatened its future both on and off track.

However, the ship appears to have now been steadied, and today’s launch of the C34 marks a fresh start for Sauber as new drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr look to take the team back into the points in 2015.

Nasr’s arrival helped the team to secure sponsorship from Banco do Brasil, whose colors dominate the new car. Blue and yellow replace the grey design of 2014, seeing a significant change in the team’s image.

“2014 was a very disappointing year,” team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. “However, this is in the past, and we now focus on what comes next.

“We have learned our lessons and are confident for the new season. We have to improve, and be able to fight for championship points.”

Kaltenborn was quick to praise the all-new driver line-up that Sauber boasts for 2015, expressing her confidence about the partnership between Ericsson and Nasr.

“I am delighted about our two new drivers who bring a breath of fresh air,” she said. “Both are young, talented and highly motivated. On their way to Formula 1 both stood out through victories in Formula BMW and Formula 3. Both then finished this career progression off in the GP2 Series.

“While Marcus looks back to one season in Formula 1, Felipe will have his rookie year in which he comes fully prepared due to his role as test and reserve driver at Williams last year. I feel confident with regard to our drivers.”

The car does appear to be quite light on sponsors, but both Nasr and Ericsson do have significant backing. Many of the team’s Mexican backers will have departed at the end of 2014 along with Esteban Gutierrez, who has since joined Ferrari, but a new deal with computing giant Hewlett-Packard was announced four days ago.With neither Marussia nor Caterham looking capable of making a late revival and reaching the grid in Melbourne, Sauber enters the 2015 season as the defacto backmarker. However, it will be the mission of Kaltenborn, Ericsson and Nasr to fight back and get the good times flowing once again at Hinwil.

With neither Marussia nor Caterham looking capable of making a late revival and reaching the grid in Melbourne, Sauber enters the 2015 season as the defacto backmarker. However, it will be the mission of Kaltenborn, Ericsson and Nasr to fight back and get the good times flowing once again at Hinwil.

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”