Rosberg: Mercedes wary of Ferrari threat in 2015

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Nico Rosberg believes that the rest of the Formula 1 field has made inroads into Mercedes’ pace advantage over the winter and can pose a greater threat to the German marque in 2015.

Last season, Mercedes swept to both championships by claiming a record-breaking 16 wins and 18 pole positions, leaving its rivals lagging far behind.

However, the Silver Arrows are yet to top a single day of testing so far in 2015, with Rosberg finishing in sixth place today behind teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Ferrari has been the team to beat over the winter, finishing fastest on three days and in second place on a further three occasions.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Rosberg said that Mercedes was surprised by the shrinking gap but well aware of the threat posed by Ferrari.

“It’s clear in the way the others have really stepped up their games,” Rosberg said. “The lap times are surprising to us. In relation it seems that Ferrari has made the biggest step at the moment.

When asked if Ferrari could rival Mercedes this year, Rosberg said: “For sure, yes. Definitely our eyes are wide open at the moment.”

Rosberg only took part in the morning session in Barcelona today after suffering a small neck injury. As a precaution, he was replaced by Hamilton for the afternoon, and the German explained how a change in seating position caused the problem to flare up.

“I liked it [the seating position] different,” he said. “But I can’t drive the one I like. My neck doesn’t like that one.

“I changed it in the winter. It’s incredible how a couple of millimetres change everything.”

Despite not topping the timesheets today, Mercedes was the quickest team to post its best lap time on the medium compound tire, suggesting that on a level playing field it may still be the team to beat.

Rosberg will be back in action for Mercedes on Sunday, with Hamilton enjoy a full day of running in Barcelona tomorrow.

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.