F1 Paddock Pass: Italian Grand Prix (VIDEO)

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Two weeks on from the Belgian Grand Prix, Formula 1 returns this weekend for the final European race of the season at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy.

The Italian Grand Prix has been a mainstay on the F1 calendar ever since the formation of the world championship in 1950, with Monza hosting all but one grand prix since.

The high-speed nature of the circuit makes it a unique challenge for the drivers and the teams, whilst the loyal following of the Tifosi – Ferrari’s fan club – creates an atmosphere few other venues in motorsport can rival.

Ahead of the race weekend in Italy, Will Buxton brings you all of the news, interviews and analysis in the latest edition of NBC Sports Group original digital series “Paddock Pass”.

In part one, we hear from Daniel Ricciardo about the challenge of Monza and from Felipe Massa about the possibility of closed cockpits being introduced to single seaters. We also speak to Federico Gastaldi following a rather turbulent week for Lotus amid financial uncertainty.

Will brings you more insight from Lotus in part two as we hear from Alan Permane about the details of setting up a car for Monza’s unique challenge and high-speed straights. Nico Rosberg also discusses his tire blowout at Spa and the subsequent focus on Pirelli.

In the final part of this week’s Paddock Pass, Will is joined by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to discuss the idea of closed cockpits, with the debate being reignited following the death of Justin Wilson last week.

The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra this weekend. For full details, click here.

IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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