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Vettel: F1 cannot lose Italian GP at Monza

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Sebastian Vettel has called on Formula 1 to ensure that the Italian Grand Prix remains at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza amid uncertainty about the circuit’s future.

Monza has appeared on all but one F1 calendar since the formation of the world championship back in 1950, but is at threat of losing its hosting rights upon the expiration of its current contract in 2017.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone called the track “disastrous for us from a commercial point of view”, suggesting that the race may make way for more lucrative events in nations such as Azerbaijan and Qatar.

Speaking after finishing second in his first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver, Vettel stressed the importance of keeping Monza on the calendar regardless of its financial considerations.

“If we take this away from the calendar for any s****y money reasons I think you are basically ripping our hearts out,” Vettel said.

“We are here, we are racing and this makes it so much more worthwhile. It’s what we’re here for. You stand on the grid, you look to the left, you look to the right, people are just happy to be part of it and it makes our day.

“So, simple as that. It’s incredible. So, thanks for this emotion on behalf of all the Ferrari team. Thank you.”

Vettel’s thoughts were echoed by Williams’ Felipe Massa, who said it was crucial to keep the sport’s most historic venues on the calendar.

“I don’t think they can take it out,” Massa said. “The history of Formula 1, this is history here, here is part of what is Formula 1. Everything that Formula 1 grows [into] is a lot thanks to these races as well, to these people.

“We race for the people and when you see the podium with a lot of people like that and they’re screaming and crying, I don’t think we can lose that. This is part of our blood and we cannot lose this type of races.

“I really like to go to new countries, we go to amazing countries, countries that I even didn’t know what they meant before and then I love to go there, many different countries and I’m really in favour to go there but you cannot lose something which is inside the blood as well.”

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.