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Verstappen passes driving test on 18th birthday

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Max Verstappen is well on his way to being Formula 1’s unofficial Rookie of the Year in 2015, but it was not until his 18th birthday on Thursday that he finally gained his road driving license.

Verstappen caused a stir in F1 by becoming the youngest driver in the history of the sport when he made his debut at the Australian Grand Prix in March aged just 17, prompting the FIA to impose a minimum age restriction from 2016.

It has been something of a running joke in F1 for some time that Verstappen was not legally allowed to drive a road car but was battling with some of the best racers in the world at track such as Monaco, Monza and Suzuka.

However, on his 18th birthday on Thursday, Verstappen finally gained his road driver’s license, as confirmed by a post from the Dutchman’s Twitter account.

“It’s great to be eighteen and to have a driving license,” Verstappen said on his website. “That I’m finally allowed on the road on my own gives me more independence, which is great!

“I have to say it’s a relief to pass the test. I was a bit nervous to make mistakes, but the exam went well.”

If Max was nervous, we dread to think how the instructor felt trying to tell an F1 racer how to drive…

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

IndyCar St. Pete 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.”