Ferrari progress gives Vettel confidence for 2016 title fight

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Sebastian Vettel is confident that Ferrari can carry its rapid rate of progress in 2015 over to the new season and challenge for its first championship since 2008.

Vettel joined Ferrari from Red Bull at the beginning of the year, and has led the Italian marque to victories in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore.

Its form marked a dramatic improvement following a miserable 2014 campaign that yielded just two podium finishes and was overshadowed by a number of internal changes at Maranello.

Vettel had been in the running to finish second in the drivers’ championship ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, but a retirement in Mexico means that the German is now likely to be forced to settle for P3.

Although Vettel was disappointed not to finish the race, he felt that such a reaction acts a proof of how far Ferrari has come and that the team is in a good position for a title bid in 2016.

“Well these things happen,” Vettel told the F1 website after the race in Mexico. “We have gone very far since the start of the season so not everything can work out like you want.

“From the performance that we’ve shown all season long though it is clear that we will be there next year to fight for the titles.”

Ferrari’s last drivers’ championship success came in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen, and the Italian marque has not won the constructors’ title since 2008.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.