Rossi: Brazil beckons for my final F1 race of 2015

© Getty Images

Next up, Interlagos, Brazil! A circuit I know well and where I won twice in 2008 Formula BMW. I’m seriously looking forward to the weekend ahead, and as I explained in my last blog for NBC Sports, I’ve criss-crossed the Atlantic to go back to Spain to prepare for the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi GP2 rounds with Racing Engineering.

But for this week, it’s about F1 and doing the best job I can for the Manor Marussia F1 Team and the people there that support me.

I’ve accomplished a lot in the past two weeks since Mexico and I’m feeling really good, both physically and mentally, even with all the travel over the past 10 days. Things are moving in exactly the right direction for next year, and to sign off my 2015 F1 races at Interlagos just feels right.

For everyone involved in F1, including the fans, Sao Paulo is a really big one. Yes there are some dangerous aspects to the city, but there are a few good F1 traditions that everyone looks forward to. Food and dinners out with friends and teammates beckon for most in Sao Paulo, and as a reserve driver in F1 these past years I’ve been to a few of these dinners in Brazil.

The culture and atmosphere is a lot of fun and it’s also a chance for the whole team to bond and to celebrate the work they’ve put in all year. Of course Carlos, my trainer and I will arm wrestle over the meal selection, but normally I’ll reluctantly concede, unless it’s Sunday night! If you’re an F1 fan who has made the trip to Brazil for the race you should head to one of the Fogo de Chao restaurants on most nights of race week – you’ll be pretty certain to see some famous faces amongst the guests, and you’ll definitely have a meal you’ll remember for all the right reasons, but I wouldn’t know too much about that!

Obviously F1 and Brazil go hand in hand. Sao Paulo is the home of Ayrton Senna and with so many Brazilians having raced in our sport, past present and most likely future, you know you’re in a motorsport heartland. While in Brazil most drivers are asked about Senna and what he meant to us. Senna was a great driver in every way! While I remember watching replay races of Senna, I never watched a race live, as he passed when I was three years old. I like the way he had to fight so hard for what he achieved, with passion, commitment and tenacity. A sure love for the sport!

This work ethic and tenacity is something I can relate to, as you never arrive nor do you ever give up. With that I am always aware of what it means to be part of the sport that so many other heroes helped make famous worldwide. Without Senna and the greats before and after him, I may not be afforded the opportunity to race this weekend in Brazil, a privilege that I do not take lightly.

As a circuit, Interlagos is awesome! The pits are new and the paddock has been redone a bit for this year, so I’m sure the teams will appreciate that a lot. The circuit runs anti-clockwise, unlike most of the tracks we compete at, and that puts a different strain on muscles than we have used for most of the rest of the year. I’ve trained specifically for this and most drivers do – if you’re not ready and can’t cope with it you probably shouldn’t be racing at the top level!

The circuit is a great mix of fast and slow sectors that really challenge the engineers and drivers on setup. The elevation changes see the cars go up and down the contours of the hillside that the track is built on and the atmosphere is incredible, especially on Sunday when it doesn’t matter what culture or part of the world you are from, you feel the energy throughout.

The trick to good laptime at Interlagos is to let the car flow from corner to corner – you need to find a rhythm that keeps the car balanced through each corner, something that will be particularly important with the current generation of power units as all that torque can unsettle a car. There’s no real substitute for actual track time to really extract maximum performance from the package you’re working with but my previous four F1 races with Manor have gone well and as planned and we look forward to continuing this trend this weekend in Brazil.

After Sao Paulo, it’s directly to Bahrain Sunday night and 100% focus on GP2. We’re five points away from tying up second place in this year’s championship, preferably in Bahrain so it’s done and we can really enjoy Abu Dhabi. I had a very good week back in Spain with the guys at Racing Engineering and we’re absolutely ready for the last two races this year.

As excited as I am about F1 in Brazil, the opportunity to get back into a GP2 car and win more races in this year would be awesome. The team and I did a lot of good preparations for Bahrain and Abu Dhabi that means we’ll hit the ground running next week.

For now though, my focus is my F1 team and Interlagos circuit, building on what we’ve achieved with Manor Marussia F1 Team since joining the team back in September. I have learnt a lot in the past eight weeks since being announced in F1. I cannot wait to continue that process in the future and finish my 2015 F1 season in the same style as we’ve finished the previous four. Then it is on to 2016, which cannot come soon enough.

Thank you for your support and you’ll hear from me again this time next week.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change