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Lowdon confirms Manor departure after Abu Dhabi GP

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Manor sporting director Graeme Lowdon has confirmed that he will be leaving the team following the final Formula 1 race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Over the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, sources informed NBCSN that Lowdon had tendered his resignation alongside team principal John Booth after a breakdown in the relationship with Manor owner Steven Fitzpatrick.

Speaking in Friday’s press conference ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Lowdon confirmed that he would indeed be leaving Manor at the end of the month following the finale in Abu Dhabi.

“Abu Dhabi’s going to my last race with the team and rather than focus on the reasons, I would prefer to focus on the fact that the most important task this year was to make sure that the team continued racing,” Lowdon said.

“We had to stop before the end of last season, we weren’t in Abu Dhabi last year, and that required an awful lot of hard work and an awful lot of commitment as well. It’s quite well documented, the staff were all made redundant on the 7th of November, 2014 and things looked pretty bleak at that particular time.

“My own opinion is that Formula 1 racing teams are pretty precious things and something that deserves effort in making sure it continued. Certainly my belief in the team at that stage never wavered once. We worked very, very hard to make sure that the team was in a position to continue racing.”

The old Marussia F1 Team collapsed following last year’s Russian Grand Prix after falling into administration, but thanks to the hard work of Lowdon and Booth was able to return to the grid in 2015 as Manor.

Lowdon took the opportunity to thank a number of figures who ensured that Manor would race in 2015, including F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

“Now is probably my only opportunity actually to thank a few people who were instrumental in the team being able to continue and certainly over that period, November, December, January, we received a lot of help from Bernie Ecclestone in particular, also from Jean Todt,” Lowdon said.

“I have to say everybody involved in the governing side and the commercial rights side were entirely constructive during that whole period and the team wouldn’t have survived without that input.

“But also from Ferrari who were really, again, instrumental, not just in the team being able to survive and get an engine deal at very short notice but also from the very first race, a commitment from James Allison in particular.

“He has a very important and public task at Ferrari, ensuring that their team is in a good position but from our point of view, as a customer team, we received some really pivotal support from him.

“And of course the staff at the team; we had to get a team back together very very quickly and that would not have happened if we hadn’t have been able to attract a lot of the same faces who were with the team in the previous years.

“Again, that was extremely important. If that hadn’t have happened, the team wouldn’t have continued as well, so a lot of things had to come together and so from my point of view, this has been a pretty difficult season but that’s secondary to the fact that the team continues, and that’s the most important thing.”

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.