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Abiteboul confident Renault has financial muscle to fight at top of F1

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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul is confident that the French manufacturer has the financial muscle to fight at the very top of the series.

Earlier this month, Renault confirmed that it would be reviving its works F1 team in 2016 after going through with the buy-out of Lotus, saving the Enstone-based operation from closure.

Renault last enjoyed constructor status back in 2010, but has remained in the sport since as an engine supplier, chiefly working with Red Bull.

Group CEO Carlos Ghosn has previously said it will take three years for Renault to become competitive once again, and although Abiteboul did concede it will take time, he is confident the financial muscle is there to battle at the front of the field.

“I think that there is a very good business plan, a very robust business plan, at least for the initial term, in order to do the job that we need to do,” Abiteboul told a number of outlets, including BBC Sport and motorsport.com.

“We have been very successful in F1 with Red Bull, we have been successful as a competitive team before and, from a marketing stand point and connection between F1 and the rest of the business, we have never been so strong.

“So what should not wait is the capacity of Renault to turn what we do on the track into tangible marketing value for the group and for the brand.

“That is really important, as that is what will give us the stability so that we have the capacity – the financial capacity and also the time – to become one of the big boys.”

Renault will confirm further details, including the team name, partners and management, in February ahead of the first pre-season test in Barcelona at the end of the month.

IndyCar race weekend doubleheader schedule at IMS road course

IndyCar weekend schedule Indianapolis
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The NTT IndyCar Series will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the third time this season but with a weekend schedule that will put the action in front of fans for the first time in 2020.

The track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course will play host to IndyCar and sports cars series over four days. The action will begin Thursday with practice and concluding with an eight-hour race Sunday featuring the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America.

The NTT IndyCar Series will hold a Friday-Saturday race doubleheader called the Harvest GP presented by GMR.

ENTRY LISTS: Who’s racing IndyCar at IMS this weekend

The name is a nod to the Harvest Classic, which was held Sept. 9, 1916 to help the track stay solvent during World War I. The event had three races of 20, 50 and 100 miles (all won by Johnny Aitken) that was the only racing held outside May at IMS from 1911-93.

A limited crowd of 10,000 will be allowed each day this weekend, and those fans will be the first to experience new video boards, concession stands, restrooms and 5G wireless connectivity.

Here’s the IndyCar weekend schedule for Indianapolis Motor Speedway Harvest GP:

(All times are Eastern)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Thursday, Oct. 1

Noon — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America test session
2:25 p.m. — IndyCar practice (NBC Sports Gold)
6:20 p.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 1 (NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Friday, Oct. 2

10:20 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
1:40 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America practice
3:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 (USA Network, NBC Sports Gold)

IndyCar weekend schedule: Saturday, Oct. 3

10:20 a.m. — IndyCar qualifying for Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC Sports Gold)
12:10 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America qualifying
2:30 p.m. — IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 2 (NBC, NBC Sports Gold)
5:30 p.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America pole shootout

IndyCar weekend schedule: Sunday, Oct. 4

10 a.m. — Indianapolis 8 Hour/GT World Challenge America race