© Getty Images

Helmut Marko: Drivers must deliver to stay with Red Bull

1 Comment

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has sent out a warning shot to the Formula 1 drivers on the energy drink giant’s books, saying that they they will be dropped if they do not deliver in 2016.

Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were evenly matched at Red Bull throughout 2015, but both are thought to be under pressure with up-and-coming racers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. both impressing at junior team Toro Rosso.

Verstappen, 18, had a particularly impressive debut season in F1, leading to speculation about a move up the grid to either Red Bull or potentially away from the team’s setup.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Marko said that the members of the junior program had to deliver if they wanted to keep their seats.

“We basically have long-term contracts at the Red Bull junior program and the whole program is based on performance,” Marko said.

“So no shoot-out, but be very clear: the one who is not delivering goes.”

Marko expects Toro Rosso to outperform the senior Red Bull team for the first half of the season by virtue of its 2015-spec Ferrari power unit.

Red Bull will race with a rebranded Renault power unit in 2016, which is still thought to be down on power compared to the old Ferrari engine for the start of the year.

“I could imagine that they will land in front of Red Bull Racing at the start of the season – probably until midseason – because the power difference is still that significant,” Marko said.

“In midseason probably the performance will drop, as you cannot further develop the 2015 engine.”

IndyCar will eliminate double points from the 2020 season finale

Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Though the NTT IndyCar Series hasn’t confirmed the date of its 2020 season finale, it has determined that double points won’t be in play.

An IndyCar official confirmed Monday to NBCSports.com that whether the season ends at Weather Tech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, or on the streets of St. Petersburg, neither race will feature double points. Team owners were informed of the change during a conference call last week.

The news was first reported by RACER.com.

With the original 17-race schedule having been shortened by the cancellation of at least three races (Circuit of The Americas, Barber Motorsports Park, the Long Beach Grand Prix), using double points in the finale would have carried even greater weight (and perhaps more so if more races are unable to be run because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has been using double points at select races since the 2015 season. The 104th Indianapolis 500 will remain a double-points event.

In rescheduling the Indy 500 to Aug. 23 last week, IndyCar unveiled a revised schedule that listed Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as TBD for its season finale. The race originally had been scheduled to open the season before being called off because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told reporters last week that St. Pete probably would be slotted into the first two weeks October after the Sept. 20 race at Laguna Seca that had been slated to be the season finale for the second consecutive year.