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Ecclestone ‘hoping upon hope’ Ferrari can fight Mercedes for F1 title

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Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone is “hoping upon hope” that Ferrari can mount a serious challenge to Mercedes for both championships in 2016.

Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 over the past two seasons, winning 32 of a possible 38 races as teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have only had each other to contend with for the drivers’ title.

After enjoying a resurgent 2015 and putting in an impressive display at pre-season testing, there is hope that Ferrari can pose a serious threat to Mercedes in the 2016 season, starting next weekend in Australia.

Speaking to the Australian Grand Prix podcast, Ecclestone said that he hopes Ferrari can give Mercedes more of a fight this year.

“I’m hoping upon hope that Ferrari will get back to where it should be, which will be challenging for the world championship, and the same with Red Bull,” Ecclestone said.

“I think if they really don’t sort of show that they can win the championship, we’re going to unfortunately – or fortunately depending on where you are – have Mercedes dominating again.

“But having said that Nico – after three wins at the end of last year – maybe he’s going to be in form. If those two are challenging each other it would be good. Maybe he’s got a bit more confidence in himself, let’s see.

“I haven’t got any predictions, a lot of hopes, but I wouldn’t like to put my money on who’s going to do what.”

The Australian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN on March 20.

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