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ACO confident FIA will prevent F1/Le Mans clash in 2017

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SPA – The president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) that organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans is confident that the FIA will find a solution to prevent the race from clashing with a Formula 1 event in 2017.

Efforts have been made in recent years to avoid putting Le Mans and a grand prix on the same weekend, allowing F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg to win the iconic event last year with Porsche.

However, the German is unable to defend his title in 2016 after the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan was scheduled for the same weekend as Le Mans.

FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu believes that the move may have been deliberate, while Hulkenberg was disappointed that he could not return to Le Mans and try to defend his crown.

When asked by NBC Sports about the clash, ACO president Pierre Fillon said that the clash will not detract from Le Mans as an event, but is nevertheless disappointing for fans and drivers.

“Yes, it’s a shame, but it’s not a shame for Le Mans,” Fillon said.

“It’s a shame for fans, it’s a shame for Formula 1 drivers. 20 years ago, 30 years ago, drivers were able to compete in Formula 1 and sportscars. It was very good for motorsport.

“This clash is a shame, but no problem with Le Mans. We’ll have a good race, a lot of spectators.”

When asked if the FIA should do more to prevent this clash in the future, Fillon said: “Yes. For sure.

“I’m sure next year, they will find a solution to avoid this clash.”

The 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place from June 18-19, finishing just as the F1 race in Azerbaijan begins.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.