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Prost: Dropping Raikkonen could upset atmosphere at Ferrari

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TURIN, Italy – Four-time Formula 1 world champion Alain Prost believes Ferrari risks upsetting the atmosphere at Maranello if it drops Kimi Raikkonen for 2017.

Raikkonen’s current Ferrari contract expires at the end of the 2016 season, but is keen to extend his stint with the Italian marque alongside teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s future has become a yearly discussion given he is one of the older drivers in the sport, and his failure to match Vettel in the championship has raised questions about how much longer he will drive for Ferrari.

Drivers such as Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez have been linked with the second Ferrari seat.

However, Prost believes the Italian marque must be careful when considering a driver change, believing that the pressure of racing for Ferrari can unnerve many.

“Everybody can see the positive points and negative points [of keeping Raikkonen]” Prost said.

“There are one or two drivers on the market who could be quite good for Ferrari, maybe a little bit quicker, but you don’t know.

“One thing you need to take into consideration is the pressure that you get at Ferrari. Sometimes you can see some very good drivers in an average team, and when they go in a top team, they don’t perform the same because they are a little bit different.

“And the positive side for him to stay is he’s got a very good relationship with Vettel. You have a number one and number two not on paper, but in fact, and for the ambience it’s not bad.”

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.