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Sauber upbeat as fresh investment draws near

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Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson both feel upbeat amid speculation that the financially-struggling team could be close to securing fresh investment.

Sauber has faced uncertainty for much of the past three years, with the lack of financial backing being reflected in its on-track displays and resulting in salaries being paid late to its staff.

It currently sits 10th in the constructors’ championship without a single point to its name.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said in May she felt confident that these issues could be resolved, and in Austria this weekend, team manager Beat Zehnder spoke of the progress being made.

“Paying salaries definitely helps for the atmosphere in the team,” Zehnder told Reuters.

“Paying the salaries, the outstanding salaries, is part of a comprehensive solution we were still working on. Obviously, there is a change in atmosphere because now everyone believes again that there is a future.

“The crucial thing so far was not to give up and I think we can be very proud of our team here on the track and at home that kept on pushing in our very limited areas.

“There was always light at the end of the tunnel. But as you know, Switzerland has just opened the longest railway tunnel in the world. The light was always there, the tunnel was just massively long. The tunnel is getting shorter now.”

Ericsson and Nasr said that the shift in atmosphere was noticeable at the team, and hope that it will result in the car being updated soon.

“I think it’s going in the right direction, definitely. We’ve passed the most difficult part,” Ericsson said.

“It seems to be better, which is positive, and hopefully the updates in the pipeline are getting closer. I think for everyone in the team it’s been tough, but now it’s looking like it’s going in the right direction.

“[Kaltenborn] hasn’t told me any details about why it’s looking positive. I know it’s been tough for the team, but now it’s in the right way.”

Nasr added: “The situation seems to have got better from what I hear – getting all the employees and the salaries paid it just gives a boost to everyone back at the factory, at the track,” he said. “I’m sure we can soon start updating the car.”

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.