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Wolff: 2017 tech regs offer Mercedes’ F1 rivals ‘huge opportunities’

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Toto Wolff remains wary of the threat posed by Red Bull and Ferrari to Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1, saying the change in technical regulations for next season offers them “huge opportunities”.

Mercedes has ruled over F1 since the last regulation change in 2014, winning all but seven grands prix raced with the V6 turbo hybrid power units.

Lewis Hamilton clinched the drivers’ championship in 2014 and 2015, with teammate Nico Rosberg finishing second both years, and they are once again embroiled in a two-way title fight this season.

Despite winning becoming almost second-nature to Mercedes in recent years, F1 boss Wolff still gets a thrill out of it.

“If you lose the emotion around winning, you also lose the passion for the sport,” Wolff told the official F1 website.

“We love motor racing because of the competition every single race weekend and we love to win.

“Of course, you could start a philosophical discussion: is the fear of losing bigger than the joy of winning? Or the pain of losing?

“Maybe for me personally, yes! But nevertheless, for three years I get good emotions around race weekends.”

Mercedes currently enjoys a 159-point lead at the top of the constructors’ championship over Red Bull, appearing to make a third straight title win a formality for the German marque.

However, Wolff is still concerned about the threat posed by Mercedes’ rivals – particularly in 2017.

“I am not aware that we have received the trophy for the constructors’ title yet,” Wolff said.

“We are sceptical people and believe that you haven’t won until it is mathematically over. Not one single day earlier.

“Looking at our competitors: the expectations for Ferrari are always very high, and living up to those expectations is a different matter. It needs time to develop, and many times it is not a steady upward trend but you also have setbacks.

“And probably after a strong 2015 season we see a setback for Ferrari this year. But I do believe that they are improving.

“And Red Bull clearly have a more competitive package as Renault has improved a lot, and next year the new regulations clearly give huge opportunities. So let’s see.”

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.