Sepang changes to make F1 drivers feel “as if they’ve come to the circuit for the first time”

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Sepang International Circuit CEO Razlan Razali says the renovations completed ahead of October’s Malaysian Grand Prix will make Formula 1 drivers and teams feel as though they’re racing at the track for the first time.

The Malaysian Grand Prix had traditionally featured towards the start of the F1 season since 2001, but switched to a fall date for 2016 to tie up with the race in nearby Singapore.

Sepang has undergone a significant renovation in the lead-up to the race, including a resurfacing of the track and alterations made to at least two corners.

Speaking in a press conference previewing the races in Malaysia and Singapore, Razali said the changes would create some new challenges for the drivers and teams.

“There will be some unknowns for the teams and drivers as we’ve changed the dynamics of the circuit a little bit at the various turns,” Razali is quoted as saying by The Straits Times.

“It’ll be as if they’ve come to Sepang circuit for the first time.”

Razali is confident that pairing up will benefit both Malaysia and Singapore, encouraging fans from overseas to spend more time in the region and attend both races.

“By having both races back-to-back, we are making it more appealing for global fans, rather than competing for fans that come earlier in the year in March and those who come later in September,” Razali said.

“Die-hard fans can stay in the region and watch two F1 races rather than one.”

The Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled for September 18, with the Malaysian Grand Prix taking place two weeks later on October 2.

Ganassi announces multiyear sponsorship extension with American Legion for No. 10

Chip Ganassi American Legion
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Chip Ganassi Racing announced a new primary sponsorship deal with The American Legion this week, shoring up the funding on its No. 10 Dallara-Honda of Alex Palou.

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion primarily had driven with NTT Data sponsorship the past two seasons. But NTT Data will move next season to McLaren Racing as a primary sponsor for Felix Rosenqvist in 10 races and on the Indy 500 car of Tony Kanaan (who drove an American Legion car for Ganassi at the Brickyard last year).

It was the latest twist in a McLaren-Ganassi saga that included a contract dispute for the services of Palou (who is expected to move to McLaren in 2024 after reaching an agreement to race with Ganassi next year).

Ganassi stayed within its own walls to help plug the sponsorship gap left by NTT Data, re-signing The American Legion to a multiyear extension. The Indianapolis-based non-profit organization, which has been sponsoring Ganassi cars for the past few seasons, also will be associated with other Ganassi drivers, including Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and development driver Kyffin Simpson in Indy NXT.

The Ganassi organization will continue promoting The American Legion’s “Be The One” campaign aimed at reducing veteran suicides. The team launched an online auction for the initiative this week.

“Supporting our nation’s veterans is of immense importance to our organization and we are humbled to continue supporting The American Legion’s mission in ending veteran suicide,” team owner Chip Ganassi said in a release. “We will do absolutely everything we can to help veterans get the support they need while raising public awareness of the ‘Be The One’ platform.”

“We have received an overwhelming amount of support from fans, active-duty military members and veterans as a result of this partnership and we’re pleased to see it grow,” said Dean Kessel, chief marketing officer at The American Legion. “Thanks to the continuous collaboration with the team’s other partners, and the promotion of the ‘Be The One’ initiative, we are discovering more ways to engage with the military community than ever before. We want all veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.”