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Haas F1 planning to retain Romain Grosjean for 2017

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Haas Formula 1 chief Guenther Steiner plans to retain Romain Grosjean for the 2017 season following the Frenchman’s impressive debut campaign with the team.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his eponymous F1 operation onto the grid for 2016, signing Grosjean from Lotus and former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez, who arrived after spending a year with Ferrari in a reserve role.

Grosjean has led Haas’ charge throughout its debut season, scoring all 28 of its points so far and recording a best finish of fifth in Bahrain.

Speaking in Friday’s FIA press conference, Steiner said that Grosjean had delivered all that was expected of him before confirming the team’s plans to stick with him for 2017.

“We got everything that we expected, what we hoped to get. He took us along very good,” Steiner said.

“He’s got quite a lot of points for a new team, he got them for us, so I think he delivered what he had to deliver.

“Our plans are to continue with him for next year, so I think we are pretty happy and we want to continue.”

Grosjean’s teammate Gutierrez has remained coy about his future, confirming that he will be racing in F1 next year but refusing to define where.

The Mexican driver is yet to score a point for Haas in F1, enduring a top-10 drought dating back to the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, Steiner is pleased with Gutierrez’s efforts, saying in Friday’s FIA press conference that the Mexican has taken the brunt of Haas’ bad luck in 2016.

“I think it was a little bit of a rocky start for him and not only down to him. When we had an issue with the car it normally was with his car,” Steiner said.

“He had the accident in Australia with Alonso running into him. There seems very few times he had an ‘eventless’, if you can say, race weekend. I think he has developed and matured.

“Having been in F1 and then out of it for a year, I would say that makes it more difficult than coming in new, because he had been with Ferrari as their reserve or development driver, so he has seen a lot of stuff and then he comes in and has to race again.

“Also, the competition against Romain, which is not a bad driver, he’s good, and trying to do better than him is quite difficult, so maybe he put himself under a little bit too much pressure in the beginning.

“But all in all I think he’s doing a good job in the moment.”

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.