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Italian Grand Prix set to remain at Monza for next three years

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The Italian Grand Prix is set to remain at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza until 2019 following an announcement from Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and the Automobile Club d’Italia on Friday.

Monza has hosted all but one Italian Grand Prix since the formation of the F1 world championship in 1950, but faced an uncertain future after negotiations over a new contract stalled.

Ecclestone stressed that he would hesitate to find an alternative venue for the race if an agreement could not be reached on hosting fees, leading to discussions with Imola, the former host of the San Marino Grand Prix.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Ecclestone and ACI president Angelo Sticchi Damiani confirmed that a deal had been agreed to keep the race at Monza, although it is yet to be signed off.

“Regretfully, legally we can’t sign it here, but more important is that we have an agreement thanks to our lawyers and we are getting all the small details sorted,” Ecclestone said.

“There is no problem in having the race here. The contract will be for three years but I hope we are here for 100 years.”

Damiani has long expressed a desire to keep the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, revealing back in June that a breakthrough in negotiations came around the Monaco weekend in May.

While Imola has enjoyed significant upgrades since it last hosted F1 back in 2006, Monza’s contract extension is likely to be very well received throughout the paddock given its history and high-speed nature.

Will Power nips Jack Harvey at finish to pace Road America practice

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Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.

Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).

Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).

Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).

Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSNNBC Sports Gold).

The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.