Nasr, Sauber hope to end scoring drought dating to Austin last year

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It’s been an especially rough sophomore season in Formula One for Felipe Nasr.

In the first 17 races of the 2016 season, the 24-year-old Sauber driver has finished no higher than 12th (Baku, Azerbaijan).

Nasr scored on five occasions last year which ranked him 13th in the points, but being one of five drivers yet to score this year (Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson, Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez and Manor’s Rio Haryanto and Esteban Ocon) leaves him just 22nd this year out of 24 drivers that have raced a Grand Prix this year.

Coming to Austin this weekend provides Nasr a shot – albeit a long one – at ending a year-long scoring drought since last year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas.

It was at last year’s USGP that Nasr last scored points for finishing ninth – his best showing in an F1 race since.

“Finishing in P9 was a nice achievement, bearing in mind that it was the 400th GP for Sauber,” Nasr said in the team’s advance release. “Thinking about this year, I am very much looking forward to racing on this great track again.”

Nasr has four failures to finish this season and in the 13 races he has completed, has ended between 12th and 19th. He started and finished 19th last race at Suzuka, Japan, two weeks ago.

“I will do the best I can for us to achieve a similar result to last year, as scoring points is obviously our objective,” Nasr said.

“I am confident that we are keeping working to improve the Sauber C35-Ferrari, in order to make further steps to be more competitive.”

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

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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.”