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Ecclestone hopeful Ferrari will ‘get their act together’ for 2017

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Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone hopes that Ferrari will “get their act together” for the 2017 season after failing to mount a challenge for the championship this year.

Ferrari entered 2016 tipped to challenge Mercedes’ dominance and even topple the German marque from its perch at the top of the F1 pecking order.

However, Ferrari has endured a winless campaign so far that has also seen Red Bull overtake it in the constructors’ championship, as well as winning two races.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Ecclestone spoke about Ferrari’s fortunes in 2016, and said that he did not envy the challenge facing team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

“All I hope is that Ferrari get their act together and start winning races,” Ecclestone said.

“What Maurizio desperately needs is a good back-up support like Mercedes have got, for example. If he had the support that Mercedes has, they would win races – for sure.

“I am also sure that you will see a different Ferrari next year.”

Ecclestone also said that Ferrari has gone back to being run like an “Italian team”, making things harder for four-time world champion and lead driver Sebastian Vettel, who hails from Germany, to build the operation around him.

“When I got Jean Todt to take his position and go to Maranello, which was a bit of a risk for Jean to do, it was an all-Italian team and they were a bit concerned about taking a foreigner,” Ecclestone said.

“But I told them: when you win the championship you sure will find ancestry in Jean’s family that comes from Sicily!

“Now it has gone back to being a very Italian team again. And it is run like an Italian team. So I don’t envy Maurizio’s job. I wouldn’t want to do it.”

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”