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Mercedes won’t announce Nico Rosberg’s replacement until the new year

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Mercedes has confirmed that it will make no announcement regarding Nico Rosberg’s replacement for the 2017 Formula 1 season until the new year.

Rosberg announced his retirement from motorsport just five days after winning his first F1 drivers’ title in Abu Dhabi, beating teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The shock decision freed up a seat at Mercedes for 2017 alongside Hamilton, sparking a late twist in the driver market for next season.

Pascal Wehrlein and Valtteri Bottas are both known to be in contention for the seat, while Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has claimed that over half of the current F1 grid has expressed interest.

However, Mercedes has now confirmed that no announcement will be made this side of new year.

“There will be no announcements from us until next year and nothing is planned for the period between now and our return to work on 3rd January,” a spokesman from Mercedes said.

Mercedes began its search for Rosberg’s replacement three days after his announcement, and reportedly made an approach for Bottas, who is signed to race for Williams in 2017.

BBC Sport reported earlier this week that Mercedes offered Williams a discount on its engines for 2017, as well as the services of junior driver Wehrlein, only to be knocked back.

Mercedes had also been linked with high-profile drivers Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for 2017, but both have re-affirmed their commitment to their existing teams in recent weeks.

Three-time world champion Hamilton has insisted that he is not looking for number one status within Mercedes for 2017, simply wishing for equal rights alongside his new teammate, whoever it may be.

The Briton recently met with Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff to discuss plans for 2017, most likely including the subject of driver options, and called the discussions “amazing”.

Mercedes’ first on-track commitments in 2017 will be pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain, which is due to begin on February 27.

Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.