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Wehrlein set to return to Sauber for Bahrain

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Sauber F1 Team has confirmed Pascal Wehrlein will return to race action at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, thus giving rise to the “third time’s a charm” line that he’ll finally make his team race debut at the third race of the season.

Wehrlein took himself out of action for the Australian Grand Prix after the Friday practice sessions, feeling his fitness wasn’t up to completing a full race distance.

The team then ruled him out in advance for the Chinese Grand Prix and potentially Bahrain, although Wehrlein said at the time he was hopeful of returning in Bahrain.

Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi filled in well at Melbourne but had a ragged weekend in Shanghai with two accidents, one in qualifying and one early in the race to bring out a Safety Car.

This will see the German driver back in action for what should, we think, finally, be in the second Sauber for the first time for a full weekend in 2017 following his Race of Champions crash and subsequent back injury sustained in January.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is live this weekend across CNBC, NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

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.”