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Massa enjoying F1 more, open to continuing into 2018 with Williams

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Felipe Massa is open to extending his Formula 1 career through to the 2018 season with Williams, saying he has started to enjoy racing in the sport more after un-retiring over the winter.

Massa had been due to end his F1 career in Abu Dhabi last year, only for a seat with Williams to arise following Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire and Mercedes’ move for Valtteri Bottas.

Massa, who made his F1 race debut in 2002, has been in a fine vein of form so far this season with Williams, scoring 20 points through the opening eight races, and was in the fight for a podium in Baku before being forced to retire.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Massa admitted that he was enjoying F1 more than before, having been given a second chance in the sport by Williams.

“I am enjoying it more. It was a big decision to carry on, but once you have taken up that new challenge it also makes you happy,” Massa said.

“I am with a team that likes and respects me a lot – and they listen to me. That all makes you happy, and that is what you see.”

When asked if there was a chance he could continue racing in F1 next year, Massa said: “Maybe, yes. I mentioned that some weeks ago, yes.

“Things are going well. I feel very competitive, as I like the car that I am driving. I love the new rules. For my driving style everything works very well. The only thing that has to be sorted out is the ‘luck issue’!

“So I don’t see any point not carrying on. But I am not in a hurry. I enjoy my situation race by race, and then the time will come to make the talking.

“I am sure it will not take long.”

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.”