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No letting up from Mercedes despite strong F1 title odds in Mexico

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says there can be no letting up from the German team heading into this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix despite strong odds of completing a sweep of world titles for the fourth year in a row on Sunday.

Mercedes wrapped up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton moving into a 66-point lead at the top of the drivers’ standings after taking his ninth win of the year.

Hamilton will secure the drivers’ title with by finishing fifth or higher through any of the final three races of the season, making him likely to clinch the crown in Mexico City on Sunday over Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.

Despite the favorable odds, Wolff stressed in his pre-race preview that Mercedes must not and will not relent in its fight with Ferrari and Red Bull at the front of the pack, particularly at a circuit that could suit its rivals.

“Although the constructors’ title is now secure, we are only halfway to hitting our objectives for the season. When we set our targets at the start of the year, it was to become the only team to win both championships across a major regulation change,” Wolff said.

“We now have to complete that job with Lewis, who is in the best possible position with three races remaining. We know that anything can happen in this sport, and that the tables can be turned on you very quickly.

“So there will be no let off in our vigilance and attention to detail in these final rounds. We will be racing to win.

“Our target may be clear – but it will not be easy to achieve this weekend in Mexico. This is an unusual circuit where the cars run at maximum downforce owing to the high altitude.

“Some of our most difficult weekends this season have come with the car running at maximum downforce, so we expect a tough and close-fought battle with both Ferrari and Red Bull.

“It will be important to be at the very top of our game if we want to get the job done.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.