What’s next for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari after their impending F1 split?

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Sebastian Vettel might walk away from Ferrari after the 2020 season without delivering the Formula One title the proud Italian team so desperately wants.

The question now becomes where the four-time world champion will head next season and who will replace him at one of the series’ most legendary and successful teams?

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr. and Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo are two of the names widely touted as possible replacements for Ferrari.

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Sainz Jr., 25, is the son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz. The Spanish driver finished a credible sixth last season, showing great consistency and good racecraft.

Ricciardo, 30, had a dismal first season with Renault, finishing in ninth. But the Australian driver proved his ability at Red Bull Racing, winning seven races and outperforming Vettel when they were paired together in 2014 (he had three wins while Vettel was winless).

Fernando Alonso returning to F1 and Ferrari would be an outside bet. The two-time F1 champion is 38 and had 11 victories with Ferrari from 2010-14.

Having raced the Indianapolis 500, the Dakar Rally and won the 24 Hours of LeMans and Rolex 24 sports car classics, Alonso still is considered among the world’s best drivers in pure ability. If Sainz. Jr. joins Ferrari, it would open the door for Alonso at McLaren.

The options seem less clear for Vettel, who is leaving at the end of year by mutual consent.

McLaren and Renault could be destinations for Vettel, who has 53 victories, 57 pole positions and 120 podium finishes in 240 starts from 2007-19. Even at 32, retirement would be an option for a driver who reportedly made $40 million last year.

The German driver joined Ferrari in 2015 to replace Fernando Alonso but was unable to add to his four consecutive world titles at Red Bull Racing from 2010-13.

Observers expected him to break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 titles.

Now that is within reach of world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has six. Hamilton’s rise with Mercedes has been mirrored by Vettel’s gradual slide at Ferrari.

Vettel had ample chances to win Ferrari’s first world title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. He led the championship at the halfway stage in 2017 and 2018, but a series of clumsy mistakes – unbefitting a driver of his vast experience – proved costly.

At Singapore in 2017, he launched off pole position and tried to cut off Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, causing a multicar crash that Hamilton avoided to win the GP and reclaim the championship lead.

At the German GP in 2018, Vettel on course to a win at Hockenheim. Holding a comfortable lead and with Hamilton some distance behind, Vettel misjudged a routine turn and crashed into the barriers, again gifting Hamilton a win and the championship momentum.

Last year, the pressure appeared to affect Vettel’s judgment. Furious that he was stripped of victory at the Canadian GP because of a time penalty, he theatrically grabbed the big No. 1 sign and parked it in front of his car, while moving the No. 2 in front of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Vettel was also not helped by erratic and sometimes conflicting team orders, although by the same token his win last year at Singapore was because orders went in his favor over Charles Leclerc.

Vettel could improve his stock with a strong 2020, but it’s unclear when he will have the chance. Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Formula One has yet to race in 2020. The series hopes to start the season with a July 5 doubleheader in Austria.

It’s possible that 15 to 18 of the originally scheduled 22 races will happen.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change