• Nicholas Latifi

U.S. GP means you can sleep in Sunday 

Billy Joel, Spamarama Austin highlights; more Europeans try IndyCar 

Norris McDonald By: Norris McDonald October 22, 2021

The best thing about this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix is that none of us have to get up early on Sunday morning to watch the race. So, to get this out of the way quickly, here are the TV times:

TODAY: 3:45 p.m. to 5:30, TSN2, PRACTICE

TOMORROW (Saturday): 4:55 p.m. to 6:25, TSN3, QUALIFYING. The session will be followed by a round of the all-woman W Series.

SUNDAY: 1:30 p.m. to 5, U.S. Grand Prix (RACE at 2:55 p.m.), ABC and TSN, preceded at 11:30 a.m. on TSN by another round of the W series.

ALSO SUNDAY: NASCAR Cup race from Kansas, TSN, 3 p.m.

I’m curious about something. TSN has NASCAR on two channels and F1 on only one. Who knows the thinking behind that decision?

We, of course, will get the Sky Sports feed. Danica Patrick is being added to the team for this race.

Formula One is returning to North America, too late for Canada (this year) but in good shape for Austin – Circuit of the Americas there – and Mexico. I would not be surprised if Brazil is called off, as COVID-19 is still out of control there.

Meantime, several Canadians have been identified for dodging tax by a consortium of investigative journalists (including some from the Star) who published the information in an investigation called the Pandora Papers.

Lawrence Strohl and Jacques Villeneuve are identified as being two Canadians who are involved. Strohl owns 15 per cent of a British Virgin Islands company called Superwit, which is run by a Strohl family trust registered in the tax haven of Liechtenstein. The usual suspects, Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, are also named.

Exactly what happens next is cloudy. It’s like the annual Sunshine List naming people earning more than $100,000 in government money every year. It seems to be geared more toward jealousy than anything else. Whatever, Lance Strohl will be in his father’s racing car this weekend, as will Nicholas Latifi be in his Williams.

While the Strohl family has lived in Switzerland for years, Latifi still lives in Toronto with his parents and came home for a visit for four or five days leading up to Austin.

He said that his relationship with partner George Russell hasn’t really changed since Russell was officially named to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes going forward. “We’re both pushing the team forward,” he said. As far as his personal progress, he said, “it’s on an upward trajectory and is becoming more consistent.”

He added that it would be nice to outqualify Russell at least once before his teammate moves on. He has six races, including Austin, to do it.

Speaking of both Strohl and Latifi, the offshore betting agency Bodog has odds out on both. Will Strohl finish ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel this season? Higher: +225; lower minus 300. And will Latifi score another point this season? Yes minus 200; no, +150. I’ll take the Latifi minus 200 bet.

And Austin is preparing to show what you have to do these days to get people to actually go out and take in a race rather than those of us who prefer to watch it all on the TV.

The major-league eating contest this time around will be called Spamarama and the contestants will be forced to scarf down cans of Spam. Nathan’s hot dogs at Coney Island, I can see. But Spam?

Musical entertainment will feature Bill Joel (he’s okay in small doses but he’s now on my Sirius lineup instead of the Love Channel and if they don’t fix that pronto, I’m cancelling); Kool and the Gang and etc. And, as you wander the grounds, you will come across theme villages. They also will be featuring the all-woman W Series, in addition to F1. Honda Indy Toronto, take note.


Christian Lundgaard, an all-American boy, has signed to drive for Bobby Rahal’s IndyCar series team next year.

Nico Hulkenberg, another all-American boy, will test an IndyCar for Arrow McLaren SP.

Brian Mao and Ben Zhang, two students at Waterloo University, hope to be part of history this weekend when an autonomous million-dollar race car they helped develop drives itself around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds up to 120 miles an hour.

See you Monday with a report on all the weekend’s racing news.