- Sweden's ROC venue [Copyright: Race of Champions]

ROC to be held in snow-laden Sweden; HWA's line-up; IndyCar '21 opener deferred

A round-up of four announcements of different championships.

Race of Champions:

With a virtual event in 2020 and none in 2021, Race of Champions will return to on-track action in January 2022, with its first-ever snow-laden event in Sweden on the frozen Baltic Sea at Pite Havsbad, which is about 60 km from the Arctic Circle.

The track, in fact, will remain open until end of each winter season for unique ROC Driving experiences for both corporate and private clients. The 2022, event, though will feature electric cars, as ROC aims to host a carbon-neutral championship.

“After organizing the Race Of Champions in some of the most prestigious venues like the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium and London’s Olympic Stadium, it is a huge honour to be able to bring our event to my home country Sweden for the first time," said Race Of Champions President and co-founder, Fredrik Johnsson.

"At ROC we are always looking for ways to put new exciting tests in front of some of the world’s top race drivers. In the past, that might have been a very tight track inside a stadium, but this time we will be able to build a longer, wider more spectacular track. The event will be unlike anything we are used to seeing and be one of the ultimate tests of a driver's car control.

"After the event we will keep the Race Of Champions track open until end of each winter season for unique ROC Driving experiences for both corporate and private clients developed in a long-term partnership with Pite Havsbad Group." At the same time, Governer of Norrbotten, Bjorn O Nilsson, added: "Race Of Champions at Pite Havsbad will be the largest event that has been held in Norrbotten and it is very gratifying that it brings many new jobs in the long term."

The full line-up will be announced in the lead-up to the event. Sweden's Johan Kristoffersson, though, had the chance to drive the first-ever ROC Snow & Ice track. "It is so much fun driving around this ROC track, sliding the car through the wide corners. It will be a true challenge but I think all the drivers will love it," he said.

"Participating in Race Of Champions in Mexico in 2019 was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and to now be able to do it here in my home country is going to be even more special." On the use of electric cars and a carbon neutral event, ROC is trying to lure manufacturers, who wish to showcase their EV tech in sub-zero conditions.

"It is important that every motorsports series and event continue to look for ways to become environmentally responsible," said Johnsson. "We expect ROC to be a carbon-neutral race in 2022 and are working toward that important milestone."

"Sustainable development and renewable energy has been a long term priority for Norrbotten since over 10 years. Limiting our carbon footprint is very important to us and at Pite Havsbad we're proud to use sustainable energy for up to 95% of your heat consumption," said Tobias Lindfors owner of Pite Havsbad Group.

Toyota's Super Formula line-up:

In other news, Toyota revealed their 2021 Super Formula line-up with few changes. After Nick Cassidy decided to compete in Formula E for Envision Virgin, the Japanese manufacturer has replaced the Kiwi with Ritomo Miyata at Team Tom's'.

Miyata filled in for Kazuki Nakajima in 2020 but will drive full-time in 2021 alongside his fellow Japanese driver. The manufacturer's lone international driver will be Sacha Fenestraz, who keeps his Kondo Racing drive, alongside Kenta Yamashita.

The rest of the line-up is same as 2020 with KCMG fielding Kamui Kobayashi & Yuju Kunimoto, Impul having Yuhi Sekiguchi & Ryo Hirakawa, Inging featuring Sho Tsuboi & Hiroaki Ishiura and Rookie Racing having Kazuya Oshima.

HWA Racelab's F2 line-up:

HWA Racelab became the third F2 team to confirm its full line-up for 2021 season with the signing of Matteo Nannini and Alessio Deledda, where the former is to dovetail his rookie year with F3, with the same outfit - he becomes the first to do so.

The step from few drivers was expected with different calendar for F2 and F3, which Nannini is fully utilising. "I am really looking forward to such a busy season," he said. "45 races in 2021 are going to be demanding, but I feel ready and determined to grow as a driver, having the opportunity to race in both FIA F2 and F3.

"It will be my first year in Formula 2. I know it will not be easy, but I am willing to learn as much as possible. I am confident heading into my second season in Formula 3 and I am sure that HWA will provide me with a competitive package to do well.

"I truly believe in HWA’s F1 Talent Factory programme and I am excited, as my double commitment in 2021 will be key to bring me one step closer to Formula 1." At the same time, teammate Deledda - who steps up to F2 after spending two years in F3 with Campos - adds: "FIA Formula 2 is a new experience that I have been waiting for years.

"I am excited to be participating in such a competitive championship and testing my skills. I am sure that, together with a team rich in experience like HWA, we will be able to grow together on this journey that awaits us."

The duo replace Artem Markelov and Giuliano Alesi/Jake Hughes/Theo Pourchaire in the F2 line-up of HWA Racelab, whose team principal Thomas Strick, noted: "We have found a good mix for our team, with a young and very talented driver, together with a slightly older but equally ambitious driver.

"We have taken a conscious decision to field Matteo in both series. The advantage for the young driver is that he can be introduced more quickly to the high performance of a Formula 1 car, as the Formula 2 car comes far closer to matching this performance."

2021 F2 line-up so far:

Prema: Robert Shwartzman, Oscar Piastri

Hitech GP: Juri Vips, Liam Lawson

HWA Racelab: Matteo Nannini, Alessio Deledda

UNI-Virtuosi Racing: Felipe Drugovich

Carlin: Jehan Daruvala

MP Motorsport: Lirim Zendeli

Campos Racing: Ralph Boschung

DAMS: Marcus Armstrong

IndyCar postpones 2021 opener:

With COVID-19 restrictions still prevailing, IndyCar announced the postponement of the 2021 opener from April 11 to April 18 at Barber Motorsport Park, where the rest of the calendar remains the same - for now.

"The schedule changes we’ve had, while partially prompted by ongoing pandemic conditions, give us a powerful start to the 2021 season,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles. "With six of our first eight races on network television and all in a more compact timeline, it’s an enormous opportunity to drive even more momentum as we deliver our exciting brand of racing to our fans."

[Image courtesy: Race of Champions] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]

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