Obligatory “Baltimore Oriol” references will continue with Servia at Panther

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Let’s be honest. We couldn’t, really, have had a Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT without Oriol Servia.

Confirmation of the Catalan’s latest start in the revolving door that is the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet for this weekend’s IZOD IndyCar Series race came Wednesday morning. He’s set to finish out the 2013 season, as well, in Houston and Fontana.

Servia, whose first name doubles as the mascot for the baseball team – if one letter different – finished second with Newman/Haas Racing in the inaugural Baltimore race in 2011, and was seventh in the Panther DRR No. 22 Chevrolet a year ago.

“King of diversity,” was Servia’s reply back to me on Twitter earlier this morning.

Also of note for the team, Panther put out its latest “Inside Track” video on Wednesday. It recaps the team’s last 2013 weekend with Ryan Briscoe, who will miss the remaining IndyCar rounds due to his American Le Mans Series commitments with Level 5 Motorsports.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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