Road America releases 2014 schedule

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Road America released its 2014 schedule today and while there were no real surprises, the dates will provide some clues on availability for a potential IndyCar suitability test.

  • NASCAR weekend: June 19-21, featuring NASCAR Nationwide Series, Pirelli World Challenge and SCCA Trans-Am. The OPTIMA Batteries street car invitational will be held June 22.
  • Sports car weekend: August 7-10, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge
  • Motorcycle weekend: May 30-June 1, featuring AMA Superbikes
  • Vintage weekends: May 16-18 (Spring), June 6-8 (Vintage Motorcycles), July 17-20 (The HAWK with Brian Redman), Sept. 12-14 (VSCDA)

IndyCar is off both the NASCAR and sports car weekend, which opens potential race opportunities for any drivers. The likeliest landing point for a test, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dave Kallmann, is either just before or just after the sports car weekend in August.

IndyCar races at Mid-Ohio on August 3 and at the Milwaukee Mile on August 17. It could make for a great promotional opportunity for a test before the Mile.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.