GP2 champ Jolyon Palmer quick in first F1 test despite engine/technical woes

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Engine problems in the morning and technical issues in the afternoon marred Jolyon Palmer’s inaugural Formula One test for Sahara Force India. However, the GP2 champion made the track time he did get count.

Palmer logged only 37 laps in the Mercedes-powered VJM07 today at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi but his best of 1 minute, 44.516 seconds was good enough for fourth on the time sheets behind F1 vets Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, and Nico Rosberg.

Following today’s outing, Palmer said it was “surreal” to wheel the VJM07 out of the pits but quickly got on with the task at hand.

“Despite a few technical issues early on, in the end we managed to get back on track and have a solid hour of running, getting up to speed fairly quickly,” he added.

“What really stood out for me is the power delivery of a Formula One car, compared to what I am used to in GP2: I heard lots about it all year, but to actually experience it first hand, feeling it as I drove was impressive.”

Chief engineer Tom McCullough thought the British youngster acquitted himself well, all things considered.

“He settled into the team very quickly and everyone was impressed with his approach to the day, especially his communication with the engineers,” he said. “The early part of the day involved some aero data collection, which went to plan and should give us some useful information for the design of next year’s car.

“It was a shame that we suffered an issue with the engine towards the end of the morning, which confined us to the garage for a large part of the day. The crew did a good job to get the car out for the final hour of running to give Jolyon some more valuable mileage.”

After claiming the GP2 title this past year, Palmer is naturally looking toward the global pinnacle of motorsport for 2015.

While a race seat may or may not be too much to ask right now, he’s hopeful that he can at least land a reserve seat – and he thinks Force India would be a good place to have that particular role.

“I have learned a lot working with the team, seeing how everyone operates, and I am really happy about today’s experience,” he said. “Sahara Force India is a team that gives young drivers good chances and I would love to get a role with them. They developed Paul Di Resta into a good racer, created a meaningful FP1 program for Jules Bianchi and generally do a really good work with their reserve drivers.”

Force India will turn over the VJM07 to European Formula 3 pilot Spike Goddard for tomorrow’s second and final day of testing in Abu Dhabi.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.