Gustavo Menezes joins Carlin F3 Europe team, which is great news for both

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Consider this bit of news a win-win for up-and-coming American driver Gustavo Menezes and for fans of, potentially, an American one day making it to Formula One.

The 20-year-old California native, who had been in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder stateside before moving abroad to Europe, shifts from Van Amersfoort Racing to Carlin Racing for his second season in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship.

This championship has already produced Max Verstappen, who moves up to F1 next year with Scuderia Toro Rosso, and Esteban Ocon, who has tested for Lotus’ F1 team both in free practice one during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend and the postseason test last week.

But back to Menezes, who laid the groundwork for success in 2015 after finishing 11th as a rookie this season with two podium finishes, both third-place results. He also banked a top-10 finish at the prestigious year-end Macau Grand Prix, and had wins in German F3 prior to moving up to the overall European championship.

Moving to Carlin’s team – which maintains a European presence to go along with its newly announced U.S. effort in Indy Lights – should provide him an even better place to showcase his potential on the world stage.

“Carlin is a fantastic team who excel in every series they compete in,” Menezes said in a release. “The list of drivers they have run reads like the who’s who of motor racing and I look forward to working with the guys and doing everything I can to get some good results next season.

“Like all young American drivers I would love to be involved in F1, DTM, IndyCar or Sports cars – any of them would be a dream come true. That said, the only way I am going to get there is to win races. I have a great team in Carlin and I will be pushing as hard as I can to do that.”

Definitely note the name now. For 2015 it seems, given the financial straits endured for Caterham and Marussia that temporarily plagued Alexander Rossi’s F1 hopes, and given Conor Daly’s desire to race a full season in the Verizon IndyCar Series after a challenging GP2 Series season with Lazarus, Menezes is a rare American with a decent team and shot to impress on an international level.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.