Open-wheel sons on the move: Junior Panis, Herta confirmed to deals

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In 1996, Olivier Panis shocked the racing world when he captured his first and only Grand Prix win in Monaco. Later that year, Alex Zanardi pulled off the “did you see that?!?” moment of the year when he passed Bryan Herta at the Corkscrew to win the last CART race of the season.

Nearly 20 years later it’s Panis and Herta’s sons in the news – both have been confirmed to new international deals for next year as they look to advance their own racing careers.

Aurelien Panis.

First up is Aurelien Panis, Olivier’s 20-year-old son, who will graduate from Formula Renault Eurocup into Formula Renault 3.5 with Tech 1 Racing.

“The whole team welcomes this collaboration with Aurelien. We have followed him with great interest in 2014 and he has demonstrated a very high potential,” said team boss Simon Abadie, via Autosport.

Panis joins the ranks of famous F1 drivers’ sons who have made recent waves including Kevin Magnussen, now out of a race seat next year at McLaren, and Max Verstappen, who will move into one at Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Colton Herta.

Meanwhile American prospect Colton Herta, who will turn 15 just before the start of the 2015 season, will race in the U.K. in the MSA Formula championship with Carlin Racing. Herta, son of IndyCar team owner Bryan, will be teammate to previously announced Lando Narris.

Herta has experience in international karting and has several plaudits to his name, including winning the IKF KPV2 Championship. Other karting titles include the SuperKarts USA TaG Cadet Championship, ProKart Challenge championship and International Kart Federation (IKF) Championship. In 2014, Herta competed in the CooperTires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

“So many great drivers have developed their careers with Carlin, this is exactly where I want to be. I can’t wait for the season to start,” he said.

Carlin’s European program continues alongside its new U.S. program with Indy Lights.

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.