MRTI: Jack Harvey confirms second year with SPM in Indy Lights

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After losing the 2014 Indy Lights championship on a tie-breaker, Jack Harvey has confirmed that he’ll go after it again in 2015 as a member of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Harvey will continue to receive support from the Racing Steps Foundation, a group that helps finance the careers of British racers such as himself.

The 21-year-old from Lincolnshire, England made his American racing debut last season in Indy Lights after competing in GP3 and various other European ladder series.

Harvey mounted a serious charge for the 2014 Lights title in the second half of the season, winning four of the final five races – including the season finale at Sonoma.

Unfortunately for the Brit, Gabby Chaves’ second-place finish in the same race allowed him to take home the big trophy on the second tiebreaker – Chaves’ five runner-up finishes to Harvey’s one (the two had four wins apiece, which was the first tiebreaker).

Now, as the Lights series prepares to roll out a new car for 2015, Harvey will look to bring SPM its eighth series title and continue the team’s championship legacy in IndyCar’s top developmental league.

“I’m delighted to be heading back to Indy Lights for a second season with SPM, which wouldn’t be possible without the continued backing of the Racing Steps Foundation,” Harvey said in a release. “[Indy Lights promotions group] Andersen Promotions has done a fantastic job raising the profile of the series with the new car, new teams and a growing grid.

“So for me, it’s definitely the right place to be racing. It’ll be tougher this year but rest assured, I’m up for the challenge.”

His boss, team co-owner Sam Schmidt, believes that with one year of experience under his belt, Harvey will deliver even more in 2015.

“The 2014 championship was as close as it gets, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see a tie again like we did with Jack and Gabby,” Schmidt said in his own thoughts. “Jack did an excellent job from the time he arrived from the U.K. He was always very consistent in testing and had a great work ethic on and off the track.

“In 2015 he’ll be returning to circuits for the second time and can build upon the oval racing experience he gained in 2014.”

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).