Max Chilton paces Indy Lights’ two-day test at NOLA

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A two-day Indy Lights test session at NOLA Motorsports Park outside New Orleans has ended with ex-Formula One pilot Max Chilton atop the overall times for Carlin Racing.

Chilton set the best time of the entire test today with a 1 minute, 24.120 second blitz around the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course. Following the Brit was Juncos Racing’s Californian, Kyle Kaiser, with a 1:24.6047, and in third was Puerto Rico’s Felix Serrales from Belardi Auto Racing with a 1:24.6562.

Serrales led Wednesday’s first day of testing at NOLA with a 1:25.0687, just ahead of Chilton’s 1:25.3107 and 2014 title runner-up Jack Harvey’s 1:25.4608.

Chilton said today that he felt a bit more at home at NOLA than he did in the recent test on the Homestead road course.

“It’s been nice to get our Carlin car built up,” said Chilton in a release. “I’m more comfortable here than I was at Homestead. It has challenging corners, high speed and slow speed, and it’s all coming together nicely.

“But for me, all the circuits are new. It’s taken a bit of time to get used to the car but at the end of these two days, the [Dallara IL-15] has really grown on me. It’s a fun car to drive.”

Meanwhile, Kaiser’s ready to really get after it next Tuesday and Wednesday during the series’ final preseason test at Barber Motorsports Park.

“It’s about learning here but going into Barber, it will be a different game plan, to really attack the track and get some data we can use in April,” he said. “The team did a good job. I’m happy with the amount of progress we’ve made over the last couple of tests.”

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.