Indy Lights: Carlin’s Ed Jones on top in opening race at St. Pete

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ST. PETERSBURG – Ed Jones and Carlin Racing have opened their American account and the new era of the Dallara IL15 Mazda in perfect style.

Jones delivered a dominant drive to win the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season-opening Mazda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Peninsula Pipeline, Round 1 on the season and one of two races to open the 2015 campaign.

From pole, the Dubai-based driver got out to an early lead in the No. 11 entry while the rest of the field scrapped for second behind him.

Jones’ teammate Max Chilton, the ex-Marussia F1 driver and future NISMO LMP1 driver, was swamped on the start by Jack Harvey, Spencer Pigot and Scott Hargrove.

Chilton fell back before he and Felix Serralles made contact exiting Turn 2 on Lap 2, which put the race under a full-course caution.

Once the race resumed, Jones streaked away and didn’t have much competition at the front of the field – at least from humans.

“The race was really hard and the tires start to go off. You can’t go too hard on power,” Jones said.

“I kept seeing birds on the track and one time it caught me out completely. But other than that it was fine. I didn’t have to use push-to-pass, but it was nice to have.

“It was a good start for me, got the jump on Max and kept my head down.”

Harvey finished second, 3.7085 seconds in arrears, with 2014 Pro Mazda champion Pigot on the podium in his Indy Lights debut.

Hargrove and Kyle Kaiser completed the top five finishers.

Elsewhere Matthew Brabham’s race ended in 11th after incurring a drive-through penalty for contacting RC Enerson at Turn 1. Brabham sustained front wing damage in the incident and needed repairs.

Race two occurs tomorrow. The full package from the weekend, with Round 1 highlights and Round 2 in full, will air on NBCSN on Sunday, April 5, at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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.