Perez entering Bahrain GP weekend with low expectations

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Sergio Perez may have finished on the podium at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix for Force India, but the Mexican has very low expectations entering this weekend’s race after a difficult start of the season for the team.

After encountering financial difficulties that delayed the debut of the new VJM08 car until the final winter test, Force India has scored just seven points in the opening three races of the year.

By this point in 2014, it had 44 points under its belt, with Perez scoring just the second podium finish in the history of the team at the Bahrain Grand Prix after finishing behind the duelling Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

However, Perez knows that a repeat is not on the cards in 2015. Instead, he is hoping to simply run a good race and get his car up into the points.

“Obviously it was great to remember that day,” Perez said, reflecting on last year’s race. “It was a fantastic day, a fantastic race for me.

“It was really difficult to make it onto the podium, as it was a very intense race all the way through. Generally, I have been doing well [here]. The year before I did quite well at this track, so I think I get on with the track quite nicely.

“Unfortunately we are not in a similar position to dream about a podium for this weekend but I think, hopefully, we can score some points and make a great improvement.

“I think we managed to do a good step in China, we just finished out of the points, so I hope that here we can score some points.”

Force India is expected to introduce a raft of upgrades part way through the European season, but Perez is unsure where this will put the team in the pecking order.

“Everyone is improving all the time and everyone is bringing upgrades,” Perez said. “We are not the only ones who are going to bring them but we really have identified our issues with the car, our weaknesses, so in that respect it should put us a lot better.

“I think if we can solve the general issue of the car, the main weakness of the car, then it can be a really good step that can put us in a really good position to be a constant points scorer.”

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis