Merhi excluded from Formula Renault 3.5 races for causing crash after checkered flag (VIDEO)


Manor F1 driver Roberto Merhi will take no part in the second Formula Renault 3.5 race at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday afternoon after causing a bizarre accident after the checkered flag earlier today.

After crossing the line in fourth place, Merhi – driving with Pons Racing in the F1 feeder series – slowed down dramatically.

Fifth-placed Nicholas Latifi was unable to avoid the Spaniard after taking the checkered flag, slamming into the back of his car with considerable force.

Thankfully, both drivers walked way unharmed, although the same could not be said of their cars.

The stewards moved swiftly to hand Merhi a ten second time penalty for causing the accident, dropping him to 11th place in the race one classification.

They then followed this by excluding him from both the first race and the second round at the Red Bull Ring, which is set to take place later this evening.

The first race was won by British driver Oliver Rowland, extending his lead at the top of the championship standings. Red Bull junior driver Dean Stoneman finished second ahead of McLaren youngster Nyck de Vries in third.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race IndyCar stars in iRacing at Michigan

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The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.

The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.

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Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.

He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.

“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”

It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another  NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).