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Jack Harvey still chasing full-time IndyCar seat

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BIRMINGHAM – 2014 and 2015 Indy Lights runner-up Jack Harvey is working on securing a drive with either Dale Coyne Racing or Bryan Herta Autosport for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Harvey lost the 2014 Indy Lights title on a tiebreak to Gabby Chaves before being edged out by Spencer Pigot in 2015, narrowly missing out on an assured place in IndyCar on both occasions.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk on Friday at Autosport International in Birmingham, England, Harvey confirmed that he is working hard to secure a place on the IndyCar grid for 2016 with either Dale Coyne Racing or Bryan Herta Autosport, and has one particularly in mind.

“You can look through the grid and realize who’s not signed drivers yet,” Harvey said.

“I’ve had conversations with Dale and I get on really well with Bryan. He’s been a great guy who’s helping me talk to some of my sponsors.

“We’re hopeful that something could happen with one of them. I know where I would like to end up. I’d like to be on the IndyCar grid, that’s the priority.

“But if I could do it with one guy in particular that would be very good.”

Ironically, Chaves drove for Herta this past season and won both Indianapolis 500 and season-long rookie-of-the-year honors. While Chaves has been reportedly close to continuing for months, it’s understood nothing is finalized for him to continue in a second year just yet.

Harvey had been close to moving up within Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to race alongside the returning James Hinchcliffe in 2016, only for Russian racer Mikhail Aleshin to secure the seat.

“I thought we were looking quite good for the seat,” Harvey said. “Then I got a call from Sam and some of the team members like ‘hey… you know, Mikhail’s talking to us’ and I knew he had been, but it seemed like his conversations seemed to pick up.

“I was like… ‘OK, well, what do I need to do?’ I think it had already not necessarily slipped away because we were still talking to them and trying to agree the budget.

“I think Mikhail came in with a sizeable amount more than we did, but I had a great two years with everyone at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.”

Should an IndyCar seat fail to materialize for 2016, Harvey would be open to moving into either the FIA World Endurance Championship or IMSA in the short term.

“If we can’t get a drive, then I think the next best thing would be WEC, obviously,” Harvey said. “Le Mans would be great to do, or something in IMSA because I’ve really enjoyed America and I’d like to continue racing out there.

“The beauty is that if I can’t get into IndyCar then all three of those programmes could run parallel together. Definitely options, a couple of things we could exercise quite quickly if I needed to.

“Even if I did take a year in WEC or sports cars, I’d be quickly looking to step back in [to IndyCar]. We’ll take the opportunities we get as they arrive and hopefully make the most of it.”

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).