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Palmer: Testing ahead of F1 debut ‘a little bit disastrous’

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Jolyon Palmer made no secret of his frustration after encountering a number of issues throughout Formula 1 pre-season testing, calling it “a little bit disastrous”.

Palmer will make his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, having spent 2015 working as a reserve driver at Lotus following his GP2 title victory the previous year.

Issues with the new Renault R.S.16 F1 car limited Palmer to just 273 laps across four days of test running – almost half as many as teammate Kevin Magnussen.

“It has been a little bit disastrous to be honest,” Palmer said on Friday afternoon. “I don’t think we have done 200 laps yet for four days and with four hours left.

“That is obviously not what you want when you are a rookie trying to turn up in Melbourne and do a good job, but the car at least is reasonable.”

Palmer was pleased that Magnussen had not been as unfortunate with recurring issues on the Renault car, believing that the Dane’s feedback will put the team in good stead for the season opener.

“It’s good because if he does the same laps as me, we’re in trouble. He had four trouble free days. I wish I had four trouble free days, but it’s unlucky,” Palmer said.

“I’m pleased for the team because at least Kevin has given us a direction and a good understanding, and we can work a lot with what he’s done.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.