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Palmer enjoys strong F1 debut in Australia, narrowly missing points

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Jolyon Palmer enjoyed a strong Formula 1 debut in Australia on Sunday as he came within one position of scoring points in Renault’s comeback race.

Palmer stepped up to a full-time race seat with Renault for 2016 after spending a year in reserve at Lotus, whom the French manufacturer took over ahead of the new season.

The Briton qualified 13th on Saturday and enjoyed an impressive run to P11 in the race on Sunday, battling hard with the likes of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Palmer praised the team for its efforts after the grand prix, and said that he enjoyed going wheel-to-wheel out on track again in his first race since he won the GP2 title back in 2014.

“I think the team has done an incredible job this weekend to qualify in Q2 and then finishing the race in eleventh and twelfth; it’s the maximum we could expect to achieve,” Palmer said.

“It’s a good start, we were so close to scoring points, and we can move forward from here. The race itself was busy but good fun.

“I absolutely loved being wheel to wheel again after a year out of racing. It was great to be back in the fray and it all went pretty smoothly for me. Happy days.”

Palmer beat teammate Kevin Magnussen in the race, with the Dane finishing 12th after suffering an early puncture, but he found plenty to be positive about.

“We have a really good car; the pace is strong, as is the baseline set-up. It’s something we can continue to work from and evolve to gain more performance,” Magnussen said.

“Today was pretty tough at the start as I was really gutted about the puncture. I don’t think I had any contact so it was really unfortunate.

“You never want to see a red flag incident, and it’s a positive statement that Fernando could walk away from that dramatic crash, but the restart did benefit us.

“Our pace after the restart was very promising so I’m excited for the next races.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.