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Mallya: Perez and Hulkenberg signed to Force India for 2017

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Sergio Perez and Force India will remain with Force India for the 2017 Formula 1 season, according to team owner Vijay Mallya.

Perez and Hulkenberg joined Force India at the beginning of 2014, working together to take the team to its best finish in the F1 constructors’ championship last year.

Both drivers were linked with moves away from the team for 2017, Perez being tipped as a possible replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari.

However, Mallya confirmed in Friday’s FIA press conference at Silverstone that both drivers had been firmed up for next year.

“We are very happy with Nico and Checo [Perez]. Both are signed for 2017 and really I haven’t thought about it beyond that,” Mallya said.

“We are very early, much earlier than normal, because usually we wait until the winter before announcing our drivers.

“This time we signed both for 2017 well in advance and of course today’s announcement from Ferrari [confirming Raikkonen] put to rest a lot of speculation that has been taking place in the last few weeks.”

The British Grand Prix marked Mallya’s first appearance in the paddock this season, as he is unable to travel due to legal issues in his native India.

“I’m absolutely delighted and over the moon to be here in Silverstone. It’s a very special race track for Force India,” Mallya said.

“I’m personally delighted to be here as all the other races I have virtually experienced them [because] sadly I am currently unable to travel.

“Since I am now spending my time in England, it’s far more regulated, less hectic. I’m doing what I’m passionate about and one thing I’m passionate about is Force India.

“I get a lot of pleasure out of it and the team is delivering results.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

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“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).