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Mid-Ohio IndyCar test social roundup, notes (PHOTOS)

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There were a mix of different goals and programs to emerge out of Thursday’s test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, ahead of next week’s Honda Indy 200 for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

We’ll round them up with a mix of social posts and nuggets, below:

THE FIVE YOUNG GUNS

Four drivers – Felix Rosenqvist, Robin Frijns, Zachary Claman De Melo and RC Enerson – made their IndyCar test debuts while Jack Harvey returned to the track following a nearly yearlong hiatus.

Oddly it was the two-year Indy Lights veteran, Harvey, who made a rare mistake. An incident at Turn 6 damaged the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda he was testing more than you’d normally expect and according to Motorsport.com, it’s potentially put into doubt a race debut for Harvey later this year in an extra SPM entry. SPM ran a third car for Mikhail Aleshin at last year’s season finale at Sonoma before the “Mad Russian” returned full-time this year.

As for the others, it was fairly smooth sailing.

Rosenqvist impressed on debut with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, the Swede taking over the usual No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet driven by four-time and defending series champion Scott Dixon, who turns 36 today.

Rosenqvist, 24, was over the moon with his test and called it the “best day of his life.” More here from RACER.com.

Enerson, as noted to NBC Sports last night, couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the test with Dale Coyne Racing and also called it his “best day ever.” Pure joy was evident for the 19-year-old out of New Port Richey, Fla., who will make his race debut in the team’s No. 19 Honda next week.

Dutch ace Robin Frijns took over the No. 28 DHL Honda of Ryan Hunter-Reay for his IndyCar test debut. Frijns, who was on F1’s doorstep with Caterham a couple years ago and starred for MS Amlin Andretti’s FIA Formula E Championship program this year, welcomed the return to a more higher downforce open-wheel car.

Teenaged Canadian, Claman De Melo, took over in Mikhail Aleshin’s No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda and had a clean day.

AERO EVALUATION

With INDYCAR set to outline its aerodynamic parameters among several other details next month, JR Hildebrand (again deputizing for Josef Newgarden at Ed Carpenter Racing) and Tony Kanaan were tasked with running several different aerodynamic configurations on Thursday.

Hildebrand released a photo of the No. 21 Chevrolet sans the rear wheel pod assembly:

Strakes and sidewalls also appeared to be present, which you don’t ordinarily see on a road course.

OTHER NOTES FROM RUNNING

It seems hard to believe but Conor Daly, who’s been to Mid-Ohio many times as a spectator, has never actually raced there. He’ll do so next week in the No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda for Dale Coyne Racing for the first time.

Graham Rahal, last year’s winner at Mid-Ohio, was busy in a quest to mileage out his Honda engine. While his car was still in the Rousseau Metals/RLL livery as seen at Toronto, he’ll be back in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake colors next weekend.

A HANDFUL OF ADDITIONAL PHOTOS FROM THE TEST (All Photos: IndyCar)

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Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 2 Chevrolet back in Hawk Performance colors.
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Josef Newgarden at test, but not in car. Has been cleared to drive.
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IndyCar debutante RC Enerson rolls out for Dale Coyne Racing.
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Points leader Simon Pagenaud looks on.
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Will Power has won three of last four races and is nipping at Pagenaud’s heels.
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Zachary Claman De Melo made his first IndyCar test.
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Jack Harvey returned to testing with SPM.
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JR Hildebrand filled Newgarden’s car for Mid-Ohio test.
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Felix Rosenqvist flanked by Ganassi engineers Julian Robertson (left) and Chris Simmons (right).
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Sebastien Bourdais’ KVSH Racing entry on course.
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Spencer Pigot in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.
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Montoya doesn’t take too kindly to the idea he’s lost his passion for driving. At least that’s what this photo feels like.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.