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Fresh start for Renault F1 in Montreal after Monaco struggles

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Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul believes that next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix marks a “fresh start” for the team after a difficult outing in Monaco that saw it miss out on points.

Renault saw Nico Hulkenberg retire early on in Monaco with an engine issue, while teammate Jolyon Palmer continued his point-less run of form as he could only cross the line 11th.

The result saw Renault fail to score points for the first time since the second round of the season in China, but Abiteboul felt that the reliability issues that blighted its efforts were to be expected six rounds into the campaign.

“Monaco was a very testing weekend for the team. We experienced reliability issues on mechanical components that were on the last race of their cycle,” Abiteboul said.

“These are challenges that all teams can experience, it is part and parcel of life in modern-day Formula 1. Monaco highlighted the areas we need to improve and further confirmed elements we knew about.

“And with the new components, we are now ready to attack the next race with the same perseverance and attitude.”

Abiteboul confirmed that Renault would be taking updated engine and gearbox parts to Canada, where he believes the team can start a new for the 2017 season.

“Canada is all about bouncing back and making a fresh start. We now have a more robust engine and gearbox and we can fully focus on maximizing performance,” Abiteboul said.

“The team in Enstone are heading to the race with an aerodynamic package adapted to the Montreal circuit.

“However, due to the challenges of the track, we certainly don’t expect an easy race.”

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

F1 Sergio Perez out
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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.