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Alonso: ‘Everyone is more relaxed and happy’ in IndyCar

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Having spent time in both the IndyCar and Formula 1 paddocks over the past month, Fernando Alonso has delivered his verdict on the varying atmospheres, pressures and expectations in the two series ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Alonso skipped the Monaco Grand Prix in order to make his debut at the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, where he qualified fifth and ran up front for much of the race before retiring due to an engine failure.

One of the most entertaining images to come out of Alonso’s ‘500 odyssey was of the Spaniard traveling down Gasoline Alley on a skateboard.

While Alonso said he hadn’t broken out the skateboard before in the F1 paddock before as it was not allowed, it did lead him into an interesting comparison between the two environments.

“Well the skateboarding, I think here you are not allowed to bring those kind of things!” Alonso said.

“The whole atmosphere is just different there. Everyone is more relaxed, is happy. Even the way of events we had, everyone is proud of that race, of that event. They’ve been there for many years. Everyone that comes to the race, they are just proud to welcome them and they expect to have fun in that race.

“I don’t say that here is different, but here with years and you know with all the business that is around F1, everyone is trying to find some war or something you say or do that creates maybe a thing behind to more on the news. There it is just about 33 drivers doing the race and just enjoying race.

“Here it is more. Formula 1 is bigger in every sense, and because it is bigger, there are other things. But it’s in all kind of sports in happens. You are more relaxed because the environment is more relaxed.

“There is not the pressure and everything that Formula 1 has here. It is just different.”

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.