Chris Jones/IndyCar

Indy Lights champ Patricio O’Ward joins Carlin for 12 IndyCar events

Leave a comment

Indy Lights series champion Patricio “Pato” O’Ward has joined the Carlin team for 12 IndyCar events this season and will make his 2019 debut March 24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

O’Ward also will race at Barber Motorsports Park, the streets of Long Beach, the Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500, the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader, Road America, the streets of Toronto, Iowa Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Gateway Motorsports Park and Portland International Raceway.

He will be the team’s second entry in each race except for the Indy 500, in which O’Ward will be the team’s third entry with Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.

By winning the Indy Lights title, O’Ward earned a $1 million scholarship to advance to the NTT IndyCar Series with three guaranteed races, including the 103rd Indy 500.

O’Ward originally had planned to take the money to Harding Steinbrenner Racing, but the deal fell apart last month.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity that Trevor Carlin has given me to drive for his team and Team Chevy,” O’Ward said in a release. “I’m just thankful that he and the whole Carlin team really believe in me and I’ll give it my all to show them that I’m ready to tackle any challenges ahead of us starting in a few weeks at COTA. I just don’t think I can properly express how excited I am for this opportunity. It’s been a very stressful past few weeks given my circumstances and it’s been a bit of a hustle trying to find a new home, but I couldn’t be happier about landing at Carlin.”

Said team principal Trevor Carlin: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with many talented drivers over the years, many of whom now race in the NTT IndyCar Series, Formula One and Formula E to name a few, and in Pato I really see a spark similar to some of our highest achieving alumni. He’s a hugely promising talent who deserves this opportunity and has a massive amount of potential.”

O’Ward, 19, began his racing career in go karts at 6. He moved into Indy LIghts full time last season, compiling nine victories and a series-record nine pole positions. In 2017, he also became the youngest Prototype Challenge class winner at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Carlin is entering its second full season in IndyCar after three seasons in Indy Lights.

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

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.