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Jimmie Johnson finally makes IndyCar testing debut with Ganassi

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Jimmie Johnson made his long-awaited IndyCar test debut Tuesday on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Chip Ganassi Racing.

The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, who has been angling for an IndyCar ride since attending the NTT Series’ preseason test at Austin, Texas, posted social media photos Tuesday from the Brickyard with the No. 10 Dallara-Honda normally driven by Felix Rosenqvist

Johnson initially was slated to test a Dallara-Chevrolet with Arrow McLaren SP Motorsports three months ago at Barber Motorsports Park, but the April 6 session was scrubbed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after he had been fitted for a seat at the team’s Indianapolis shop.

He had been scheduled to drive July 8 with Ganassi at IMS before he tested positive for COVID-19. He since was cleared for a return to NASCAR by two negative tests after missing one Cup race.

Johnson also has been updating the IG Story on his Instagram account (@jimmiejohnson) with video from the test.

Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull, who has overseen Johnson’s test, posted a photo of Johnson consulting with five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon in a Ganassi hauler. Hull also tweeted that Johnson said after his first laps around the road course that it had been his dream to be an IndyCar driver, and the test lit his fire.

Dixon, who won the first three races of the 2020 season and leads the points standings for Ganassi this season, attended the test as a sounding board for Johnson.

Johnson, who is retiring from full-time racing in NASCAR after the 2020 season, has said he would be open to racing on road and street courses in IndyCar next season with a preference for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He also opened the door to possibly racing the Indianapolis 500 after evaluating the recent performance of the aeroscreen in IndyCar.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said recently that Arrow McLaren SP also remains interested in Johnson despite the test with Ganassi.

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.