Tagged in: race

Mercedes to leave Formula E after 2022

Formula E champions Mercedes will withdraw from the all-electric series at the end of the Gen2 era in 2022 to concentrate on Formula One, the carmaker said on Wednesday.

The announcement comes three days after Dutch driver Nyck de Vries acquired the Formula E world championship title after finishing eighth in the season’s final race in Berlin, with Mercedes also winning the teams’ title after Stoffel Vandoorne’s third place.

“Mercedes-Benz today announced that it will conclude its ABB FIA Formula E success story as a team entrant and manufacturer at the end of Season 8, in August 2022,” the manufacturer said in a statement.

“Moving forward, the company will concentrate its works motorsport activities on Formula 1, reinforcing the sport’s status as the fastest laboratory for developing and proving sustainable and scalable future performance technologies.”

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In December, German manufacturers Audi and BMW confirmed they would exit Formula E at the end of this year.

Mercedes announced a new strategic direction for its brand in July, with the aim of going all-electric by the end of the decade.

“As part of the new strategic direction, the brand has deliberately chosen to shift resources for this accelerated ramp-up of electrification, including the development of three electric-only architectures to be launched in 2025,” the carmaker said.

“Therefore, Mercedes will reallocate resource away from its ABB FIA Formula E World Championship programme and towards applying the lessons learned in competition to product development in series.”

This decision leaves Mahindra, DS Automobiles, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, Nissan and NIO as manufacturers who have committed to the Gen3 rules that will run until the end of the 2025-26 season.

Race teams Andretti Autosport and Envision Virgin Racing are also expected to continue, while Mercedes affiliate Venturi Racing will be required to find a new powertrain partner.

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Hamilton set to race in Abu Dhabi after negative COVID-19 test

Lewis Hamilton is set to return to action with Mercedes at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing negative for COVID-19.

The seven-time world champion missed last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID on the Monday before the race and was substituted by Williams driver George Russell.

Before the completion of 10 days in isolation in Bahrain, Hamilton tested negative for COVID on Wednesday, letting him to travel on Thursday to Abu Dhabi, where he tested negative for a second time on arrival in the United Arab Emirates.

“The FIA, Formula One and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team can today confirm that Lewis Hamilton has returned a number of negative COVID-19 tests,” an FIA statement said.

“He has completed his ten-day quarantine in Bahrain and was free to leave the country according to the Bahraini health authority regulations.

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“Lewis has now arrived in Abu Dhabi following confirmation from the authorities that he could do so and after quarantining has now received a further negative test result.

“The FIA COVID-19 protocols remain clear and have not changed. A negative pre-test result is necessary to be given access to the Formula One Paddock as set out in Appendix S to the International Sporting Code and another negative test result no more than 24 hours following arrival is required.

“Lewis, having now tested negative in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be granted access to the paddock.”

Hamilton’s return to the paddock means he will be able to take part in the first practice session for this weekend’s season finale.

Russell will return to Williams, meaning his replacement for the Sakhir Grand Prix, Jack Aitken, will not drive this weekend.

The news was confirmed by the FIA on Thursday evening when the governing body announced the official entry list for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Hamilton at Mercedes and Russell at Williams.

Speaking in a video posted on Instagram on Tuesday, Hamilton stated his week in isolation with the virus had been “one of the hardest weeks that I’ve had for some time”.

Russell concluded ninth in Hamilton’s car at the Sakhir Grand Prix. He was on target to win the race before a mistake at one of Mercedes’ pit stops resulted in the wrong tyres being fitted to his car, forcing him to make an additional pit stop before a puncture ruled him out of the running for victory.

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Williams family stepping down from its F1 team

The historic chapter-closing move comes a fortnight after the famous Grove outfit was sold to US investment firm, Dorilton Capital.

The Grove team will continue to run under the Williams name into its new era, but will no longer be run by the family.

Sir Frank, who founded the outfit with Sir Patrick Head in 1977, has been one of the most successful team principals/owners in history with seven drivers’ and nine constructors’ championships.

Claire has been in day-to-day control since 2013 in the role of deputy team principal.

She first joined the team in an official capacity in 2002. She stated the new owners had encouraged them to continue on but they had decided it was the right time to step away, having secured the team’s future via the sale and signed the new Concorde Agreement.

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“With the future of the team now secured, this feels like the appropriate time for us to step away from the sport,” said Claire Williams.

“As a family, we have always prioritized Williams. We have demonstrated that by our recent actions with the Strategic Review process and we believe now is the right time to hand over the reins and give the new owners the opportunity to take the team into the future.

“We have been in this sport for more than four decades. We are incredibly proud of our track record and the legacy we leave behind. We have always been in it for the love of it, for the pure pleasure of going motor racing, so this is not a decision that we have taken lightly but after much reflection and as a family”.

Williams have concluded bottom of the standings in each of the past two campaigns and are the only outfit without a point so far in 2020.

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Australian GP to go ahead as planned

The 2020 Formula One season’s opening round will go ahead as planned on March 15, according to the Australian Grand Prix race organizers, regardless of concerns about coronavirus outbreak.

Australian GP CEO Andrew Westacott quelled those doubts on Monday saying: “We are all systems go and gearing up for the 25th Formula One race in Melbourne next week.

“The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days and we’re looking forward to opening the gates to the public on Thursday March 12.”

“The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event and we are working collaboratively with health agencies and related government and emergency services organizations in addressing this matter.”

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Australian Grand Prix race organizers insisted opening round will go ahead.

He added: “We continue to closely monitor the situation in the lead-up to the Grand Prix and are taking guidance from subject matter experts, including Victorian and National Chief Health Officers and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.”

“At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula 1 and the teams will not be arriving as usual.”

“Formula 1 has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead and we’re looking forward to welcoming them and the teams to Melbourne.”

After Australia, the F1 campaign is due to continue with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 22, before heading to Vietnam for its inaugural race on Sunday 5 April.

The Chinese Grand Prix — originally scheduled for Sunday 19 April — has already been postponed by due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of other sports have been affected by the global spread of the virus, with confirmed cases now standing at over 88,000.

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Ralf Schumacher´s son to race in Formula Three

There will be two Schumachers on the road to F1 in 2020, as Ralf Schumacher’s son, David, has joined Formula 3 full-time with Czech side Charouz Racing System.

David Schumacher made an earlier-than-expected F3 debut last year in the season finale at Sochi for Campos when he replaced the injured Alex Peroni, although it proved to be a steep learning curve for the youngster, who ended 22nd and 20th.

The German racer then switched to Charouz for the FIA F3 World Cup in Macau, where he finished 21st in one of the most challenging races on the planet.

“I feel really happy and grateful to make the step up to FIA Formula 3 full-time with Charouz,” Schumacher said. “I drove two events at the end of last year and that was good preparation for the season ahead. “I got to learn more about the car, and that’s valuable as we don’t have many practice opportunities during race weekends. I think we can make a step forward this season and I will try and finish as high as possible.”

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The German – whose father Ralf drove in F1 for Jordan, Williams and Toyota, taking six victories – has already tasted success in single-seater racing, having claimed the vice-champion title in the 2018 F4 UAE Championship with three wins.

He also secured three wins in the Formula Regional European Championship in 2019, before making the step up to F3.

He will be joined at the team by experienced Finnish racer Niko Kari and Japanese-born Brazilian rookie Igor Fraga. The 18-year-old’s older cousin Mick Schumacher already races on the F1 support package for PREMA in the F2 Championship and took his first triumph in Budapest, Hungary last season.

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