Tagged in: Williams

Simona Halep advances in Citi Open ahead of Venus Williams’ return

Simona Halep earned her opening match at the Citi Open on Monday hours before another former No. 1-ranked women’s player returned to singles action for the first time in 2022.

Venus Williams is set to play her first singles match in nearly a year when she faces Canadian Rebecca Marino on the same court where the third-seeded Halep beat Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-3, 7-5 earlier in the day at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open.

“I had a good run in Wimbledon, so it’s always tough to start,” Halep said of changing surfaces after the grass-court season. “But I’m really happy I won the match and I can play another match here.”

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Williams has not played a WTA singles game since losing to Su-Wei Hseih 6-2, 6-3 in Chicago on Aug. 23. She and partner Coco Gauff lost their doubles debut earlier this year at the French Open.

On the men’s side, Kyle Edmund beat qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6 (8) to win his first ATP Tour-level singles match since October 2020.

Edmund, who was once the top-ranked Brit and climbed as high as 14th in the world, was out while recovering from three knee surgeries.

During his rehab, Edmund pictured himself back on the court in moments like this.

“There was long periods where I was just out, couldn’t play, didn’t pick a racket up. … It just wasn’t fun at all,” he said. “These sort of matches or these events are something you imagine when you’re out.”

Countryman Andy Murray is set to play his first match of the tournament Monday afternoon versus Mikael Ymer of Sweden.

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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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Ferrari, McLaren and Williams commit to F1 until 2025

Ferrari, McLaren, and Williams have all committed their futures to Formula 1 by signing the latest incarnation of the Concorde Agreement.

The Concorde Agreement is essentially a commercial contract that defines significant commercial aspects of a team’s involvement in F1.

By signing the agreement all three teams have committed themselves to the championship until 2025.

“F1 has taken another important stride on the road to a sustainable, strong future with the new agreement,” stated McLaren CEO, Zak Brown.

“This is the right deal at the right time for the sport, its owners, its teams and, most of all, the fans.

“A more equitable sport is better for everyone: greater balance in the sharing of revenues among all the teams and clearer, simpler governance that cuts through vested interests and puts the sport first.

“This agreement will only make the F1 constructors collectively stronger in the long term.” Louis Camilleri, Ferrari CEO, added: “We are pleased to have signed up again to what is commonly known as the Concorde Agreement, which will regulate F1 for the next five years.

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“It is an important step to ensure the stability and growth of the sport.

“We are very confident that the collaboration with the FIA and Liberty Media can make F1 even more attractive and spectacular, while preserving its status as the ultimate technological challenge.”

The latest incarnation of the Concorde Agreement, which has essentially been in place since the early 1980s, marks arguably the greatest change in its history.

Key among the changes is a more equitable distribution of prize money, helping close the financial gap between those at the front and back.

“The new Concorde Agreement represents a major step forward, for both Formula 1 and Williams,” reasoned Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams Racing.

“As one of the sport’s longest running teams, we are pleased to see the future direction of Formula 1 confirmed for the next era of racing.

“Our expectation, aligned with Liberty Media, is that this next era will be characterized by closer and more exciting racing as a result of the new platform of regulations, which include more equitable revenue distribution and a first ever cost cap for our sport.

“The Agreement is a major milestone in the development of Formula 1, and also represents a significant opportunity for Williams to continue on our journey back towards the front of the grid.”

All seven remaining teams are estimated to sign the agreement, the deadline for doing so having been pushed back from last week.

Then, Mercedes stated that it was not ready to sign the document, though that position changed over the course of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. The Concorde Agreement came into being in an effort to end the ‘FISA-FOCA’ war that waged between the FIA (FISA) and teams (FOCA) in the early 1980s.

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Williams confirm F2 driver Latifi will replace Kubica

The Formula One grid for next season is done after Williams confirmed its reserve driver Nicholas Latifi will replace Robert Kubica.

Latifi is to step up from Formula Two to make his F1 debut in 2020 after Kubica decided to vacate his seat following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend. 

Canadian Latifi, who has also been a test driver for Renault and Force India, is second in the F2 championship with one round to go.

The 24-year-old had been expected to partner George Russell next year and his promotion was announced by the British team on Friday.

“I am thrilled to be stepping up as Race Driver for 2020,” said Latifi.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the team this year, supporting them with the development of the car, and assisting wherever I can trackside and at the factory.

“I look forward to the journey ahead with the team, and I am excited to make my Formula One debut at the Australian Grand Prix in 2020.”

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “I am delighted to announce that Nicholas will be stepping up to the role of race driver to partner George in 2020.

“All of us at Williams have been immensely impressed at what he has achieved this year in FIA Formula Two, along with his commitment to the team, and the work that he has put in behind the scenes.

“Nicholas has become an established and well-respected member of Williams, and we look forward to him stepping up into this new role, as we look to fight our way back to the midfield.”

Williams has endured the worst season in its history this year after it failed to get its car ready for the opening pre-season test and was forced to play catch up for the rest of the season.

The team has often qualified multiple seconds off the pace and has only scored one point all season when Kubica snatched a tenth place finish in Germany once both Alfa Romeos were penalised over a technical infringement.

Latifi has received substantial financial backing from his family throughout his career and his father, Michael, holds 10 percent of McLaren’s holding company.

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