Racing Point Appeal Withdrawn as “Reverse Engineering” Banned

image courtesy of Racing Point

Racing Point have decided to withdraw their appeal against their fifteen point reduction today after the teams agreed to a new regulation. The soon to be rebranded team incurred a fifteen point deduction earlier on in the season as a result of their break ducts being too similar to that of last year’s Mercedes.

Racing Point had caused a lot of controversy at the beginning of the season as they arrived at testing with a car that looked to be a carbon copy of the W10. A lot of teams questioned the legality of the pink team’s car with Renault lodging an official protest. The FIA deemed that whilst Racing Point hadn’t broken any technical regulations, they had broken some ambiguous sporting ones and were docked points as a result.

image courtesy of Racing Point

Team Co-Owner Lawrence Stroll fiercely defended the team and they lodged an appeal to the FIA which they have now withdrawn following clarification banning such cars from 2021 onwards. In a statement, Racing Point said “We welcome the resolution… and we’re pleased the FIA has provided much-needed clarification.” Later adding “we have decided to withdraw our appeal in the wider interests of the sport….This issue has been a distraction for us and the other teams”.

As a result of the withdrawal, Racing Point will keep their fifteen point deduction which has had little effect, with the team sitting just 2 points off of third placed McLaren in the constructors championship. However, with Ferrari currently maintaining they intend to appeal for a harsher penalty, this issue seems far from settled and could go on for some time.

Opinion: Is Verstappen costing Red Bull the Constructors Title?

Taking over from Stewart Grand Prix in 2005, Red Bull Racing have been one of F1’s front running teams for over a decade. However, despite having a winning car since 2009, their last constructors’ (and drivers’) title was in 2013 – seven years ago.

Vettel-Webber 2009 Abu-Dhabi 02 // Paul-Henri Cahier/Red Bull Content Pool // SI201412034496 // Usage for editorial use only //

In part, that is due to the Turbo Hybrid Era and the rise of Mercedes’ subsequent rise. The change of engine regulations after 2013 saw Mercedes dominate the sport, with Red Bull’s Renault engine unable to consistently match the German outfit. Yet, in recent years, separate issues have arisen within Red Bull Racing that makes them look less and less likely to win another constructors’ championship.

2014 Canadian Grand Prix, Sunday – Wolfgang Wilhelm

As soon as Max Verstappen joined F1 in 2015, it was clear that he was Red Bull’s golden boy and, in the eyes of many, he had the talent to deserve it. It wasn’t long before he was promoted to the team in place of Daniil Kvyat, partnering Daniel Ricciardo. With Verstappen and Ricciardo at the wheel, they appeared to have one of the strongest line-ups on the grid and if they could just have a competitive engine, they’d be able to grab the title.

But their relationship with Renault was quickly diminishing and it was announced they would run the Honda engine from 2019 onwards. Paired with Red Bull’s increasing focus on Verstappen, Honda’s unsuccessful recent record in F1 did little to persuade Ricciardo to stay. He left for Renault.  Red Bull were now in a predicament, who should they sign as a replacement? The promising, but inexperienced Frenchman, Pierre Gasly, was who they went with.

However, this was where those big issues started to rise to the surface. With only one “star driver” in the team, Red Bull decided to mould the team around Verstappen. They designed the car to suit him, told his teammate to use his setups, and allegedly gave him the new upgrades first. If Fernando Alonso taught us anything, it’s that this model is rarely successful, and somewhat unsurprisingly, Gasly wasn’t on the pace. He was dropped after just 12 races in 2019.

MONTMELO, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 28: Pierre Gasly of France and Red Bull Racing talks with race engineer Mike Lugg in the garage during day three of F1 Winter Testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 28, 2019 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI201902280252 // Usage for editorial use only //

Alex Albon, Gasly’s replacement, started off his Red Bull career closer to Verstappen, but since the start of the 2020 season he has also been too far away from his teammate. He was even allegedly used as a test dummy for the Hard tyres in the recent Spanish Grand Prix. Gasly was GP2 (now F2) Champion in 2016, and Albon finished third in F2 in 2018, just marginally behind the highly rated Lando Norris and George Russell, so how can it be that these two drivers seemingly forgot how to drive overnight? Answer: They didn’t.

With Red Bull giving sole focus on superstar Verstappen, they will struggle to find someone who can be quick enough to support him. In order to be competitive, drivers need attention from their team. and currently Red Bull are stuck in a cycle whereby: the more they focus on Verstappen, the worse their other driver does, thus the more they focus on Verstappen etc. One of the biggest factors of Red Bull’s failure to win the constructors title is the toxic nature of how they treat their drivers. Max Verstappen is undoubtedly exceptional, but the team focusing just on him is costing them a chance at fighting for the championship. Unless they can find a driver who happens to suit a car that is built around Verstappen, Red Bull will not win the team’s title for the foreseeable future.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – MAY 27: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 TAG Heuer on track during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 27, 2018 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI201805290325 // Usage for editorial use only //

At the moment, Mercedes have a dominant car, and in order to win, Red Bull need to improve theirs, but it is next to impossible to succeed as a team with just one car. They are the only team looking anywhere near likely to challenge Mercedes, but whilst they only pay attention to Verstappen, I fear Mercedes’ dominance will continue for some time.

Feature Image Courtesy of Peter Fox/ Getty Images/ Red Bull Content Pool

Da Costa and Techeetah Champions In Thrilling Season

image courtesy of Formula E

Another gripping season of Formula E has finally come to an end, almost a month later than originally planned, and it will be Antonio Felix Da Costa and DS Techeetah who are happiest with their performances. After a difficult start for our 2019/20 champions, they sealed both of the teams and drivers championships with two races left to run. Dominant by Formula E’s standards.

image courtesy of Formula E

Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird started the season strongest in Ad Diriyah, continuing his streak of being the only driver to take a victory in every season to date after starting from 5th position. The Brit made some great overtakes as he carved his way to the top step, heading out Andre Lotterer for Porsche and Stoffel Vandoorne for Mercedes. Both Porsche and Mercedes achieving a podium finish in their debut races.

However, it was BMW’s Alexander Sims who took a pole to flag victory in the second race in Saudi Arabia. Our eventual champion, Da Costa received a penalty for spinning Buemi, who was slowing to take Attack Mode. Da Costa eventually climbed his way back up to tenth, whilst taking the fastest lap in the process to bring home his and Techeetah’s first three points of the season.

image courtesy of Formula E

In Chile it was BMW who took the lead of the constructors championship after their very own German, Max Guenther won the race from second position, overtaking the Pole man Mitch Evans who struggled with energy management. Da Costa made some lovely overtakes to climb eight position and finish in 2nd place. Showing the field that consistency was key in Formula E, Vandoorne took the lead of the championship despite being without a victory. Vergne’s poor start to the season continued, still with just 4 points to his name.

Redemption for Evans in Mexico saw him win fairly comfortably, with Da Costa taking his second podium of the season. Sims had a notable drive, gaining 13 positions to finish 5th! With that victory Evans now lead the championship (4 different leaders in 4 races). We were left waiting for someone to seize control.

And seize control Da Costa did, winning from pole by a whopping 11 seconds in Marrakech. Evans’ race was not to be scoffed at, starting 24th and finishing P6, an amazing race for the Kiwi. 3 podiums in a row meant Da Costa now lead the championship from Jaguar’s Mitch Evans and Techeetah made up for their slow start to head the rest of the teams.

Then disaster struck. A very contagious virus known as Covid-19 began to take over the world, halting everyone in their tracks for a few months. Tragically, millions of people have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic.

But nothing could stop Formula E for very long, starting up again on the 5th August with a revised calendar of three double headers in Berlin on three different layouts, setting us up for an incredible 9 days of racing. But did Da Costa’s momentum get hampered? Of course not! The Portuguese man took two victories in the first two Berlin races making it three on the bounce. By this point he had two hands on the trophy as his title rivals all failed to put up a consistent fight.

image courtesy of Formula E

Going into the next two races Da Costa just needed to get good points to seal the championship and he did so with two still to go, simultaneously winning DS Techeetah the team’s championship as well. But second was still up for grabs and nobody seemed to want it, Guenther put in a claim with his second win of the season, before being overtaken by Vergne with a fine victory the following day.

A new layout came for the final two races of the season with a redesigned second sector. After a strange incident in qualifying, none of the active champions put in a lap time, allowing Rowland to take a much deserved maiden victory from Pole Position. By now it should have become clear that this meant he now sat in 2nd place in the championship.

The final race came with a hint of sadness as Sam Bird finished a fitting final race for Virgin in P5. The Brit had been with the team since Formula E’s inception, always managing to pull a win out of somewhere and holding the record for the only driver to win in every season. He looks for pastures anew at Jaguar next season.

image courtesy of Formula E

However, it was Stoffel Vandoorne who took a dominant win for his maiden victory in the final race of the season, with his teammate, Nyck De Vries, edging out Buemi to seal 2nd position for both himself, and for Vandoorne in the championship. Buemi himself ended the season P3.

Despite some Techeetah dominance, Season 6 has been one of Formula E’s best seasons so far, despite the delay from Covid. We saw wall to wall action up and down the field, said hello and goodbye to some talented drivers, crowned a new champion, and even saw our first carbon neutral team. It has been one heck of a year, and Season 7 is set to be just as exciting. You’d be a fool to miss it!

ENVISION VIRGIN FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL FE TEAM

Yesterday,  Formula E’s very own Envision Virgin Racing was certified carbon neutral by The Carbon Trust, making them the “Greenest team on the greenest grid”.

Alice Powell, Envision Virgin Racing (Courtesy of Formula E)

In order to achieve this certification, a team needs to take out as much carbon as they are putting into the atmosphere and they have a number of different ways to do this. Not only did they team up with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin (who promised to plant 3,000 trees every time his team won a match), but they  also use 100% renewable energy. Other initiatives they’ve used include: installing EV charging points at their headquarters in Silverstone, and their “zero tolerance” for the use of single-use plastics and consumption of red meats at events. Considering up to 37% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from food systems, this is a very promising initiative.

This announcement marks a huge step in Formula E’s drive to help tackle climate change. It comes as Envision Virgin become the first team on the grid to have been deemed carbon neutral across their operational facilities in Silverstone and London, as well as business travel for up to 40 personnel. Jennifer Babbington, Envision Virgin Racing’s Operations Director challenged the other teams to “follow suit and prove how sport and sustainability can co-exist”. She also stated “every single staff member is immensely proud of our achievement.”

Sam Bird (Envision Virgin Racing), Valencia pre-season testing – Credit: LAT/Formula E

John Newton, Associate Director of the Carbon Trust, added “The influence a sports team has in this space should never be underestimated and by demonstrating their own action on sustainability they can inspire others, whether businesses or fans, to also take action.”

Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing (Courtesy of Formula E)

Undeniably, this is a very impressive achievement from Envision Virgin Racing and a big step in tackling climate change. The pressure is now on the other eleven teams on the grid to follow in their footsteps.

Feature image courtesy of Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin Racing (Courtesy of Formula E)

Frederick On Top in British F3

image courtesy of British F3

Kaylen Frederick wins both Sunday races in dominant fashion.

Race One:

The third of the weekend’s British F3 races was won in emphatic fashion as Kaylen drove an excellent race to finish 8.6 seconds ahead of second place Nazim Azman and third Ulysse De Pauw. De Pauw was later disqualified from the race.

Louis Foster started on pole position but a cautious start following yesterday’s jump saw Frederick lead into turn one and did not look back.

Behind him there were several scraps with one between Varrone and Peixoto ending up with Varrone being forced into the gravel. He retired there and then.

Race 2:

This time it was Kaylan Frederick who started on pole and after a good get away lead from lights to flag, just a few seconds in front of Miami and Prior.

There was little to shout about in this race, with the two retirements of Horston and Varrone. Horston will be disappointed in his mechanical failure as he was running in the final podium place.

After that there was little action as Frederick continued his impressive driving to take his second win of the day. Already emerging as a title challenger.

Big Crash in GT’s as Race 2 Ends Under Safety Car

image courtesy of THEWFGAMER Instagram page.

The British GT season kicked off with a bang at Oulton Park this weekend.

Race 1:

Race one saw Lewis Proctor start from pole position and lead into the first turn for the GT3’s. Connor O’Brien looked to do a similar thing in the GT4 category.

There was close action before the pit stops as the World’s Fastest Gamer, James Baldwin, looked to pile the pressure on Angus Fender in third.

Following the stops, Mitchell had found his way into third with Oliver Wilkinson taking over from Lewis Proctor. Michael O’Brien replaced James Baldwin. In the GT4’s, Kibble, Connor O’Brien’s teammate, also lead.

However, after a charge from Michael O’Brien and a penalty for speeding in the pit lane for the leader, O’Brien and Baldwin took the lead, with the number 2 car seeing it out to the flag.

The Jensen team won the first race with James Baldwin winning his first ever British GT event. Behind Jensen, Wilkinson finished second and Macdonald rounded out the GT3 podium. It was a simple affair for Kibble in the GT4 as he took the chequered flag with Collard and Caroline behind.

Race 2:

Phil Keen was raring to go from pole in Race 2 and lead into the first corner. Contact on the opening lap for Race 1 winner Michael O’Brien saw him drop to the back of the field.

Neary and Griffin both suffered problems and the two retired a few laps into the race.

Little was happening  for much of the remainder of the race but an unfortunate incident between Jones and Connor O’Brien saw the race finish under a lengthy safety car. It appeared as if Jones was trying to lap O’Brien but contact was made and the two spun off the track, hitting Fender in the process.

So Balon took the flag in the GT3 category with Collard and De Haan just behind. Flewitt won in his category, followed by Vaughan and Maththiesen.

Not the best way for Keen (Balon’s teammate) to draw level with Jonny Adam on wins, but I‘m sure he won’t mind too much.

Overall a cracking way for the GT season to kick off.

Jump Starts Galore in the Opening Two Rounds of British F3

Images courtesy of BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.

By John Whittaker

Today the British F3 season kicked off in a strange fashion after the first race was decided by penalties. Saturday saw the opening two rounds of the series, with two more scheduled for tomorrow.

Race One:

Kaylen Frederick looked set to take an emphatic win in the first British F3 race at Oulton Park this weekend before a post-race penalty saw him demoted.

Louis Foster looked in a good position starting from pole after qualifying but a jump start and a subsequent ten second time penalty saw him cross the line second, before the penalty dropping him down to 14th.

Part way through the race Josh Mason found the barrier causing a rather lengthy safety car whilst they recovered the car and set about repairs. Whilst the ambulance was called out, Josh Mason walked away unhurt.

The safety car came in and Frederick completed his dominant display leading to the flag, setting multiple fastest laps in the process. An impressive drive from the young American. Or it would have been had he not also received a ten second time penalty (along with Manaf Hijawi) for a false start.

The post-race penalties saw Kiern Jewiss win the first British F3 of the year, with Ulysse De Pauw and Nazim Azman also on the podium.

Race 2:

In the second and final race of the day Piers Prior took a well managed victory leading from lights to flag.

It appears all the action was used up in the first race as the second was a rather dull affair with minimal overtaking around the technical track.

The main talking points from this race were the two retirements: first race pole man Foster and Manaf Hijawi, both mechanical DNFs on Lap 1 and Lap 7 respectively.

Other than that, the race left a lot to be desired with Prior taking his maiden British F3 victory, followed by Kush Maini, and Bart Horsten rounding out the podium.

Overall a decent first day of racing for the BRDC British F3 drivers.

Why you should watch Formula E’s Big Berlin Finale

Image: Courtesy of Formula E

Its no secret that Formula E divides the motorsport community, but here’s why you should watch the Berlin finale that kicks off in just under a fortnight’s time.

The championship:

Image courtesy of Formula E

Formula E is undoubtedly one of the most competitive open-wheeled series you will find. With five different winners in the opening five races, the championship is wide open. Antonio Felix Da Costa has a slender lead going into the final six races; only eleven points clear of Mitch Evans in second. Third is Alexander Sims just a further ten points behind. In fact, eight teams are represented by drivers in the top ten. Both championships are wide open: lots of wheel to wheel action is certain.

New Faces:

The return of Formula E on the fifth August also sees the return of many drivers. However, three drivers that will not be returning to the grid are Dragon’s Brendon Hartley, Nio’s Ma Qinghua, and Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein. This opens up spaces for two new drivers to enter the frame: Rene Rast, and Sergio Sette Camara. Following Audi’s dismissal of Daniel Abt earlier in lockdown, the German team announced that Rene Rast would take his seat, with Abt later being confirmed for Nio. At the time, the dropping of Abt caused much controversy and many thought it a shame that he did not have a seat on the grid. However, Nio picked the German up and he is ready and raring to get racing again. Pascal Wehrlein and Brendon Hartley also announced that they had parted ways with their teams; leaving a seat for Alex Lynn’s to make his return at Mahindra and Sette Camara to join Dragon. With all the fresh faces wanting to prove themselves, we are guaranteed to see an exciting end to the season.

Six Races, Nine Days:

Once the season gets underway again the races will come thick and fast with three double headers, all in the space of nine days. Despite all taking place at the same venue, the Berlin Tempelhof, Formula E decided that there will be three different variations of the track, one for each of the double headers. On the fifth and sixth August, the drivers will drive the reverse layout of the traditional circuit, followed by the normal way around two days later on the eighth and ninth. However, for the final two races, we will see a new track, with turns four to fourteen given a complete shake up. These new circuits will add an extra dimension to the day as drivers have have to learn their way around and then race, all on the same day. Entertainment is certain to ensue.

More Environmentally Friendly Than Ever:

One of Formula E’s biggest selling points (at least for me) is it’s significantly better impact on the environment compared to other forms of motorsport. Any form of racing is going to have a negative impact on the environment, but being all electric, Formula E is going to be much better than that of the likes of Formula One. With all the races being at the same venue, the teams will not have to travel between events, greatly reducing their carbon footprint. Not only that, but the lack of spectators means less food and less travelling, both being two of the biggest contributing factors to the Climate Crisis. For people who love racing, but are concerned by Climate Change, the Big Berlin Finale is almost perfect.

In short, there’s many things to be excited about. Lots of racing, new drivers, championships wide open. The final six races of ABB FIA Formula E Championship are poised to be some of the greatest days of not only Formula E’s history, but arguably the entirety of motorsport.