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Lewis Hamilton speaks on how Formula 1 can drive change

F1’s season-opening weekend also represents the public launch of the sport’s new We Race As One initiative.

On the sport’s return at the Austrian GP, Hamilton spoke to Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle in his first sit-down TV interview since the Australian GP was cancelled in March.

  • When to watch Sky F1’s Austrian GP coverage

The full, wide-ranging interview will air during the course of Sky Sports F1’s coverage of the Austrian GP weekend – including our Diversity in Motorsport programme at 1pm on Saturday ahead of qualifying.

Hamilton has spoken about racist abuse he suffered when he was a youngster in karting and asked if he had also ever experienced racism inside F1, Hamilton said: “I have. I won’t talk about which that experience was, but I have, particularly in the earlier phases of my career here.

“I would say over the last years I haven’t, it’s not something that I particularly see.

“What I do see though is very much like when I was at school. I’d go to school as 1,500 kids and I was one of maybe five or six black kids and you feel quite alone. The feeling that you’re led to not feel like you particularly fit into society.

“When you walk into the paddock of Formula 1 there might be one or two other people of colour in this whole paddock, in all the teams. This is nothing new for me: this has been the case the way it has been since I got to Formula 1, since I started karting.

“It’s been something I’ve been talking to Toto [Wolff] about, really trying to improve diversity within our team and it’s great that he has been so open to listening and not kind of fighting back, because a lot of people do take offence to it or feel like you’re being targeted.

“But it’s not about that, it’s about working together, moving forwards, being understanding and trying to improve.”

Asked if he would take a knee at a race this season, “I’ve not spoken to the other drivers. During this time the question has been asked to me and, honestly, it’s not been something that has been on the top of my mind.

“I’ve not come here this weekend with a determined mind frame to go and kneel before the race. So, I really don’t know, you’ll see on Sunday whether I decide to do that and whether I feel it’s appropriate. But I hope that we are all united one way or another. I’m sure the drivers will speak before the race so we are kind of aligned.”

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Sebastian Vettel reveals truth behind Ferrari contract talks and drops retirement hint

Sebastian Vettel has admitted he was “surprised” not to have contract discussions with Ferrari before it was announced he would be leaving at the end of the 2020 season. Ferrari announced back in May that they had decided not to renew Vettel’s contract beyond 2020, with Carlos Sainz Jr signed on to replace the four-time world champion.

Vettel has stayed quiet since the announcement with different reports suggesting how negotiations with Ferrari materialised into no new contract for the German racing driver.

But speaking ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend, Vettel has explained his side of the story.

The 32-year-old admits Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto called him up personally to inform him the team would not be entering negotiations on a new contract.

“There was no sticking point,” Vettel said.

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“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention from the team to continue.

“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore, there was no sticking point.”

Now Vettel will be looking for a new team for next season and beyond, with Mercedes touted as a possible surprise destination.

But he insists he won’t be settling for any seat on Formula One, hinting that he could sit out of the sport for a year until the right opportunity arises.

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“At the moment I’m not really having any [talks],” Vettel said. “Looking forward obviously I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself and my future.

“I think I have a very competitive nature. I’ve achieved a lot in the sport and I’m motivated and willing to achieve more.

“To do so, I think, I need the right package, and the right people around me. So that’s what I’m looking out for at the moment.

“If the right opportunity should arise, then I think it is quite clear. If that’s not the case, then I probably have to look out for something else.”

“If the right thing comes together and comes up, then I’m willing to continue.

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“I feel that I have much more to give. If that’s not the case and doesn’t come together, then, as I said, [it’s] probably time to do something else.

“I am of the conviction that if you are prepared to let’s say shut the door, then you should be prepared to shut that door, and not shut it and expect it to open again.

“I think you have to be aware of the decision that you are making at the time, and that’s why also I’m not rushing into anything.

“I think it’s good to get the season under go, but the next weeks and months will probably bring some more clarity.”

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Martin Brundle season preview: F1 ready for return to racing in 2020

F1’s back: What does the sport’s return look like?

Sixteen weeks after the Australian GP was abandoned, F1 finally returns to begin the 2020 season in Austria. The sport reconvenes with reduced personnel on site and extensive COVID-19 protocols in place for the behind-closed-doors event.

Martin Brundle: “I feel relieved that we’re able to get back racing.

“Formula 1 and the FIA have done a great job, and Austria is the perfect place to restart the season. The track is in a rural location, it’s owned by Red Bull, and there’s a military airfield right next door. The logistics all made sense and it has shown other countries that F1 can do it well, and do it responsibly. There has been an incredible amount of work all round for this to get the green light, I’ve read 75+ pages of rules, risk assessments and protocol to travel to the venue, and operate safely when there.

“I’m not nervous in any way because it’ll be one of the safest places to be in the world. Everybody is in a bubble – or a family, as it’s called – and we’re all being relentlessly tested before, during and after the event. There are contingencies in place too so that we shouldn’t have to abandon as we did in Melbourne.

“Getting the show back on the road was critical for the future of Formula 1, the teams, the manufacturers, broadcasters and sponsors. I’m just sad some of the fans won’t be in the grandstands, and so we’ll have to make even better TV, when we’re allowed to approach and engage the key players.”

How will the drivers find the new schedule?

After seven months without racing, eight races at six venues have been confirmed for an intense initial 10-week run from early July to the first week of September. F1 is hoping to get up to at least 15 rounds by mid-December in what’s set to be the latest finish to a season for nearly 60 years.

Brundle: “We used to relentlessly test every week back in the 1980s and 1990s – in between every European round, we’d go and do three days in the car somewhere – so it’s kind of going back to that sort of schedule.

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  • Mercedes to run black cars in 2020

“I don’t think the drivers will struggle at all, other than maybe being a bit rusty with racecraft. Austria is not a particularly physical track, they are more than fit enough, and the teams will still be relentlessly honed on preparation and pit stops.

“The bizarre thing is starting the season and not knowing how many races and therefore points are available. It’s going to need controlled attack, yet they can’t afford a risk-free third-place finish either, for example, if they can realistically win the race.

“I don’t see the likes of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc being that cautious on the track, mind you, but this balance of needing to get to the end of every race while also maximising points and victories is going to be intriguing to watch.

“And what’s going to be more of a challenge is that if you smash the car up too many times your team is going to run out of parts with such a relentless run of races right up to Christmas. The drivers are really going to have to choose their battles well.

“I would have liked to have seen us trying some different formats in the second races at Austria and Silverstone, just to keep the interest in the second of the double headers and try out ideas out for the future.

“I accept it’s not some trial or demonstration we’re doing here – it’s a bona-fide world championship – so I wouldn’t want to see us play games. But I do think it was a golden opportunity to adjust the format occasionally.

“I’m a bit concerned that on the Friday and the Saturday of second races teams will think there’s not much point going out in practice. But it’s good they have at least got different tyres for the second weekend in Silverstone and maybe even a different track layout for Bahrain, if we also have a double-header there later in the year.”

Mercedes still the team to beat?

F1’s reigning six-time champions were the standout performers in winter season testing back in February and the clear favourites for Australia before it was called off. But could a shortened season change expectations and those pre-season predictions?

Brundle: “The revised season’s going to be about immediate speed and reliability and just getting on with it.

“You’re not going to be relentlessly developing a car in the normal way because there just won’t be the time available. I’m sure the top teams still will bring updates, but they’ll need to be plug-and-play additions. We’re going to have a string of double and triple headers and so any package that turns up in Austria that’s fast and reliable is going to be strong for the bulk of this fast-forward championship.

“I think that plays into Mercedes’ hands as it takes away some of the normal variables through a season.

“Saying that, I wouldn’t underestimate Red Bull. Their speed in testing was very good and we’ll see what Honda come with too. And despite their pre-season struggles you’d never write off Ferrari.

“Another team that the schedule is going to play beautifully into the hands of is Racing Point, whose car was quite openly influenced by the 2019 Mercedes.

“Now that the new 2021 cars have been delayed by a year it plays into their hands even more given that we are only eight months away from next year’s pre-season testing… If you’ve got a good package for this season, you’re going to be carrying largely same pace into next year.

F1’s early 2021 driver moves

F1’s shutdown period in May was unexpectedly enlivened by news of three big driver moves for 2021. Sebastian Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the year to be replaced by Carlos Sainz, with Daniel Ricciardo swapping Renault for the latter’s seat at McLaren.

Brundle: “Intra-team politics are going to be a big story as it’s certainly unusual for teams to know before a season starts that one of their drivers is leaving. You normally get those kind of shock, breaking news lines between July and September when you’re two thirds of the way through the season, not before it has even begun.

“Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz have got to walk into their garages and start a season when it’s already absolutely known that they are leaving. With all the sensitive data and systems you are quickly persona non grata in these situations.

“Especially for Daniel, for example. He’s going to a team with generally a very similar performance level and they’re just going to be increasingly keeping some things away from him whatever they might say. They’ll also be bruised that he thinks McLaren is a better opportunity than Renault.

“Meanwhile, which bit of Ferrari team orders is Seb Vettel going to be interested in? He never was that interested before at Red Bull or Ferrari, so he certainly isn’t going to be now, and he has a big point to prove. He’ll be quick.

“With these dynamics at play it’s inevitable they’ll meet up in combat at some point. Sainz is going to end up trading paint with a Ferrari, and Ricciardo is going to be banging wheels with a McLaren.

“And if you’re one of those teams it’s clear where your loyalties will lie.

“Sainz leaving McLaren for Ferrari is perhaps the most amicable split I think I’ve ever seen in Formula 1. McLaren almost facilitating it to give Carlos his chance – which is lovely, I really admire that. But you’ve then simply got to choose Lando Norris as your preferred man for the season, have you not? Ferrari surely will just throw all their lot in with Charles Leclerc – which some will say they already had anyway.”

Is F1’s ‘changing of the guard’ now irreversible?

Lewis Hamilton again starts the season as F1’s reigning champion and the title favourite as he goes in search of a record-equalling seventh crown. But 2019 also seemed to definitively underline that F1’s next generation of stars, led by Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, are getting close to their first attempts at F1’s ultimate prize.

Brundle: “Aside from Lewis Hamilton, I feel that the guard has already changed to a large extent on the grid.

“What will act as final evidence is whether Fernando Alonso gets back into a seat and if Vettel finds another suitable drive for 2021. If the answer to both of those questions ends up being ‘no’, then you’ve got to consider the guard duly changed.

  • Who will Hamilton’s main title rival be?

“But still watch out for Valtteri Bottas. You’d likely put your money on Lewis all day long, but I think Valtteri will be very strong for Mercedes too. I wouldn’t underestimate him at all, he seems in a great place in his life and has the speed and experience to back it up.

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Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari still possible as F1 legend reveals all – ‘I’ve spoken to him’

Lewis Hamilton was linked with a move to Ferrari for the 2021 F1 season but former driver turned commentator Martin Brundle thinks the Mercedes man could still make the switch for 2022.

Ferrari have already announced Carlos Sainz will join the team next season in place of Sebastian Vettel.

But Brundle believes Hamilton could still end up in the Italian team as the current McLaren driver only has a one-year deal.

The Sky Sports commentator thinks the six-time F1 world champion could look to move to Ferrari if Toto Wolff departs Mercedes.

“I doubt Sainz has got anything locked down in terms of anything beyond one season,” he told the Daily Mail.

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“If Toto [Wolff] left Mercedes and they rowed back a bit with the global pandemic issues and cost cuts coming in F1, the whole scene is changing, then I think his [Hamilton’s] mind might have to turn again to have a look at Ferrari. I would if I was him.

“I’ve spoken to him about being dressed in red and standing on that podium at Monza and looking at the crowd in Ferrari overalls. He said ‘I love red, I’ve got red in my crash helmet, it’s the colour of passion’ but his stock answer was ‘I’ve raced for Mercedes all of my F1 career.’

“Think about it commercially, he can be an ambassador forever for that company so it would be a lot to walk away from.”

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Brundle did warn Hamilton though and used Michael Schumacher as a reference.

The legendary German driver left F1 after success at Ferrari before returning to Mercedes but could never replicate his performances.

Brundle added: “It would be nice to see but Michael Schumacher was a Ferrari hero then he went to Mercedes and broke that link to Ferrari and it didn’t work out.

“Lewis has got to step away from a company he has been involved with all his professional career and you would really have to think long and hard about that, just for the romance of being a Ferrari driver.

“And where are Ferrari at? Are they going to give him a winning car or is he going to end up frustrated like Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel?”

The 2020 F1 season finally starts this weekend with the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday (2.10pm).

The championship start was delayed due to the global coronavirus pandemic which has left thousands dead.

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Ferrari reveal plans for ‘significant’ change of F1 2020 car direction

Ferrari have revealed their 2020 car will not feature any updates compared to the one run at February testing for F1’s return in Austrian GP, with the team instead working on a “significant change of direction” in development.

Confirming their first round of updates will instead appear at the season’s third round – in Hungary in two weeks’ time – Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto said their disappointing form in winter testing had led to a rethink with the SF1000.

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“This weekend the car will run in the same configuration used towards the end of the Barcelona tests,” said Binotto.

“This doesn’t mean we have been twiddling our thumbs in the very limited time of just five and a half weeks in which we were able to work on the cars, because of the stringent procedures involved in working around the pandemic as well as the total shutdown of activities required by the FIA in agreement with the teams.

“The truth is that the outcome of the tests led us to take a significant change of direction in terms of development, especially on the aerodynamic front.

“First, we had to understand why we did not see the results we had expected on track and how much to recalibrate the whole programme as a result. It would have been counterproductive to continue in the direction we had planned, knowing that we would not have reached our goals.

“Therefore we decided to come up with a new programme that looked at the whole car, knowing that not all of it would be ready for the first race.

“Our aim is to introduce the updates at the third race on 19 July at the Hungaroring. Apart from that, over and above the actual development of the car itself, these past few weeks we have worked a lot on analysing its behaviour, with simulation work and with the help of our drivers and I think that will prove its worth in Austria.”

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F1 drivers have discussed taking a knee in Austria amid Hamilton equality fight

Lando Norris says a number of Formula One drivers have discussed "taking a knee" at the first race of the season in Austria on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton, the sport's six-time world champion, has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement, attending an anti-racism march in London earlier this month.

Hamilton's Mercedes team announced on Monday that they will adopt a black livery on their cars this year in the fight against inequality.

Premier League players have shown their support for the BLM movement by taking a knee before kick-off – and F1 drivers could choreograph a similar show of solidarity on the grid on Sunday.

"Some of the drivers have already been speaking [about taking a knee]," Norris told the PA news agency. "If we are going to do it, we should all do it as a grid.

"It will be discussed following the drivers' briefing with the Grand Prix Drivers' Association on Friday. We will do whatever we can to show that we care and respect everyone. We will do what is right when the time comes."

Like Hamilton, Norris will carry the 'End Racism' message on his car this season. The 20-year old McLaren driver recently encouraged his social media following to sign petitions following Hamilton's criticism of his peers for staying silent on the matter.

"I want to do better than any other driver, but everyone should be given the same opportunity and treated the same," added Norris. "It is not fair that people get treated differently because of their race.

"This sport reaches millions of people and the more we can do as drivers, teams, and as a community in Formula One, the bigger impact we can have."

The new F1 campaign had been due to start in the middle of March before a member of Norris' McLaren team fell ill with coronavirus on the eve of the season opener in Melbourne.

The event was subsequently called off, with this year's schedule ripped up. Eight rounds – starting with two on successive Sundays in Austria – are now due to take place over 10 weekends, with F1 bosses hopeful of staging as many as 18 races before the end of the year.

The events are all set to take place behind closed doors. Face masks will be a common sight in the pit lane, while every member of the travelling circus will be tested for Covid-19 before and throughout the Austrian Grand Prix. Away from the track, Norris and his fellow drivers will largely be locked away in their hotels.

"I will be in a bubble, speaking to and interacting with as few people as I need to," said Norris. "I have pretty much spent the last three months on my own so I am used to it.

"We will have people on standby and people on back-up to jump into different roles if people fall ill. But we all want to be here until the final race in December so we will take the precautions to make sure we can continue doing our job."

Norris will be looking to build on an encouraging opening season in the sport where he finished 11th in the championship with a best finish of sixth in Bahrain and Austria.

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He added: "This period has been the longest that I have not driven anything since I started go-karts when I was seven.

"I felt like I haven't been a driver. I have gone back to a normal life, doing what everyone has been doing, staying at home, and not much else.

"In some ways it has been good to get a break from it, but now there is nothing I want more than to get back in the car and start driving again."

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Formula 1 2020: Who’s the biggest threat to Lewis Hamilton’s crown?

Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a record-equalling seventh Formula 1 title this season – but is braced for a tougher test than ever from his rivals.

So, who will be the Mercedes driver’s biggest threat?

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Will Valtteri Bottas finally mount a season-long championship challenge? Is this Max Verstappen’s year to compete in a strong Red Bull car? And what about Charles Leclerc, and the departing Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari?

The Sky F1 pundits have had their say – and you can, too, by casting your vote in the poll below…

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Karun Chandhok: “I think it’s a big year for Valtteri. He’s been training very hard, and he knows he’s fighting for that seat at Mercedes. It is the best seat in Formula 1, and it’s the one which has won the constructors’ championship for so many years now. He’s got people like George Russell snapping at his heels, so he’s now got the next six months to prove once again that he’s the man for the job, not just for 2021 but beyond that when we get the new regulations in 2022.

“To do that, he needs to be right there with Lewis winning races. I think the key word is consistency for him. We’ve seen on occasion in the past, there have been races where he’s out-qualified Lewis – I think of Barcelona last year where he out-qualified him by half a second, but then got beaten comprehensively in the race. I think there are two or three pieces of the puzzle that Hamilton does slightly better than him on a consistent basis. That doesn’t mean Valtteri can’t raise his game, it’s just a question of can he, and how quickly?”

Johnny Herbert: “I think Valtteri has improved each year. But where we have Lewis’ ability to fundamentally change his style to the situation he finds himself in, Valtteri hasn’t quite been able to achieve that. He’s done a lot of fitness, he seems to be in the best shape he’s ever been in, and I think what is crucial for this weekend is to actually dominate his team-mate. If he can do that, at a track he has done well at the past, he can start to use that extra energy to put the pressure on his team-mate.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull

Damon Hill: “Max will be up for it. Don’t forget he’s won there in Austria, twice. I think Red Bull will be looking at taking chances, doing risky strategies – they’ve got nothing to lose. For Mercedes, the issue is continuity – how can they play it aggressively when they’ve got to protect their position? Red Bull are a much more attacking team, they’re in a position where they can go flat-out in every race and it might work for them.”

Karun Chandhok: “I would put Red Bull as the nearest challengers to Mercedes [rather than Ferrari]. Max has form, and in pre-season testing, certainly on the long runs and qualy one-lappers, they looked closer to Mercedes than Ferrari.

“Also, Red Bull are the only one of the top three teams who have run their 2020 car with their filming day. The images and pictures you saw from that last week showed a whole raft of updates on their car. So they’ve already had a chance to at least do some correlation work and know where they are heading to Austria, which will give them at least some direction. I’m really interested to see, when we get to qualifying, how close the Red Bull-Honda package is going to be.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

Johnny Herbert: I think what’s good for us going to Austria is that Charles Leclerc has grown over the last season. We saw that brilliant battle last year with Max where in the latter part of the race they were battling side-by-side. That released a new Charles Leclerc, a very aggressive Charles Leclerc who decided: Right, if that’s how you’re going to play this game, I’m up for that.

“Of course Ferrari have got to give him that opportunity. I hope they’ve had that time to analyse what they’ve done and now put themselves in a better position, because at testing they weren’t up to speed at all.”

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Johnny Herbert: “Has he already checked out? The Sebastian I know hasn’t. When he was leading the team, he had the might of Tifosi on his shoulder, Italy on his shoulder, and all the pressure from Ferrari as well. It didn’t really help him. When you look at the garage at Mercedes, Lewis doesn’t have as anywhere near as much pressure.

“Has that now been released, and are we going to see the Sebastian Vettel of old? I hope so. He’s not a four-time champion just because he had the best car, and it’s not a given that Leclerc is going to go to Austria and be the quickest Ferrari driver.”

Karun Chandhok: “I really wonder which Sebastian Vettel is going to show up. Last year in Singapore, Russia, we saw the quadruple world champion with devastating speed. But then we also saw the error-prone Sebastian at times.

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Hamilton to race for Mercedes in new all-black car in support of BLM

Lewis Hamilton to race for Mercedes in new all-black car and overalls as F1 team give up their famous ‘Silver Arrows’ trim to get behind Black Lives Matter movement after British star hit out at the lack of diversity in ‘white-dominated sport’

  • Lewis Hamilton has worked closely with Mercedes on their new design for 2020
  • British star and team-mate Valterri Bottas will race in all-black cars and overalls
  • Mercedes have given up ‘Silver Arrows’ trim to fight racism and boost diversity
  • Hamilton hit out at ‘white dominated sport’ after George Floyd’s death in May
  • The reigning F1 world champion says he and Mercedes want to ‘build a legacy’ 

Lewis Hamilton will race in an all-black Mercedes to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement when the Formula One season finally begins this week.

The reigning world champion has been outspoken about the lack of diversity in the sport and last month hit out his fellow drivers for ‘staying silent’ in the wake of George Floyd’s shocking death at the hands of a police officer in the US.

But in a bid to show they ‘stand against racism and all forms of discrimination’, Mercedes have abandoned their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ trim for the 2020 season. 

Mercedes’s new all-black design will support the Black Lives Matter movement this season

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has been vocal about the lack of diversity in F1

Hamilton and his team-mate, Valterri Bottas, will instead race in an all-black base livery ‘as a public pledge to improve the diversity’ of Mercedes when the delayed season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Both drivers will also wear black overalls and adapt the designs of their helmets in order to reflect the campaign.

The message ‘End Racism’ will be displayed on the halo of both cars, while the new F1 initiative #WeRaceAsOne will feature on the mirrors. 

Hamilton, who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in London earlier this month, worked closely with Mercedes and team principal Toto Wolff on the project. 

Speaking about Mercedes’ decision to design the black car, Hamilton said: ‘It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity. 

The British Mercedes driver was seen at a Black Lives Matter protest in London this month

Mercedes are ditching their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ trim for 2020 to help fight racism 

‘I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change. 

‘When I spoke to Toto [Wolff] about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united. 

‘I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business. 

‘We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport, and if we can be the leaders and can start building more diversity within our own business, it will send such a strong message and give others the confidence to begin a dialogue about how they can implement change.’

Hamilton has been a vocal leader in talking about the need for the sport to be more diverse

Hamilton had claimed that he ‘stands alone’ as a black F1 driver in a white dominated sport

Mercedes say they plan to announce a diversity and inclusion programme before the end of the season that will involve ‘continuing to listen to and raise the awareness of our team members; forensic analysis of our recruitment and development processes; collaboration with the sport’s key stakeholders to improve accessibility to our sport; and targeted education initiatives to encourage and support talented people from under-represented backgrounds who aspire to reach F1.’ 

The move comes after Hamilton blasted the lack of diversity in F1 and accused his other drivers of ignoring Floyd’s death, the incident which sparked huge Black Lives Matter protests around the world for over a month.

In a number of Instagram post on May 31, Hamilton wrote: ‘I see those of you staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay in the midst of injustice.

‘Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

Hamilton criticised the lack of racial diversity in his own sport on Instagram last month

Hamilton also called for several world leaders to educate their countries on racial principles

‘Just know I know who you are and I see you.’

Hamilton added: ‘I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but with those who are protesting peacefully.

‘There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change. This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.

‘The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of inequality, racism, classism and that we are all born the same!

‘We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.’ 

Last week, Formula One expanded on its new ‘We Race As One’ initiative by announcing it will plough $1million (£800,000) into helping those from under represented groups gain a career in the sport.

In partnership with the FIA, F1 will look to help under represented drivers from karting level and above to try and realise their dreams of becoming a grand prix driver by eliminating systemic barriers they may come across.

Hamilton will begin the defence of his world championship in Austria later this week

Teams will display the ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ rainbow on their cars at the opening race of the season

To help promote the cause, teams will display the initiative’s rainbow logo on their cars at the opening round of the 2020 season at the Red Bull Ring.

A task force will be set up over the next few months including representatives from drivers and teams as well as diversity experts outside of the sport. 

As well as helping potential future drivers, the scheme will also aim to help those from unrepresented groups gain access to possible careers in F1, with focus on education and employment opportunities.

Working alongside the taskforce will be an initiative to primarily, but not exclusively, help fund the under represented groups with internships and apprenticeships within the sport.  

The initial $1million input was financed by F1 boss Chase Carey, and it is hoped support and and funding for interns and scholarship opportunities will increase in the future. 

F1 chief Chase Carey has ploughed $1million into funding the task force and foundation

Carey admitted the sport was not diverse enough and wanted to do more to help those from all backgrounds.

‘We fully recognise that Formula One needs to be more inclusive and diverse,’ Carey said.

‘While we set out our strategy last year to improve the position of our sport, we need, and want, to do more.

‘That is why we will establish a Task Force to listen and ensure the right initiatives are identified to increase diversity in Formula One. We want to ensure we give people from all backgrounds the best chances to work in Formula One regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.

‘We are therefore also taking the initial step of creating a foundation to support key educational and employment opportunities across Formula 1 that will give under-represented talent the chance to work in this incredible sport and build an exciting career.’




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Who won the NASCAR race yesterday? Full results for Sunday’s Pocono race

The nightcap of NASCAR’s Cup Series weekend doubleheader at Pocono Raceway ran until just before nightfall Sunday. There was still enough sun to finish all 350 miles, however. The first-place car won by daylight, to borrow a horse racing term.

It was the 11 of Denny Hamlin, who had redemption on his mind after coming home second to Kevin Harvick in Saturday’s 325-mile opener. This time, Hamlin’s team won the pit strategy battle and bested runner-up Harvick.

Hamlin pitted 15 laps after Harvick did in Stage 3 of the 140-lap race, which enabled Hamlin to build a large lead that survived his late green-flag stop.

“I was hoping for no caution,” Hamlin said of the final 51-lap green-flag run and the winning strategy. “I knew we had the car, and I was just kind of maintaining my gap right there — didn’t want to make any mistakes like I did at Bristol and gave that win away.”

Who won the NASCAR race at Pocono?

Denny Hamlin earned his series-leading fourth victory of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season (breaking a tie with Kevin Harvick) and his record-tying sixth victory at Pocono Raceway (Jeff Gordon also has six). As sweet for Hamlin, he and his team turned the tables on Harvick’s team with a winning pit strategy.

“Yesterday, (strategy) won us the race, and today we finished second,” Harvick said.

NASCAR at Pocono results

Denny Hamlin topped Kevin Harvick in a reversal of Saturday’s results at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones came home third, followed by Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola to complete the top five.

# Rookie. (i) Ineligible for series points.

Average speed of race winner: 122.879 mph.

Time of race: 2 hours, 50 minutes, 54 seconds. Margin of victory: 3.068 seconds.

Caution flags: 8 for 32 laps.

Lead changes: 12 among 8 drivers.

Lap leaders: R. Preece 0; K. Busch 1-35; R. Blaney 36-56; K. Busch 57-58; D. Hamlin 59-76; K. Harvick 77; B. Keselowski 78-79; A. Almirola 80-83; B. Keselowski 84-94; K. Harvick 95-104; D. Hamlin 105-120; M. Truex Jr. 121-125; D. Hamlin 126-140.

Leaders summary (Driver, times led, laps led): Denny Hamlin 3 times for 49 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 35 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 21 laps; Brad Keselowski 2 times for 13 laps; Kevin Harvick 2 times for 11 laps; Martin Truex Jr. 1 time for 5 laps; Aric Almirola 1 time for 4 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage 1 Top 10: 1,12,95,4,2,21,17,19,18,41.

Stage 2 Top 10: 2,10,6,19,47,4,3,1,21,11.

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Formula 1 returns: The ultimate A-Z of the sport’s 2020 season

The 2020 Formula 1 is finally set to get underway in Austria from Friday, four months after the intended start of what had been a hugely-anticipated season was delayed.

So what’s new for this year, what has had to change around the sport due to the coronavirus, and what is there to look forward to on track in the fight for championship honours?

Read on for our A-Z on all things F1 2020 to help you get up to speed…

A is for… AUSTRIA

The second starting point for F1’s 2020 season. Austria’s Red Bull Ring, originally scheduled to be the year’s 11th round, becomes the first European venue to open a season since 1966 and will host the year’s first two rounds. Fans will not be present, however.

B is for… BUBBLES

Isolation bubbles, to be precise. Together with the FIA, F1 has been working on hugely extensive protocols to ensure grand prix venues are COVID-secure for the sport’s return – and, crucially, that its presence in countries does not impact local infrastructure. All attending personnel will be tested before and during events, while teams are being kept apart at the circuit and distancing measures introduced. It’s still an F1 weekend, but not exactly how you know it.

C is for… CHARLES

If it was not crystal clear back at the start of the year, it certainly is now – Charles Leclerc is Ferrari’s man of the future. Starting his third season of F1, and second year at the Scuderia, the 22-year-old race-winning Monegasque already knows Sebastian Vettel, once the team’s undisputed number one, is leaving after December.

D is for… DUAL-AXIS STEERING

It was the innovation of winter testing that got everyone talking and remains a fascinating topic of discussion four months on. Mercedes’ DAS system: just what impact is it really going to make?

E is for… EARLY MOVES

If F1 did football-style transfer windows, they would look like the week beginning May 11 of this year. If anyone foresaw that in the space of three days during a period of lockdown that we have have Sebastian Vettel leaving Ferrari for 2021, Carlos Sainz signing to replace him, and Daniel Ricciardo jumping in the vacant seat at McLaren, even the best astrologers would be out of work. The question now for the next six months is what impact the moves will have on the rest of the 2021 market.

F is for… FASTEST-EVER

Remember those predictions after winter testing back in February? Well, they still stand: the 2020 F1 cars are set to smash lap records over the course of the next six months.

G is for… GLOVES-OFF RACING

A year on from Max Verstappen’s last-lap winning lunge on Charles Leclerc in Austria being allowed to stand by the stewards, the lighter-touch approach to wheel-to-wheel racing is set to be maintained into the new campaign.

H is for… HAMILTON

The record-breaking year? He’s had to wait a long time to get it started, but Lewis Hamilton now finally can begin the season in which he can become the most successful driver of all time.

I is for… ITALY

Will Italy be the one country that hosts two races at different tracks in this unique 2020 season? With Monza confirmed for September 6, Mugello in Tuscany looks increasingly likely to follow once the finalised full calendar is revealed.

J is for… JULY

Three races in four weekends – now that’s what you call a whirlwind return for Formula 1.

K is for… KIMI

Despite a shortened season, the grid’s oldest driver is still likely to become its most experienced – ever. Kimi Raikkonen needs just 11 more starts to surpass Rubens Barrichello’s tally of 322 race appearances for a new F1 record. We will say it for him: Bwoah!

M is for… MAX

Are Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Honda now ready for their first title challenge together? After months of anticipation, we are finally about to find out.

N is for… NINETY-ONE

Michael Schumacher’s record number of wins was once considered insurmountable – but Lewis Hamilton is now just seven (more on that number shortly) victories away from that total. Can he reach, or even surpass, 91 this season?

O is for… OPEN SEASON

With a 22-race season, consistency is key and the cream will almost always rise to the top. But mistakes will be punished more than ever this year, with a shorter campaign opening the door to plenty more surprises. And how will the grid – which was expected to be closer than ever this year – gain advantages with little time for upgrades?

P is for… PODIUMS

Put that champagne on ice. F1’s new norm in 2020 will see the usual podium celebrations scrapped – with drivers instead set to celebrate, at a distance, on the grid after the race.

Q is for… QUALITY

Fewer races there may be, but there’s certainly no shortage of quality drivers to star in them – at both ends of the experience scale. Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Sainz, Norris, Ocon, Russell… need us to name any more?

R is for… RACING POINT

They were the team that created plenty of headlines (and irked many of their rivals) at winter testing with a car that took inspiration from Mercedes’ championship-winning 2019 machine. One thing’s for certain: Racing Point looked very quick back in February and may well be the favourites to lead the midfield this year – and can they even trouble the front three?

S is for… SEVEN

Mercedes have already broke their fair share of records during their dominant F1 spell and they can break another this year by becoming the first team in history to seal seven straight titles. Take that, Ferrari. Oh – and there’s also the small matter of Hamilton aiming to match Schumacher with a seventh championship, and seven wins!

T is for… TRIPLE HEADERS

F1’s first and so far, only triple header, was back in 2018 – and you may remember that it was criticised by many for how much stress it put teams, and drivers, under. But the circumstances of 2020 means it’s back this year, and in a BIG way. There will be back-to-back triple headers (with a week off in between) to start the delayed season – and there may well be more later in the year!

U is for… UNPRECEDENTED

A July start. A jam-packed schedule. A socially-distanced paddock and grid. No spectators (at least to begin with). There has never been an F1 season quite like 2020.

V is for… VETTEL

Expect Sebastian Vettel to attract plenty of attention this year – even if Ferrari are not in title contention. Is this really the four-time champion’s last season in the sport? If not, where next for one of F1’s greats? And will there be more fireworks between Vettel and Leclerc?

W is for… WE RACE AS ONE

F1’s new initiative – aimed at improving diversity and inclusion – will be visible and promoted throughout 2020 with every team to display rainbows on the cars from Austria. Which is where the sport also intends to take a stand against racism.

X is for… (NEARLY) XMAS

F1’s chiefs admit we will likely be racing well into December – most likely with season-ending GPs in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi – due to 2020’s delay. At least it will be hot.

Y is for… YOUNG DRIVERS

Daniel Ricciardo recently lovingly described them as “little ankle biters”, and F1’s young talent – some already established stars and some making their name – could play a big role this year. Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Alex Albon should all be battling for key race positions, while British youngsters Lando Norris and George Russell hope to make strides further back.

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