Autosport 01/04/21

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The UK’s ‘must-read’ motorsport magazine AUTOSPORT is revered by fans and industry personnel alike as the ultimate source of motorsport news and analysis. The magazine’s expert editorial covers all aspects of the sport, from major international series such as Formula 1, Sports Car racing and the World Rally Championship, to the less glamorous but hugely important grassroots events in UK club motorsport

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2 min.
the real start of f1’s latest great rivalry

That’s what we wanted – and perhaps what Formula 1 needed. For the first time in the turbo-hybrid era, Red Bull has started a season on the front foot. Yes, Lewis Hamilton still managed to take a narrow victory for Mercedes last weekend, but it looks as though Max Verstappen has the car to take on the seven-time champion. It’s still early days, of course, and Bahrain hasn’t been the best track for Mercedes in recent years. You’d still have to be brave to bet against Hamilton at this stage. But Verstappen should have won and the Red Bull advantage in qualifying – nearly 0.4 seconds – was significant. Part of the turnaround is believed to be down to the new rules hurting the teams with a ‘low-rake’ philosophy, such as Mercedes…

3 min.
mercedes ‘needs a faster car’ to defeat red bull

FORMULA 1 Lewis Hamilton helped Mercedes to victory in the Formula 1 season opener in Bahrain, but it is Red Bull that has a genuine pace advantage. A combination of an aggressive strategy from Mercedes, plus some great tyre management and defensive driving from Hamilton, was enough for him to hold off Max Verstappen for the win at Sakhir (see page 18). Yet that success has not disguised the fact that Red Bull’s RB16B appears to hold the edge right now in speed terms – both on the straights and in the high-speed corners, where Mercedes has excelled in the past. “We don’t really have any strengths relative to them,” said Mercedes head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin. “We’ve had a lot of years where we’ve been able to rely on straightline speed, or high-speed…

1 min.
call to bin cost cap for sprint races

FORMULA 1 Red Bull boss Christian Horner reckons top F1 teams need the series cost cap to be lifted in order to afford to run the planned sprint races at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos. At these three events, conventional qualifying will be shifted to Friday afternoon, with a 62-mile sprint race on Saturday deciding the final grid for the main race on Sunday. F1 chiefs are offering an extra payment to cover potential costs, including damage. But big-spending teams want as much as $1million extra and a lift in the cost cap. This idea has not got universal support from teams, with some outfits fearing that lifting the restrictions will open the door to bigger outfits using the extra finances to fund performance gains. Horner said: “If you divide $145m by 23 events, you can…

1 min.
fia ramps up strict car checks

FORMULA 1 The FIA has told Formula 1 teams it will routinely undertake more thorough technical checks after each grand prix. Finishing cars are always weighed, measured and have fuel samples checked before the results are made official. Now, the FIA will randomly select one car for a much more detailed examination, and potentially a stripping of components. For transparency, the FIA wants to make it clear the selection process is not based on any specific suspicions. Teams are expected to ensure their engineers are available to co-operate with any investigation if necessary. They may also be asked to sign a declaration that their second car is of identical specification to the one examined. The process also means that official results will be marked as being subject to technical checks and that, should any irregularities…

2 min.
wrc teams commit to fia’s hybrid future

WRC World Rally Championship manufacturers Hyundai, Toyota and M-Sport have committed to the hybrid future of the series in a deal announced by the FIA this week. Hybrid power will be introduced into the top tier of the WRC next season and a new three-year agreement means the system will be developed with the FIA and the three biggest competitors working together, funding work done by Compact Dynamics and Kreisel Electric. The announcement also confirms Hyundai’s continued participation, which is believed to have been a topic of discussion at board level. The main focus of the agreement for the Rally1 category, which has already received approval from the World Motor Sport Council, is “safety, cost management and sustainability”, according to an FIA statement. “In this joint initiative, the FIA and WRC Teams are committing…

1 min.
ben sulayem launches bid for fia presidency

FIA Ex-rally driver Mohammed ben Sulayem has launched a campaign to become the next president of the FIA after Jean Todt’s final term ends in December. The move comes eight years after ben Sulayem, 59, planned to challenge Todt in the 2013 election, only to withdraw at a late stage. He was involved in the creation of the Abu Dhabi GP and is an ally of Max Mosley. No other contenders have come forward yet but the Emirati, a 14-time Middle East rally champion, may face a candidate endorsed by Todt, who is keen to ensure his legacy is continued. Ben Sulayem has picked Robert Reid, the 2001 WRC title-winning co-driver to Richard Burns, as deputy. Ben Sulayem promises a “fresh approach” and says “the FIA must encourage a culture of democratic and transparent governance”.…