Autosport 15/04/21

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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 technical challenge threatening mercedes’ domination of f1

It might seem rather dramatic to claim that Mercedes needs to fix its latest Formula 1 contender, particularly as the W12 won the one race it has started so far. But, as Mercedes and Alex Kalinauckas show in our cover article on page 18, this year’s campaign will be different. Mercedes has invariably had the upper hand on raw pace since the start of the turbo-hybrid era. Ferrari arguably had the edge in the early battles of 2018, but a combination of Sebastian Vettel errors and stellar performances by Lewis Hamilton put the (then) Silver Arrows ahead in the points even before Mercedes showed its development prowess. This is the first season since 2013 that Red Bull, with arguably a stronger team-lead-driver combo than Ferrari and Vettel ever were, has started…

3 min.
albon and paffett on track in reborn dtm

DTM The new GT3 era of the DTM has begun. Two days of official preseason testing took place last week at Hockenheim, featuring 19 drivers across four manufacturers. Among them were Red Bull Formula 1 refugee Alex Albon, having his first ‘public’ outing in the AF Corse Ferrari he will race, and two-time champion Gary Paffett, whose deal to return to the series in a Mucke Motorsport Mercedes was confirmed on the eve of the test. Paffett has been absent from the DTM since clinching his second title in 2018. The 40-year-old Briton, whose last race was in the Kyalami 9 Hours in November 2019, initially didn’t have the new-look series on his agenda, but was left impressed by some top driver and team signings during the winter. After receiving a phone…

1 min.
silverstone backs vaccine passports

FORMULA 1 Silverstone has joined a number of UK sporting bodies in backing the use of ‘vaccine passports’ and COVID-19 testing in order to welcome capacity crowds. After being forced to run its F1 races behind closed doors last year and cancel its MotoGP round, Silverstone is planning to welcome spectators back for its summer events, including the British Grand Prix. The current government guidelines allow for up to 10,000 people to attend large outdoor sporting events from 17 May. But Silverstone has joined sporting bodies including the Premier League, the RFU and Wimbledon in calling for the use of vaccine passports for full crowds. The joint letter addressed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that plans to cap attendances at 25% of capacity would “still be insufficient to end sport’s COVID financial crisis”. The…

1 min.
new role for tech boss allison

FORMULA 1 Mercedes has reshuffled its Formula 1 technical department, with technical director James Allison set to move into a new role and step away from day-to-day responsibilities. Allison, who joined the team at the start of 2017, is to become Mercedes’ chief technical officer from 1 July, and will take charge of longer-term strategic planning. His change of position has opened the door for current technology director Mike Elliott to step up into the technical director role. Allison said he felt that it was the right time for him to move into a new position, rather than stay on and prevent others being able to grow. “I firmly believe that people have a shelf life in senior roles in this sport, and I have chosen to step away from my role as technical…

1 min.
hulkenberg ready to sub at aston martin

FORMULA 1 Nico Hulkenberg has joined Aston Martin as its new Formula 1 reserve driver for the rest of the 2021 season following his supersub appearances last year. Following his exit from Renault at the end of the 2019 season, Hulkenberg was entered in three grands prix with the Aston team in its former Racing Point guise last year after its drivers contracted COVID-19. The German replaced Sergio Perez for both Silverstone events, where he failed to start one race but finished seventh in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. He then finished eighth at the Nurburgring, despite only replacing Lance Stroll from qualifying onwards. Those performances furthered calls for Hulkenberg to make a full-time return to F1 in 2021. He was unable to land a seat, and his new role means he plays back-up…

2 min.
ferrari and porsche save gte pro until end of 2022

WEC The future of the GTE Pro division is safe, at least through to the end of the 2022 World Endurance Championship. Beyond that, all bets are off. Ferrari and Porsche, the two manufacturers remaining in the class following Aston Martin’s withdrawal, have committed to racing on into next season. Both will continue with their existing two-car programmes in 2022, the season before they move into the prototype ranks with a Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh contender respectively. A Ferrari spokesman said the marque will “continue in GTE in 2021 and 2022”, while his Porsche counterpart promised “the same programme as this year”. But for 2023 Ferrari has said its “focus will be on the LMH programme”, while Porsche called a continuation of the factory GT campaign in the WEC “a different topic…