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Autosport 02/07/20

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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.
formula 1 is back – and so are we

It has been a long wait, but the 2020 Formula 1 season should finally get going at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. It’s nearly four months since the Australian Grand Prix was abandoned and a lot has happened in that time, both in motorsport and the wider world. We still don’t know exactly how many F1 races we’ll have this season, but the reduced calendar will mean an intense few months for the teams and drivers. Given Lewis Hamilton’s particular strength over a long season and the fact that Red Bull has won the past two Austrian GPs, the truncated campaign could provide the Mercedes star with a stern challenge in his quest for a seventh world title. Hamilton has been in the headlines a great deal of late, rightly standing…

4 min.
why the return of f1 will be different

FORMULA 1 When Formula 1 bursts back into action at the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend following the four-month hiatus imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be a very different experience for everyone involved. A range of new protocols has been brought in to minimise the chance of a COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘new normal’ has become a much-used phrase this year, and this is what F1 can expect… RACES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS As long as there remains a risk of COVID-19 being transmitted among the general public, no spectators will be allowed in for at least the first phase of the championship. F1 is instead planning fully closed-door events without spectators, guests or sponsors, and dramatic cuts in the number of staff present. Teams will be operating with reduced personnel (a maximum of…

2 min.
indianapolis road course next as series continues

INDYCAR While Formula 1 has been champing at the bit to get going, IndyCar rolled out at Texas Motor Speedway four weeks ago for its season start. But it’s only this weekend at the Indianapolis road course – the first of three planned visits to the venue this year – that the meat of the season begins. You’d be forgiven for anticipating that Team Penske will dominate the season’s first non-oval race. After all, it’s unbeaten over the past five races on the Indy road course, with Will Power taking three wins and Simon Pagenaud two. But with this peculiarly-shaped 2020 season rendering the event as only the second round, and in the absence of any testing, perhaps the squad’s undoubted muscle cannot flex with the same effect and the field will have…

3 min.
harvick on top as nascar races on through pandemic

NASCAR After the sporting calendar was decimated in mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic ripped across the planet, it was the NASCAR Cup that stuck its head up with the announcement that it would be the first motorsport series to return. The risks and rewards on offer for NASCAR were simple: although the number of people on-site was drastically slashed, a pit garage and paddock is ripe breeding ground for a virus to spread exponentially if proper precautions were not strictly followed. On the other hand, with other major American sports such as the NBA and NFL suspended, and not a lot going on elsewhere, NASCAR had the opportunity to showcase a blueprint on how to safely restart its season. The first block of four races announced for the comeback were two each at…

1 min.
abt out, rast in, ma out, abt in

FORMULA E When the Formula E season resumes with a six-race schedule – held over nine days from 5-13 August at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin – there will be two high-profile absentees from the grid. Although Ma Qinghua sits last in the standings, the NIO 333 team remains steadfast in its commitment to always field a Chinese driver. But coronavirus-enforced travel restrictions and a second outbreak in the capital of Beijing mean he and his Shanghai-based race team colleagues will miss the three double-header events. This has paved the way for recently sacked Audi driver Daniel Abt to maintain his record of starting every one of the 63 races in FE history, as he will deputise for Ma at the track where he claimed his most recent E-Prix victory. The two-time race winner was…

2 min.
pittard in ’ring breakthrough

NURBURGRING SERIES Briton David Pittard claimed his maiden win in the NLS – the new name for the VLN endurance series – last Saturday in one of the first European events to run since coronavirus restrictions were relaxed. Pittard and former ex-Formula 3 European Championship frontrunner Mikkel Jensen triumphed in the four-hour race around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, sharing a Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The duo began the contest fifth and Pittard initially lost out at the start but a swift recovery – including a stunning pass around the outside of Mercedes GT3 superstar Raffaele Marciello at the fast Schwedenkreuz corner – meant he was soon running second. Pittard and Jensen remained in contention for victory for the remainder of the race, and were aided by a late penalty for Mercedes pair Maro Engel…