Autosport 18/02/21

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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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Autosport Media UK Ltd

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2 min.
mclaren reveals its new car as red bull gears up for a fresh challenge

McLaren has given us the first hint of what Formula 1 2021 will look like with the launch of the MCL35M this week (see page 4). As we discussed in the 4 February issue, it’s a team on the up, and the switch to Mercedes power should allow McLaren to see exactly where it stands, even though installing the engine has provided challenges. But even if McLaren has done a brilliant job over the winter, the main threat to Mercedes this year is likely to come from Red Bull. As team boss Christian Horner reminds us on page 18, the team has been able to fight for wins since the turbo-hybrid era began in 2014. It’s won that contest 17 times, but hasn’t done enough to snatch a title to add…

2 min.
the return of mclaren-mercedes

BODYWORK As a result of the switch in engines, McLaren has had to fit the full suite of internals that go with the Mercedes components. One area the Mercedes-powered cars had in common last season was a variation of the sloping sidepods, where airflow passing over the top could drop down freely onto the floor. McLaren has drifted towards that here; it’s perhaps not as noticeable as on last year’s Racing Point and Williams designs, but there is that drop-off to help feed the top of the floor with higher-pressure air to increase the pressure difference between that and the diffuser. This can make the marginally neutered diffuser, trimmed back over the off-season, work a little harder. POWERTRAIN The biggest change for McLaren is the move away from Renault engines to reunite with…

3 min.
sprint races on cards for canada, italy, brazil

FORMULA 1 Formula 1 looks set to introduce sprint races at select grands prix in 2021 after teams showed “broad support” for the plan at a meeting last week. After new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali had put an end to ideas of a reversed grid format, the ex-Ferrari team principal pushed on with the idea of a sprint race to set the grid at three grands prix this year. Under the proposal, qualifying would take place on Friday to set the grid for the sprint race on Saturday afternoon. This would run over 100km – one-third of a regular grand prix distance – and the result would create the grid for the grand prix. All 10 teams showed support for the plan in the F1 Commission meeting last Friday, but were eager for…

1 min.
alonso breaks jaw in bike crash

FORMULA 1 Fernando Alonso underwent surgery for a fractured upper jaw last week after being hit by a car while out cycling in Switzerland Just six weeks before he makes his F1 comeback with Alpine, two-time world champion Alonso was involved in a collision outside a Lidl supermarket on the outskirts of Lugano. He was taken to hospital by ambulance after police officers and medics tended to the crash site. Doctors completed a successful corrective operation, allowing the Spaniard to be discharged from hospital on Monday. “He will now have a short period of complete rest before progressively resuming training to undertake preparation for the start of the season,” said Alpine in a statement. While the incident led to some uncertainty over Alonso’s fitness ahead of the new campaign, Alpine said last week that…

1 min.
ds commits to gen3 period

FORMULA E DS Automobiles, which has partnered the Techeetah squad to win the two most recent Formula E teams’ titles, has become the second manufacturer to commit to the championship’s forthcoming Gen3 regulations. A subsidiary of the new Stellantis automotive conglomerate, which combines the PSA Group and FIAT Chrysler Automobiles, DS joins Mahindra in signing up to the new rules package that comes into play for the 2022-23 season. Gen3 is headlined by 470bhp cars that are 120kg lighter, and will run until the end of 2025-26. Following Audi’s and BMW’s decisions to quit FE at the end of 2021, the FIA will continue to charge manufacturers the €300,000 registration and homologation fee per season until the end of the Gen3 cycle even if they decide to exit early. FE chief executive officer Jamie…

2 min.
in the headlines

CARROLL IS NIO RESERVE Ex-A1GP superstar Adam Carroll will return to the Formula E fold this season as reserve driver for the NIO 333 team. The Northern Irishman, who raced for Jaguar in its maiden FE campaign in 2016-17, has undertaken simulator runs of the Diriyah circuit – where the first round will be held – at the team’s Oxfordshire base. KIMBALL’S INDY 500 DEAL One-time IndyCar race winner Charlie Kimball has secured an Indianapolis 500 deal for 2021 with AJ Foyt Racing. Kimball spent the 2020 season with Foyt, but has lost his full-time ride at the team, which this year is running Sebastien Bourdais and Dalton Kellett. Kimball will also contest the Indy GP road-course event. EKSTROM, LAPPI IN ARCTIC Former World Rallycross champion and double DTM title winner Mattias Ekstrom will return…