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  • Fast Friday: Relief as FBI, NASCAR confirm no hate crime towards Wallace

    Need your motorsport news fix? Welcome to Fast Friday!

    This is where Racing Edge discusses all the main news and talking points from the past week in motorsport.

    Keep up to date with all the main motorsport news below.

    News: FBI concludes no hate crime towards NASCAR’s Wallace

    Relief in the motorsport community after some positive news. The FBI concludes no federal hate crime targeting NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace took place at Talladega Speedway.

    Crew members found a noose in the garage assigned to Wallace’s Richard Petty’s No. 43 team last Sunday. The crew member reported it, before NASCAR confirmed the FBI was investigating the incident. However, photographic evidence proved the noose was there months before the race in Alabama.

    NASCAR released a statement saying: “The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”

    Wallace and the Richard Petty Team also posted statements:

    Wallace is the only professional black driver NASCAR’s Cup Series. He has become more outspoken over the past few weeks, calling for more to fight racial injustice. Two weeks’ ago, Wallace successfully pushed NASCAR to ban Confederate flags from its venues.

    The NASCAR field and wider motorsport community rallied around Wallace to show support. In a show of extraordinary solidarity, drivers and their crews pushed Wallace’s No. 43 car to the front of the grid ahead of Monday’s race. Wallace finished 14th.

    F1 launches new initiative against racism and equality

    F1 news

    Formula 1 is launching a new initiative to combat racism, as well as creating a task force to improve diversity and equality in the sport.

    The campaign, titled #WeRaceAsOne, will see F1 adopt a rainbow design made from the colours of all 10 teams. Cars will display the rainbow, as well as circuits and team garages. It starts in Austria on July 5.

    The initiative will also celebrate the resilience of key workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A Formula 1 statement read: “The rainbow has been chosen as it has become a symbol used internationally in the recent crisis to bring communities together. We believe this important gesture will encourage our fans to join us in saying thank you. The rainbow initiative will continue throughout the season.”

    On the Task Force, the statement says: “In addition to the visual display of support we will also announce later this week clear pledges to increase diversity and opportunity in our sport. This will include setting up a Formula 1 Task Force that will listen to people from across the paddock, including the drivers, as well as externals and make conclusions on the actions required to improve the diversity and opportunity in Formula 1 at all levels.”

    F1 CEO Chase Carey is donating $1 million to the initiative.

    Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is also launching a commission to help drive diversity. Hamilton, F1’s only ever black driver, wants the sport to engage more young people from black backgrounds.

    The Mercedes driver has always spoken out on the racism he has suffered throughout his career. He continues to actively support the Black Lives Matter movement and attended last weekend’s protest in London.

    F1 prepares for return as drivers hit the track

    F1 news Ferrari

    It’s been a busy week of F1 news with teams heading back to the track for the first time since pre-season testing.

    Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc put the 2018 Ferrari through its paces at Mugello, Italy. The duo split duties as the team began rehearsing new protocols and safety measurements in response to the global pandemic.

    Alpha Tauri also began testing at Imola. Circuit president Uberto Selvatico Estense wants the former home of the San Marino Grand Prix to lead a triple header of Italian races this season. Estense believes Imola, Monza and Mugello could host three Grand Prixes in 2020.

    Max Verstappen is missing Red Bull’s test at Silverstone due to quarantine reasons. Anyone flying into the UK must self-isolate for two weeks. Red Bull's limited testing time saw Alex Albon drive the car.

    In other F1 news, the sport will introduce new television graphics this season to easily compare drivers and teams. The graphics will feature analysis from F1 Insights using thousands of data points. Amazon Web Services is working in partnership to create the graphics.

    Cars will be analysed in low, medium and high speed corners. They will be given a score out of 10, to determine where teams have advantages around a circuit.

    Six insights will be shown throughout the season, rolled out at different points. Car performance scores will be shown in Austria. An ultimate driver’s speed competition will be shown at Silverstone. Cornering speed performances will then be introduced at Spa.

    Other insights to be introduced in the second half of the season include driver skills ratings, car and team development and overall season performance. Qualifying and race pace predictions will also be brought in.

    Williams reveals new livery, Mercedes in line for RoKiT deal

    Williams news

    Formula 1 team Williams revealed its new livery this week ahead of the 2020 season start.

    The new paint scheme omits the ROKiT sponsorship. The brand was Williams’ title sponsor from the 2019 season. However, the British team terminated the deal in May.

    The F1 season has been severely delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Austria hosts the first race on July 5.

    Meanwhile, Mercedes is reportedly close to securing a sponsorship deal with ROKiT. The Mercedes deal could be in place for the new season.

    Sauber is looking to its F1 future, announcing the launch of a new young driver academy. The company currently operates the Alfa Romeo team. The academy will look to steer young drivers from karting to Formula 1. Emerson Fittipaldi Jnr, the son of two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, has already joined.

    Sauber Motorsport CEO Frederic Vasseur said: “Investing in young talent has always been a central part of Sauber Motorsport’s racing philosophy.”

    IndyCar to allow fans at Road America

    Road America
    Photo courtesy of IndyCar.com

    News from IndyCar this week reveals the series will welcome back fans for the first time in 2020.

    Fans will be allowed back at the circuit for Road America on July-12. Guests will be tested on arrival at the track, while each fan will receive a PPE package. This features protective face mask and hand sanitizer.

    An IndyCar statement read: "Under the guidance of public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal authorities, INDYCAR and Road America will observe safe social distancing practices and provide enhanced hygiene and safety precautions for all fans attending the event."

    Alex Zanardi in serious but stable condition

    Two-time Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi remains in a serious but stable condition in intensive care following a terrible accident in Italy.

    The former F1 driver, who lost both legs and nearly died in a 2001 Champ Car crash, was taken to hospital last weekend. The Paralympic athlete suffered severe head injuries in an accident while racing his handbike in the Obiettivo Tricolore road race.

    Zanardi, 53, was put in a drug-induced coma and intubated. It is reported Zanardi was involved in an accident with a truck near the town of Pienza.

    Neurosurgeon Giuseppe Oliveri performed surgery on Zanardi last Friday at Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital. He said: "The operation went as it should have; it was the original situation that was not good. What the prognosis will be tomorrow, in a week, in 15 days, I don't know. Serious means he's in a situation where he could die, in these cases improvements can be very small over time and worsening can be sudden."

    Zanardi lost both legs above the knee following a horrific crash at the Lausitzring in Germany in 2001 that very nearly claimed his life.  

    New Lambo Hypercar ‘track ready’, Alfa Romero turns 110

    Lamborghini SCV12 news

    Lamborghini Squadra Corse’s new track-only hypercar, the SCV12, is now track ready according to the Italian marque.

    News of the limited-edition SCV12 completing its development programme is music to the ears of Lamborghini fans. Its premier is set for summer 2020.

    The SCV12 is fitted with the most powerful V12 naturally aspirated engine from Lamborghini to date. It is capable of exceeding 830 bhp and features a completely carbon fiber chassis.

    More news out of Italy as Alfa Romeo turned 110 this week – happy birthday, Alfa Romeo!

    The marque celebrated by re-opening the doors to its historic museum in Arese. It marked the first public appearance of the new Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA.

    Lotus unveil 20th anniversary edition of Exige 410

    Lotus Exige

    Lotus is celebrating 20 years of the Exige Sport 410 in style. The British manufacturer is releasing a new, uprated model of the iconic two-seater roadster.

    The 20th anniversary models feature enhanced exterior and interior specs. Customers will be able to choose from an array of new retro-inspired paint schemes. All are taken from the Exige Series 1, including Chrome Orange, Laser Blue and Calypso Red. Also available are Saffron Yellow, Motorsport Black and Arctic Silver.

    Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes at Lotus, said: “From the very first drives of the development car the Exige displayed new levels of ability. It set new standards for Lotus road and race cars, perfectly illustrating our core values of performance through light weight, aerodynamics and handling.”

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