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 the main motorsport news below.
Latest F1 news – Formula 1
Formula 1 is back! The Austrian Grand Prix kicks off the new-look 2020 Formula 1 season this weekend. Here is the pick of this week’s headlines from the Red Bull Ring:
Vettel wasn’t offered new contract by Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel revealed his surprise at the news Ferrari would not be offering him a new contract for next season.
In May, Ferrari revealed Vettel would not be driving for the famous Italian team next year. At the time, it was reported both parties were discussing a contract extension. But Vettel this week said that was not the case, and that he was surprised when the phone call came from Team Principal Mattia Binotto.
Speaking to the media ahead of F1’s return, Vettel said: "There was no sticking point [in contract discussions]. It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia [Binotto] when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue. We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point."
Binotto claims Vettel was first choice but the Coronavirus pandemic's effect on F1 changed the dynamics of the situation.
Four-time world champion Vettel, who has been at Ferrari for five years, says he currently has no plans for 2021. Meanwhile, team-mate Charles Leclerc says the team is "99% sure" it will struggle this season and will not be as competitive as 2019.
Hamilton wants 2020 title for new-look Mercedes
Six-time and current F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says winning the 2020 championship would be his most special yet.
Hamilton needs one more title to equal Michael Schumacher’s record tally of seven. The Briton says winning the 2020 title amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests would mean more to him.
"Winning the title this year would mean more than ever before being that it is such a momentous year in the sense that this pandemic, which we are still fighting," Hamilton said in Austria.
He added: "But then on a more personal level and the Black Lives Matter and fighting for injustice and equality that, being in that time to be also fighting for something so important. It is not going to change in our time, our generation but for our kids, it is such an important moment for us, so yes, winning the world title during this time would be even more important."
Hamilton made a strong statement in Friday practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. He dominated both sessions ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Both Ferrari and Red Bull struggled to match the their pace.
Mercedes has a new look for 2020, replacing its regular Silver Arrow livery for a mostly black paint scheme. The team hopes to recognise improving diversity while making a stand against racism.
Hamilton, meanwhile, revealed a new Black Lives Matter helmet design for the new season:
Red Bull launches protest over Mercedes' DAS system
Red Bull is protesting Mercedes' new, controversial Dual-Axis Steering (DAS) system.
The world champions caused a stir in winter testing with the system, which it also used during practice in Austria. It allows its drivers to change the alignment of the car's tires by moving the steering wheel forward or backwards while on track.
The system is already banned in the 2021 regulations and will not be legal from next season.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said: "In what is, fundamentally, a grey area, obviously we do want clarity on it, as it does have an impact regarding the rest of this year. It's something outlawed for next year, so the question is, is it right for this year? They're the questions we'll be asking of the FIA through the necessary channels."
F1 Safety Car gets new paint scheme
Speaking of new paint schemes, Formula 1’s Safety Car has an updated look! The Mercedes-AMG GT R will showcase the new #WeRaceAsOne rainbow colours on its normal silver livery.
Check out its new look below:
F1 working on next chunk of calendar
Formula 1 boss Chase Carey expects to announce further races on the revised 2020 calendar in the coming weeks.
Despite the pandemic’s impact on the F1 schedule, Carey still wants a 15-18 race season. The initial eight races take place in Europe. While Carey did not reveal any exact locations, he is hopeful of adding more races soon.
Carey said: "There are a number of races we already know will be on the calendar. I don’t want to get into piecemeal addressing it, I’d like to address it holistically. But to lock the dates in we really need to figure out what other races will be on it.”
He added: “We’ve said 15-18 races and we still feel comfortable with that as a target. Right now we have a number of races we have essentially agreed with, we just haven’t firmed the date up. And a number of places we are moving forward with, trying to firm a date up. We have a few that are much more up in the air based in circumstances in that country.”
Meanwhile, several teams will take upgrades going into Austria this weekend. Mercedes has upgraded its engine in a bid to fix reliability issues, while Renault will take new front wing and bargeboard updates.
Latest IMSA news
Porsche aiming for win as IMSA returns
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes at Daytona this weekend after a five-month hiatus.
Following January’s opening 24-Hour race at Daytona Beach, the series returns to the iconic venue for the second round of its 2020 season. Teams will compete in a much shorter sprint race this time around, lasting just two hours and 40 minutes.
IMSA has brought in numerous protocols to battle the ongoing Coronavirus situation. Teams are limited to 15 personnel per car in the paddock while face masks are mandatory at all times outside of the cockpit. Regular temperature checks will also take place throughout the weekend.
Porsche are expecting big things after an impressive opening showing. Their two new factory 2019 911 RSR’s both finished on the podium last time out, but they hope to go one better on Saturday.
Porsche Director of Factory Motorsport Pascal Zurlinden said: “We’re tackling the next races with the clear goal to defend our GTLM titles this season. With this in mind, we’re hoping that, when we return to Florida after our successful start at Daytona in January, we’ll bring home our first victory in the USA with the new 911 RSR.”
Nasr to miss Daytona, tests positive for Coronavirus
Felipe Nasr will miss IMSA's return to Daytona this weekend after testing positive for Coronavirus.
The Action Express Racing driver went to get tested after feeling unwell on the drive to Daytona. He is based in Miami and will continue to quarantine there.
Nasr is the 2018 IMSA Protoype champion. He was expected to drive the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. alongside Pipo Derani. Gabby Chaves will now replace Nasr at Daytona.
Nasr said: “Yesterday as I was driving to Daytona, I wasn’t feeling just right. So, before I went to the track or met with my team or anyone in motorsports, I went and got tested and, unfortunately, I tested positive. I want to keep everyone on the Whelen Engineering/Action Express team and those around the series safe. I am going back to Miami to quarantine. Hopefully, I will recover quickly, and my doctors can clear me to return to racing soon."
Latest Formula E news
Abt gets Formula E lifeline with NIO 333
The main news out of Formula E this week – Daniel Abt will return for the final six races of the season.
Abt lost his Audi drive after using a Sim Racing ringer in his place for the championship’s virtual ‘Race At Home Challenge’.
However, Abt has since been handed a lifeline in the all-electric series. He will replace Ma Qinghua for the NIO 333 team. The Chinese driver is restricted from travelling to Europe due to the global pandemic.
The final six races of the Formula E season takes place at Berlin’s Temelhof Airport circuit.
Rast completes first test in Formula E car
With a month to go before the Formula E season restarts, new Audi driver Rene Rast is getting up to speed.
The German DTM champion replaces Daniel Abt for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team. Rast has been testing Audi's Formula E car at the Lausitzring and receiving guidance from team-mate Lucas di Grassi.
Rast said: “An open car, completely different sound and completely different focus while testing than compared to the DTM. There were a lot of new experiences during the past few days. I was very well received in the team and in Lucas I have a very open and experienced teacher at my side."
Envision Virgin Racing’s special new livery
There is a very cool new paint scheme on the Formula E grid. Envision Virgin Racing will showcase this beautiful climate change-themed design, thought up by 11-year-old competition winner Kitty Thwaite.
Thwaite’s design beat more than 3,000 other entries from the team’s sustainability-focused art competition. The contest is held in partnership with Nat Geo Kids and children’s illustrator Rob Biddulph.
Thwaite found out on live television that she had won the competition – she will also receive tickets to a Formula E race next year.
She said: “It will be absolutely amazing to see my design for real. We learn about recycling and emissions at school and I care about the environment a lot. I love drawing animals too; pandas are my favourite!”
Latest rally news – WRC
WRC confirms return date
The World Rally Championship will resume in September following a lengthy break due to the pandemic.
WRC released a new, updated schedule this week to signify its return. Estonia will host the FIA-sanctioned competition for the first time, hosting a rally on September 4-6. It becomes the 33rd nation to stage a championship round since the WRC started in 1973.
It also means reigning champion Ott Tänak gets to compete in front of a home crowd.
Further rallies in Turkey (Sept. 24-26), Germany (Oct. 15-18), Italy (Oct. 29-Nov. 1) and Japan (Nov. 19-22) will follow. Belgium’s Ypres and Croatia remain as further options. Rally Argentina has been cancelled.
Latest car news
Lamborghini, boat company to make $3 million yacht
Incredible news out of Lamborghini this week. The supercar marque is collaborating with the Italian Sea Group to create a remarkable new super-boat!
Dubbed the ‘Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63’, only 63 examples will be produced. The 63 refers to Lamborghini’s founding year of 1963. The first boat will be available in early 2021.
The boat features many hallmarks of Lamborghini’s Centro Stile. Design inspiration is also taken from the company’s Sian FKP 37 hypercar. The boat carries two MAN V12 engines that produce 2000 horsepower each, giving it a top speed of 60 knots (110 km/h).
Like the brand’s supercars, this boat is mostly carbon fiber and weighs just 24 tons – giving it an ultra-lightweight boat classification. It is 63 feet in length and uses several parts from Lamborghini’s factory.
How much will it cost? Around $3 million each. And that’s before you consider adding anything from the mountain of customisable options it comes with!
Maserati unveils new Nettuno engine
The Italian marque this week revealed its new “100% Maserati” Nettuno engine.
The Nettuno is the “beating heart” of the new Maserati MC20 sports car, due to be unveiled in September.
Maserati remains extremely proud of its new masterpiece, built entirely in its Modena factory. Maserati claims the engine is a result of a “technical revolution” and is protected by international patents.
The new dry-sump power unit is a 3-liter, six-cylinder twin-turbo which generates 630CV at 7500rpm and 750 Nm of torque from 3000rpm.
Derived from Formula 1 technology, the engine has three main features: an innovative pre-chamber combustion system, a lateral sparkplug and a twin-injection system to improve fuel consumption. Compression ratio is 11:1 while the stroke is 82mm and bore is 88mm.