Sebastian Vettel ‘wouldn’t want midfield F1 seat’, says Haas boss

Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel will not take a career “risk” by signing for a midfield team in 2021, believes Haas boss Gunther Steiner.

With Carlos Sainz coming in at Ferrari next year, Vettel has been left without a seat – and title-contending options for the German appear limited with former team Red Bull distancing themselves and Mercedes likely to stick with Lewis Hamilton as their star driver.

Retirement has long-been mooted as a possibility for Vettel, 32, but so have potential openings at teams lower down the grid.

  • Leclerc, Norris sorry for Virtual GP crashes

Renault have been linked, but would Haas – who finished ninth in 2019 but are powered by Ferrari engines – throw their hat in the ring?

“I cannot afford it!” team principal Steiner told Sky F1 on The F1 Show.

He added of Vettel: “I think Sebastian, being a four-time world champion, I wouldn’t say he’d want to go to the midfield anymore.

“If you have a successful career, what you don’t want to do is to take too many risks.

“I’ve got a good relationship with him but I haven’t offered him a seat. I think somebody else with a lot deeper pockets than me will do that!”

Vettel started his career with Sauber before shining at Toro Rosso, and then winning his four consecutive championships with Red Bull. He joined Ferrari in 2015, but has been unable to end the Scuderia’s trophy drought.

Russell hopes Mercedes opt for youth

Mercedes would certainly be a favourable landing spot for Vettel, with the Silver Arrows having won every F1 title since his last. But while they haven’t ruled out Vettel, team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that they are likely to look internally for Hamilton’s team-mate – presuming the Englishman re-signs.

Valtteri Bottas, with the team since 2017, will be the favourite for the drive, while the team also have ties with Esteban Ocon and George Russell, who are currently at Renault and Williams respectively.

And Russell, 22, told Sky F1 that he hopes Mercedes give him a chance in the future, just as Red Bull and Ferrari have done with their young line-ups.

“Mercedes don’t have the junior programme for no reason,” said Russell. “Likewise Red Bull and Ferrari. The whole goal is to try and develop a driver and bring them through into the main team.

“Obviously it’s a lot about timing as well, there’s only two seats per team and at Mercedes, you’ve obviously got Lewis doing the business and he and Valtteri have been a great pairing for the last couple of years, winning the championship.

“So there must be part of them thinking why do we need to change.

“But on the other hand you start to look at the likes of Ferrari with Carlos and Charles – arguably they could be there for the next four, five, six years as a pairing. likewise with Danny (Ricciardo) and Lando (Norris) at McLaren, and then arguably Max and Alex at Red Bull.

“I think for any company having that stability is hugely important. It’s great to see that these teams are looking for the future, and we’ll see what’s next.”

An update on Bottas

There have been reports that Bottas has been considering his next move in F1 amid Mercedes’ interest in other drivers, although Sky Sports News Craig Slater reported: “We should not overplay these stories.

“My understanding is Bottas has not been told that he is surplus to requirements at Mercedes for the 2021 season onwards.

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British GP latest: Silverstone provides update on state of play

Silverstone chief Stuart Pringle believes Formula 1 will need to know soon whether the sport will be able to operate outside the UK travel quarantine, even if the British GP is moved to August.

Talks are ongoing between the sport and government, with it understood that potential solutions for elite sports continue to be explored.

Pringle believes there is “clear desire at a national level to see sport return” and says he is “encouraged” that there has been progress for the resumption of sport in general in recent days, after the government detailed plans for how elite sportsmen and women can make a phased return to close-contact and competitive training.

  • Silverstone: Door not shut on British GP
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“All of these things are relevant for Formula 1 because we have to start going through some degree of change that we need to work towards what a solution for Formula 1 will look like,” said Pringle, Silverstone’s managing director, on The F1 Show.

“I’m encouraged there’s progress in the right direction.”

Silverstone has agreed terms with F1 to stage two races, with the dates initially pencilled in for July 26 and August 2. But Pringle believes finding a date for the events if required would not be the issue if F1 do not receive the green light from government in time.

“I’ve got flexibility in the calendar and of course we’ve got our original dates we’ve been holding and talking around in mid-late July. But we’ve got a degree of flexibility through August as well,” he said.

“So I don’t think that finding a date for Formula 1 is going to be a problem, or indeed two dates. What we need is the green light from government and that will take time.”

Stating that F1 is an “awful lot more than a 90-minute race”, with more than 40,000 jobs linked to the UK motorsport industry, Pringle said: “Formula 1, as a championship, needs that exemption and needs to understand where it is, because they’ve got to plan.

“It’s a huge logistical operation. They’ve got to knit together a series of dates and get a freight plan that works and know that the impact on the personnel is. That requires some clarity.

“There is cause for optimism that if we were to go further to the right in the calendar then it might make things easier, but they need to know sooner or later that seven tenths of the teams can come back and forth to their base between races or a couple of races.

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Formula E driver disqualified from virtual race, fined for letting pro gamer drive for him

Perhaps predictably, we have reached the point in this temporary era of virtual racing when drivers are turning to “outside help,” as Daniel Abt called it, to perform better in esports races. And ​Formula E is not happy about it.

Abt, who races for Audi in the Formula E series that remains on hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic, was disqualified from Saturday’s virtual race for having pro gamer Lorenz Hoerzing race for him, according to Reuters. Abt, 27, also was ordered to donate 10,000 Euros (almost $11,000) to charity.

“I did not take it as seriously as I should have,” Abt said. “I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organization. I am aware that my offense has a bitter aftertaste but it was never meant with any bad intention.”

Sunday’s virtual race was the fifth in what Formula E is calling the Race at Home Challenge, a virtual series FE is using to bridge the gap to the resumption of live racing during the pandemic. It’s not unlike the virtual series NASCAR implemented before it returned to live racing a little more than a week ago.

According to Reuters, other drivers became suspicious during Saturday’s virtual race when Abt was performing better than usual. The report also notes that “the face of the driver purporting to be Abt was hidden by some equipment while his Twitch stream stopped working.”

Said driver Jean-Eric Vergne during the race: “Please ask Daniel Abt to put his Zoom next time he’s driving, because like (fellow driver) Stoffel (Vandoorne) said I’m pretty sure he wasn’t in.”

Fortunately, at least one competitor was able to recognize the humor in all of this.

“It’s just a game guys,” said Antonio Felix da Costa. “We all know Daniel as a fun guy and a joker.”

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Lewis Hamilton says coronavirus lockdown has made him doubt F1 future

‘I have days when I wake up and feel groggy… Should I continue racing?’: Lewis Hamilton reveals coronavirus lockdown has left him questioning his F1 future

  • Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton is in limbo with the F1 season start unknown
  • Hamilton says he has suffered self-doubts during the delay caused by COVID-19
  • The Briton spoke about his motivation as part of Mental Health Awareness Week
  • Hamilton could equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 titles this season
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Lewis Hamilton has admitted to questioning his future in Formula One during the lockdown.

The six-time world champion said he had days when he struggled for motivation as he has waited to discover when the 2020 season may get under way amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Mercedes video filmed earlier this week, Hamilton said: ‘I have days when I wake up and feel groggy, I don’t feel motivated to work out. I feel, ‘Jeez, where are we going? What’s next? Should I continue racing?’ 

Lewis Hamilton does not know when he will be able to pursue his fouth consecutive F1 crown

Formula One is being badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the season is yet to start

‘I think all these different things, and then I’m like ‘Damn it!’, and the next hour, or whatever, it passes, and I’m like ‘Damn! I love what I do! Why would I ever consider not continuing?’

Speaking during Mental Health Awareness Week, Hamilton added: ‘Mentally it’s really about ultimately feeling good about yourself. It’s about finding a way to make sure you love yourself. You have to really be able to love yourself and be comfortable on your own.

‘I’ve been really spending time trying to take time for me, making sure that I appreciate me, acknowledging things that you do well, acknowledging when you do well, acknowledging also when you fail and you don’t do it so great. It’s okay. And not being so hard on yourself, all these different things.’

Hamilton, who is in the final year of his Mercedes contract, has the opportunity this year to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 titles. 

And the 35-year-old said he was hoping to use the lockdown to get better.

‘If we are not improving and growing during these days then what are we doing? You’re obviously just wasting your time sitting on your backside,’ he said.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3zMV4O0wCBc%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26start%3D148

Bosses are hopeful that races could resume in early July with back-to-back events in Austria

Hamilton admits he has been hard on himself but is looking to improve while he is in lockdown

‘Nothing’s going to get handed to any of us. We’ve got to go out there and get whatever it is we want, and you’ve got to want it more than the person you’re fighting against. You’ve just got to get off your a**e and do it.

‘I’m in pretty decent shape, but I can always be in better shape. I see things and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’ve got a bit of fat here. Shoot, I’ve got to work harder, I’ve got to go for a run’. In actual reality, I don’t really have much fat.

‘But there are people out there that have these things going through their minds. You’ve just got to let go, find what it is you love and say I’m going to do it. I’m not going to let anything get in my way.’  

F1 is looking to return in early July with back-to-back races in Austria before heading to Silverstone, although the British event remains in question following the Government’s decision to impose a 14-day isolation period for people coming into the UK from June 8.




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NASCAR race weather: Will rain in the Charlotte forecast delay Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600?

NASCAR’s return has been a godsend for sports-depraved viewers, but the rain certainly hasn’t. Precipitation got in the way of an exciting finish at Wednesday’s Toyota 500 in Darlington, S.C., giving Denny Hamlin the victory with 20 laps left un-raced.

Now, it looks like the weather might get in the way of another race, with potential showers putting Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in jeopardy.

Here’s a look at the weather forecast for Charlotte, N.C., and what that means for Sunday’s race.

NASCAR weather forecast for Cup Series race at Charlotte

According to weather.com, the hourly forecast for Charlotte, N.C. calls for scattered thunderstorms throughout the afternoon. There’s a 55 percent chance of rain from 4-5 p.m., but it’s supposed to back off around 6 p.m. with just a 35 percent chance. The forecast calls for an increased chance of showers in the evening, up to 45 percent at 8 p.m. and 65 percent at 9 p.m., so it might be hard to finish the complete race.

A look at Accuweather’s radar for Charlotte Motor Speedway though paints a more somewhat positive picture though. It looks like the rain could hold off for awhile, though there’s still an increased chance of thunderstorms in the evening.

Brad Panovich, the chief meteorologist for NBC’s Charlotte station said he thinks they’ll be able to get the race in, though he doesn’t expect them to be able to race without some delays for rain and thunderstorms, and said he wouldn’t be surprised if the race ends without all 600 laps complete.

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Virtual Monaco GP: George Russell leaves F1 rivals trailing for victory

George Russell dominated the virtual version of the Monaco GP for his second successive win in F1’s Esports series, as his usual rivals were left fighting for supremacy amid a series of collisions around the world-famous street track.

Russell joined Charles Leclerc on two wins in the series but, unlike two weeks ago in a closely-fought duel around virtual Barcelona, the Englishman was in a class of his own this time to win by a mighty 39-seconds from Mercedes’ Esteban Gutierrez.

Leclerc had run second until the closing laps but collided with Gutierrez coming out of the tunnel with two laps to go and dropped to third.

There was also late pain for the other Leclerc in the field, Charles’ brother Arthur, who lost out to Red Bull’s Alex Albon in a wheel-to-wheel fight for fourth place.

Pietro Fittipaldi had taken a shock pole position in virtual wet conditions in qualifying, but lost out to Russell at the start and then quickly slipped back down the order. However, the Brazilian recovered well and wound up sixth, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, was 16th on his virtual GP debut and picked up a raft of penalties.

More to follow…

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When is the Indy 500 in 2020? New date, start time & other details for the race in Indianapolis

The coronavirus pandemic cares not for the Month of May in auto racing. The same public health issues that shut down live sports globally in March have caused a massive shake-up in IndyCar’s plans for 2020, including the 104th annual Indy 500’s place on the schedule.

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the few races in America that attracts casual viewers on a global scale, so IndyCar and IMS are doing everything they can to keep the 2020 race on the schedule. So far so good, because the 2020 Indy 500 has not been canceled — just rescheduled.

The 2020 IndyCar season was suspended in March before it even had a chance to start, so the newly scheduled June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway technically will be the first race of the season. As currently scheduled, the Indy 500 will be the eighth race of the season.

Below is what you need to know about the status of the 2020 Indy 500, plus NBC’s plan to fill the broadcast time it had devoted to the race on Sunday, May 24.

When is the Indy 500 in 2020?

IndyCar lists a 1 p.m. ET start time for the rescheduled Indy 500 on Aug. 23, but the complete broadcast schedule remains TBD.

The statement from IndyCar and IMS in March noted that “on-track action will begin with practice sessions Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC.

“The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20. … Final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day.”

In other words, the typical schedule for the Indy 500 remains intact — just a few months later.

“It could be scorching hot. And will we have fans there,” Calabro said. “I think the uncertainty of it all is a factor, but the speedway will go out of their way to make it as normal as possible. Roger Penske is all about that. And he’ll leave no stone unturned to make it as special as May as possible.”

The updated IndyCar schedule for 2020, which is set to resume with a night race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, can be found here.

Why was the Indy 500 postponed?

The 2020 Indy 500 has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the public health and safety dangers associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

With the exception of six cancellations during World War I and II, this will mark the first time in the Indy 500’s 103-year history that it will not be run the Sunday before Memorial Day.

“This is just weird as weird can be for me,” Dave Calabro, for 35 years the track announcer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, told Sporting News. “There’s a rhythm to the whole spring you get into, and to eliminate the biggest part of it is, just for everybody, it’s just weird.”

Added Roger Penske, whose company bought IMS this year, when the Indy 500 was postponed in late March: “The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500. However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.

“We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

As Penske noted, if all goes as planned regarding the development of health and safety technology/protocols as they relate to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indy 500 in 2020 could take place with fans in the stands.

Indy 500 broadcast on Sunday, May 24

Technically an Indy 500 broadcast will be shown by NBC on its originally scheduled date for 2020 — it just won’t be the 2020 Indy 500.

Starting at 2 p.m. ET, NBC will air an enhanced encore presentation of last year’s Indy 500, won by Simon Pagenaud. “Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again” will be hosted by NBC’s Mike Tirico and will feature new commentary from Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi during the replay of the race.

“The goal of our enhanced broadcast is to honor the traditions of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ and re-live elements of last year’s race through Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi as they battled back-and-forth to the checkered flag,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production at NBC and NBCSN.

For those who wish to watch even more Indy 500 reruns Sunday in the absence of the 2020 race, ESPN2 will re-air three ABC broadcasts of recent Indy 500s beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

ESPN2 will show the 2006 Indy 500 at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the 2011 Indy 500 starting at 5 p.m. ET. The 2014 Indy 500 will air on the network starting at 7 p.m. ET.

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Fired NASCAR driver Kyle Larson races to World of Outlaws win

Kyle Larson is trying to rebuild his racing career from the ground up, although pulling it out of the dirt might be the more apt cliche after Saturday.

The former NASCAR Cup Series driver received a large lift when he won a World of Outlaws race this weekend in Pevely, Mo., about 30 miles south of downtown St. Louis.

LARSON TIMELINE: Why was he banned, and when can he return?

He’s a World of Outlaws driver at the moment because NASCAR suspended him indefinitely — and Chip Ganassi Racing then fired him — for uttering a racial slur during a live iRacing event. He is allowed to compete in the series because he completed sensitivity training. Separately, he has apologized for what he said.

Larson, 27, looked toward what might lie ahead following his Saturday night win, which earned him the $20,000 first prize.

“I can’t thank each and every one of you enough,” he told fans at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, according to NBCSports.com. “Everybody watching on DirtVision at home. All my supporters. It means a lot, and I can’t wait to get my journey started and kind of see where my future goes from here.”

This weekend, he displayed the talent that made him one of NASCAR’s top young drivers. He set a track record Friday in qualifying with a sub-10-second lap, finished second in that night’s event, and then pulled away for the win Saturday after leader Sheldon Haudenschild wrecked with 16 laps remaining.

The win was Larson’s first in five races in the series this year and ninth World of Outlaws victory overall.

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Silverstone ‘optimistic’ about British Grand Prix despite new UK quarantine measures

Formula One remains hopeful about the chances of racing at Britain’s Silverstone circuit in July and August despite quarantine measures confirmed on Friday.

Home secretary Priti Patel said a 14-day quarantine will be introduced from 8 June for travellers arriving from abroad to guard against a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

No exemptions for sport were mentioned, with soccer clubs competing in Europe also potentially affected, but a Formula One spokesman and Silverstone manager Stuart Pringle said talks were continuing.

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“We have been working closely with government on the implications of the policy for Formula One and Silverstone,” said the spokesman.

“Those discussions are ongoing at this time with the aim of finding a solution with safety as our first priority.”

Pringle says he is hopeful of a solution.

“I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by government,” he said. ”So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found.”

Formula One’s season has yet to start, with three races cancelled – including the showcase Monaco Grand Prix that would have been held this weekend – and seven others postponed.

The sport hopes to get going in Austria in carefully controlled conditions, and using charter flights, with back to back races on July 5 and 12 before two more at Silverstone likely on July 26 and Aug. 2.

While seven of the 10 teams are based in Britain, a two-week quarantine would pose problems for Italy-based Ferrari and AlphaTauri as well as Alfa Romeo, whose team operate out of Switzerland.

Quarantine would also make it hard for teams to come and go on a tight schedule.

Pringle said Silverstone, a home race for Mercedes’ six times world champion Lewis Hamilton and this year celebrating the 70th anniversary of hosting the first world championship race, had flexibility but Formula One needed to be sure of movement.

“We can accommodate later dates in August if required, possibly even into September conceptually,” he said.

“But it’s not so much about what we can accommodate … it’s can the championship piece together a calendar that allows them to go from country to country?

“And can they have the confidence to commit to that in a timescale that allows the freighting plan to come together because it’s the logistics that are the key to getting this championship underway.”

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F1 teams donate to Starlight charity auction on Monaco GP weekend

The F1 paddock is helping raise money for a charity for seriously ill children by donating coveted items and unique experiences for an auction on what would have been Monaco GP weekend.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation and the families it supports have been annual attendees of the Monaco GP over the past decade, giving children unforgettable experiences at F1’s most famous race and meeting some of the sport’s stars and personalities.

And although the grand prix is not taking place as scheduled this weekend, with a virtual race instead being staged on Sunday, the charity is maintaining the tradition of its association with the event by organising an online auction, with items donated from a number of F1 teams to raise money and awareness for Starlight.

Lots include a Max Verstappen Red Bull race suit from 2019, a race-day experience with Williams, a VIP tour of world champions Mercedes’ factory in Brackley, and the chance to drive an F1 car.

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