F1 Today – 29/06/2020

F1 Today

“Ignorant and uneducated” comments by Ecclestone

Lewis Hamilton has described Bernie Ecclestone’s comments on racism as “ignorant and uneducated” after the former Formula One CEO made comments about racism. Ecclestone told CNN that “in lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are”.

Writing on Instagram, the six-times champion described Ecclestone’s comment’s as “sad and disappointing”, saying that society still has far to go before real equality can happen. writing on Instagram, said: “Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong.

“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.”

“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep-rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand? It starts at the top.”

“Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all. To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities.”

F1’s owners moved on Friday to distance themselves from Ecclestone, saying he had “no role” in the sport and his role of chairman emeritus, given to him in 2017, “expired in January 2020”.

F1 said in a statement that it “completely disagreed” with Ecclestone and that his comments “have no place in F1 or society”.

The sport has created a commission to look at equality following the death of the African-American man George Floyd in police custody last month after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes led to protests around the world.

Hamilton says that he has been the subject of racism himself throughout his career, and referenced a time in 2007 when fans turned up in blackface at a circuit.

Also, at this weekends Austrian Grand Prix drivers will show support for Black Life’s Matter, equality, key workers and other Coronavirus related causes.

 

Mercedes powerful statement with black livery

Mercedes have announced they are to run a black car for this season making a powerful and visual stand against racism and for diversity.

Mercedes have always run their cars in their historical ‘Silver Arrows’ trim but are making the change as part of a pledge to improve the diversity of their team.

The Silver Arrows dates back to the 1934 German Grand Prix when team principal Alfred Neubaur and driver Manfred von Brauchitsch decided to scrap the white paint off the car to make it go faster, according to their memoirs.

A statement said, “For 2020, we have chosen to race in an all-black base livery as a public pledge to improve the diversity of our team – and a clear statement that we stand against racism and all forms of discrimination.”

The team heads into this weekends Austrian Grand Prix as the favourites having put in a strong performance in Barcelona testing. The sport will also be making a stand against racism as part of its newly-launched We Race As One campaign.

Lewis Hamilton, who has revealed plans to launch The Hamilton Commission to help get more BAME people into motorsport. He added, “It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity.”

“I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change.” He also thanked Mercedes for making the change and listening to his experience and are willing to change and improve as a business.

Hamilton and team-mate Bottas will also wear black overalls in 2020. The W11 car will also carry the call to ‘End Racism’ on the halo, with the F1-wide #WeRaceAsOne message will be featured on its mirrors.

F1 CEO and team principal Toto Wolff admitted that BAME staff was their weakness, with just three per cent of their workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups, while only twelve per cent are women. The team are looking at ways that can be increased.

He added, “Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes. But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent.”

“We wish to use our voice and our global platform to speak up for respect and equality, and the Silver Arrow will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity”

Bottas declared: “Racism and discrimination have no place in our sport or in our society and I am proud to stand with the team, with Lewis and with Mercedes.”

 

Ecclestone hits back over Carey running of F1

Bernie Ecclestone claims that Formula One would be better off run by a used car salesman than by chief executive Chase Carey. Ecclestone and Carey appear to be at loggerheads after Ecclestone said that black people are often more racist than white people. He has since clarified his position and said he has never met a black person he didn’t like.

Liberty Media has moved to distance itself from the former CEO, clarifying his comments further over the weekend Ecclestone  insisted that he does not care if someone is ‘yellow, green, brown or pink’

In an interview with The Daily Mail on Sunday, Ecclestone said he would not o be side-lined from F1 or prevented from going to Grands Prix,  an idea discussed among F1 officials, whenever he wanted.

Saying, “Ban me from races? I wouldn’t advise them to do that. They might want to try it in Russia. I think I could probably find a pass.” He says that he’s not bothered about titles, saying he turned down reportedly a knighthood in the past.

He also says “When I was running things, we had a look at who could take over if I got knocked over or died. We tried to find people. But what we needed was another used car dealer.”

He says that he is not racist and has always been in favour of black people. Ecclestone says Anthony Hamilton wanted to go into business with him, which he would have it had been the right opportunity. Saying he “never a black person I didn’t like.”

What he doesn’t agree with is the marches by ‘quasi-Marxists’ who want to bring down the police, which would be a disaster for the country. If you asked most of them what exactly they were protesting about they probably wouldn’t know.

Ecclestone is no stranger to controversial comments which has included praising Hitler for ‘getting things done’, Labour Party donations and lobbying against a ban on tobacco advertising, as well as the bribery and Gerhard Gribkowsky scandal.

 

McLaren agrees £150m loan

McLaren has agreed a £150m loan from the National Bank of Bahrain, which will help ease concerns it had about a short term cash-flow problem.

The McLaren Group, including its F1 and car divisions, have been hit hard by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The team has been hit by a group of creditors resisted attempts for it to raise finance through the release of securities such as its heritage car collection and properties.

The team are due to go to court in the coming weeks to allow it to refinance itself, with the suggestion that if it didn’t raise £280m by 17th July they were at risk of insolvency.

Court documents say “The Proposed Transactions will enable the Group to access the additional liquidity that is required to ensure that the Group can continue as a going concern into 2021.”

“This will provide a significant benefit to the creditors of the Group (by preventing a cash flow crisis and a value destructive insolvency).”

McLaren

 

Austria races still “exciting” – Brawn

Formula One motorsport and technical managing director Ross Brawn believes there can still be “two exciting races” in Austria over the next two weeks, despite plans for a reverse grid qualifying format change being rejected.

This weekend sees the first championship doubleheader at the Red Bull Ring with races on 5th and 12th July, after the opening ten races were postponed or cancelled due to Coronavirus. Austria and Silverstone will become the first circuit in history to hold multiple championship races.

F1 officials had proposed shaking up the format for the second race in Austria, known as the Styrian Grand Prix, by running a reverse grid sprint race on Saturday in place of qualifying.

But the plans were rejected after failing to receive unanimous support from teams, with Mercedes opposing the idea. In an interview at the FIA’s Conference and published over the weekend, Brawn explained the renewed push for change.

He said, “We introduced the concept of a qualifying race, which was based on reverse championship order, and then that would take you through to the main event which would be the race on the Sunday.”

“We discussed that last year, and we had pretty good support for that, but not unanimous. And it’s been the same case this year. There have been some teams who haven’t felt that’s something we should be doing.”

Brawn says their concern is that the second race will be a repeat of the first creating the same stereo. But Brawn says he remains confident that tweaks can be made for Silverstone and Sakhir, with tyre allocation and circuit layout changes.

However for Silverstone Pirelli has announced different tyre allocations for each race, while organisers and Brawn have suggested changing the layout in the as-yet-untitled second race in Bahrain.

Brawn says even without the changes for the opening two races, he is confident that when the weekends gets underway that they can deliver good races. He admits the changes are quite minor, but hopes later in the year circuits can be reconfigured to create different dynamics.

Adding “I suspect Austria is going to be pretty exciting. [It’s the] beginning of the season, nature of the track there, everyone settling in, and I think we will find that we have two exciting races there without doing anything to it.”

 

Looking ahead to Austria

After 100 days since the aborted opening race, the Formula One season will begin in Austria for the opening two races of the season. The pandemic has caused the longest period without Grand Prix racing since the end of world war two.

Seven months and over a hundred days since the abandoned opening race of the season the first eight races of the season will begin with a doubleheader in Spielberg in Austria this weekend.

With a shortened but condensed calendar ultimately set to run until December, and extensive health and safety protocols in place at GP venues, the nature of the 2020 season will clearly be different to what was originally expected back at the start of the year.

In a video, on Mercedes social media Lewis Hamilton said, “We are preparing the best way we can for what is going to be the most difficult season that Formula One and all of us has experienced.”

“With the difficult times that we’re facing and the changes that we have to make in order to operate.”

Hamilton has been one of the drivers who have returned to the track to test and learn the new coronavirus protocols. Sebastian Vettel has s another to have tested, driving Ferrari’s 2018 car at Mugello, and the four-time champion is now eager to get back racing.

Vettel said, in a Ferrari interview said “I’m looking forward to getting back in the car. We’ve been waiting now for quite a long time – and it has started to feel like a long time.”

“Having a tease in Mugello was nice but getting back in the real car for the real thing is definitely what we are looking forward to. Going racing, competing with the others.” Ferrari hasn’t won a race in Spielberg since the last race at the A1-Ring, as it was then, in 2003.

Speaking about the double-headers, Vettel says he has never experienced going to the same venue for races on back to back weekends. Adding, “I guess the level of perfection will be even higher the second weekend, the level of errors will be even smaller.”

 

“really cool” having two Italian races – Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi says he’s “a big supporter” of his native Italy holding three races in September, describing the idea as “really cool.” Both Mugello and Imola are bidding to host races this season after a number of Grand Prix’s were postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic

Mugello and Imola are currently fighting for the chance to host one of the cancelled races in September with the Imola’s boss having this week touted a triple header.

There are reports that it’s likely that Mugello will host the ‘San Marino Grand Prix’ on the weekend of the 11 – 13 September followed by Portimao a fortnight later. Imola is not yet officially out of contention, although there are issues with the layout of its pit entry.

Both circuits have played host to tests over the past few weeks. Speaking to F1’s podcast Giovinazzi said “I’m just really happy to hear this one because for me to race three times in Italy is something that will never happen again. I would be the first Italian driver to race in one year in three Italian races.”

“It will be really cool. We don’t know yet, but I’m a big supporter of this. Unfortunately, it will not be the same thing as when I raced last year, because the people make the difference for me, the fans, the Tifosi, and unfortunately the people will not be there.”

He says that they are three fantastic venues, Monza is special because of its atmosphere, Mugello is an unbelieve track where qualifying will and Imola has a lot of history.

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.