Report: F1 Team Sponsor Linked to Russian Army. Again.
Haas Automation, which sponsors a Formula 1 team, has once again been accused of shady connections to Russia.
QOTD: Are You Watching Drive to Survive?
Season 5 of "Drive to Survive" on Netflix drops today. Are you watching?
Andretti Global, Cadillac Team Up for Shot at F1
Cadillac announced today that it is going to pair with Andretti Global to make a run at competing in Formula 1.
FIA Bans F1 Drivers From Making Political Statements
The FIA is reportedly putting an end to any independently-led political activism within Formula 1 and any other motorsport it currently oversees. While this could be a blessing to those tired of witnessing the likes of Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton constantly pushing environmental issues before his multi-million dollar F1 car is loaded onto the sixth cargo plane of the season, it seems likely that organizers will still allow the kind of activism that they’re in broad alignment with.
Rumor Mill: Ford May Return to F1
With F1’s growing popularity on this side of the pond – thanks to the streaming specials and no fewer than three races in America next year – combined with a potential opening at one of the sport’s best teams, rumblings are emerging that Dearborn could once again immerse itself in the crucible of world motorsport.
Lightning Strikes the TTAC Podcast
The TTAC podcast is back! In our fourth episode, we talk Ford Lightning, Kia Sportage, Formula One in Miami, and the best cars from 2007.
VW CEO Says Audi and Porsche Will Be Joining F1
Audi and Porsche have been talking about Formula One for ages and it appears that the talk is finally being replaced by action. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has confirmed that both will be entering F1 in the near future.
While the exact nature of their involvement hasn’t been explained, it’s assumed that Audi will be purchasing one of the existing teams while Porsche will become a purveyor of engines. Diess has only confirmed that the companies will be getting involved thus far.
Russian Grand Prix Off the Grid, At Least For Now
Russia invaded Ukraine this week, and the geopolitical situation is making it difficult to hold international sporting events in Russia, for reasons that should be obvious.
This means that the Russian Grand Prix has been dumped from the 2022 slate.
They Knighted Lewis Hamilton After He Lost
Lewis Hamilton was knighted by the British royal family on Wednesday. The seven-time Formula 1 champion was dubbed by a sword held by Prince Charles at Windsor Castle, presumably because Gan-Gan and company thought he was due for another title.
Instead, Hamilton lost to Max Verstappen during the final lap of the last race at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that took place on Sunday. Verstappen squeaked by the 36-year old Brit on Lap 58, creating a bunch of confusion about whether or not the pass took place while the safety car was on the field. Mercedes protested, alleging that Max had made an illegal pass and that Hamilton would have won the event if all lapped vehicles had overtaken the safety car due to the time allotted before the restart. It was a close race with a confusing ending. But the victory was ultimately handed to Verstappen — making knighthood a consolatory prize for Hamilton.
Voluntold: Red Bull's Horner Criticizes Volunteer Marshal, F1 Claps Back, Public Wonders Why Moneyed Series Relies on Unpaid Workers
We know the eyes of our readers generally glaze over like a Thanksgiving ham at the mere mention of an F1 topic. That’s why we don’t run race reports and the like on our front page. However, a few comments from this weekend’s F1 event – plus a follow-up observation by an astute Twitter user – prompt us to deviate from the norm.
Specifically, someone has asked why an outfit with estimated earnings of $1.38 billion continues to rely on volunteers for some of its most important work.
Horses, Porsche to Formula 1, and the Future of Internal Combustion
In 1921, there were more than 25 million horses in a United States populated by less than 110 million humans. I’m not a mathematographer, by any means, but I think that puts us at a ratio of about one horse for every four-ish people out there. And, just like there are many kinds of people, there are many kinds of horses, too. There are Quarter Horses, paints, Arabians, Appaloosas, and – of course – Thoroughbred racing horses.
Something strange has happened in the last hundred years, though. There are a lot more people and a lot fewer horses, for one thing – just 3 million horses for a whopping 330 million Americans – but it’s a curious thing that there are a lot more Thoroughbreds in 2021 than there were in 1921. What’s more, it’s almost certain that the meticulously bred horses spending their 21st Century days in luxurious stables are serving a vastly different purpose than their hard-working forbears.
You see where I’m going with this, right?
Honda Ditching Formula 1, Sticking With IndyCar
Honda has decided to leave Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season to allegedly focus on electric and fuel-cell development. The company has said F1 hybrid combustion engines didn’t mesh with its plan of realizing “carbon neutrality by 2050” and has opted to leave Red Bull and AlphaTauri in a difficult spot moving forward. They’ll both need to find a replacement engine supplier before the 2022 season while Honda decides where it might make a better environmental impact — settling on IndyCar.
Less than a full weekend after vowing to abandon F1, Honda doubled down on Indy by agreeing to a multi-year extension to continue supplying motors until at least 2023. In fact, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is actively working on a 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid unit, aimed at roughly 900 horsepower, for the sport’s next generation of cars. While we’re pleased to see any manufacturer maintaining its commitment to motorsports, the decision seems at odds with Honda’s plan to pull out of Formula 1 — which has likewise acknowledged a desire to become carbon neutral. Like Indy, F1 is also planning on using hybrid combustion engines for the foreseeable future.
New F1 Teams Have To Pay $200 Million Under Latest Agreement
Interested in joining Formula 1? We hope you have $200 million handy because that’s the amount you have to pay to enter a new team under the sport’s seventh Concorde Agreement. Signed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Constructors Association, and existing F1 teams last month, this arrangement exists to help ensure participants remain committed to the sport to offer organizers and broadcasters the ability to maximize marketability.
They also tend to be kept a secret, with only their most general aspects of the deal ever making it out to the public. We already knew that teams would be subject to additional fees through 2025 to prove they were serious about joining while discouraging existing names from exiting the sport. But McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has since confirmed the amount with Racer. Over the weekend he said new entrants would be starring down the barrel of a $200-million fee, adding that the rationale was to avoid diluting the existing prize totals split between teams.
McLaren May Sell Stake in F1 Team to Improve Chances of Survival
With McLaren scrounging for cash and cutting 1,200 positions from its ranks in the hopes of prolonging its own existence, it would be an understatement to claim 2020 has been unkind to the automaker. Most nameplates are having a rough year. And almost all are seeking ways to turn things around before the situation becomes untenable and their fate becomes sealed.
The plan for McLaren involved a £150 million loan from the National Bank of Bahrain and more than a few empty seats.
Autocar now claims the brand has even considered selling part or all of McLaren Applied and Automotive. While the outlet admits this likely hinges on its evolving financial situation, a company insider confirmed advanced discussions are focused on selling a minority stake in the Racing division.
McLaren Poised to Cut 1,200 Jobs
McLaren says circumstances have encouraged it to get fairly aggressive in its restructuring efforts. Coronavirus lockdowns forced the company, like so many others, to postpone production and forego sales.
While an undesirable scenario for any manufacturer, McLaren Group already faced additional headwinds by being a relatively small manufacturer dependent on low-volume specialty products with astronomical price tags and having its racing program kneecapped the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).