Norris: F1 races feel “more like Formula Renault” without fans – F1

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Grands Prix have felt more like Formula Renault events than Formula 1 thanks to a lack of fans this year, reckons McLaren’s Lando Norris.

No spectators have been allowed in to F1 races held so far this year in a bid to minimise the risks to public health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It means that only staff essential to the running of the grand prix are present, with around 2000 people at each of the first three events held so far.

Norris says that he has missed having fans there, and thinks their absence will hit him especially hard at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“I’ve missed them a lot, I’ve missed the whole atmosphere from them,” he said, when asked by Autosport about what it has been like to run in front of empty grandstands.

“You know, it feels a lot more like a race in Formula Renault where

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Formula 2 adds Sochi round to 2020 calendar – F2

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The Sochi Autodrom in Russia will host the 10th round of the FIA Formula 2 season after being officially added to the calendar on Wednesday.

Following a significant revision of the Formula 1 calendar in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, F2 was also forced to make changes to its schedule.

F2 was announced as supporting each of the first nine races of the F1 season, getting underway in Austria earlier this month with back-to-back rounds before moving on to Hungary.

Upcoming races at Silverstone, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spa, Monza and Mugello are planned, but no further rounds had previously been announced.

F2 has now confirmed that it will travel to Sochi in support of the Russian Grand Prix from 25-27 September, taking it up to 10 rounds for the 2020 season.

It ensures that F2 will retain its FIA championship status this year, meeting the 10-round minimum requirement

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Pitstop times compared – Formula 1, NASCAR, WEC and more – F1

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What goes on at a pitstop can make or break a race in motorsport. A delayed stop can deny a driver victory just as a good stop can seal the deal.

Exactly how a pitstop operates varies wildly from series to series. Whether the regulations allow refuelling, how many mechanics are allowed to work on the car and how many pitstops normally occur all determine the cost, or benefit, of stopping.

For fans who are very used to one series’ way of doing pitstops, other regulations may seem odd. Here’s the rundown of how many of the biggest series do it, and the affect the pitstops can have on the race itself.

NASCAR pitstops

NASCAR has some quite strict rules surrounding pitstops. As of 2018 only five mechanics are allowed to go over the wall separating the garages from the pitlane and work on the car, and the entire crew

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Berlin E-Prix: Likely champion Da Costa tops Sunday FE practice – Formula E

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DS Techeetah driver Antonio Felix da Costa, who will likely win the Formula E title this afternoon, went quickest in Sunday practice on the conventional Berlin circuit.

If the Portuguese driver wins the E-Prix at the Tempelhof Airport later today, he will be guaranteed of the 2019-20 championship.

Similarly, carrying a 68-point lead over Maximilian Guenther, all da Costa needs to do is finish the race with a 60-point advantage to seal the crown.

He came out of the blocks fastest in the single 45-minute practice session, topping the leader board with a late full-power run to supersede nearest rival Guenther by 0.039s.

A tame practice run was led by Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara for much of the opening half as drivers circulated in a standard 200kW powertrain setting.

But as they escalated through the 235kW attack mode and then 250kW full-power map late on, it was Envision Virgin Racing

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Da Costa wants next Formula E title fight to go down to the final race – Formula E

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Antonio Felix da Costa, who won the 2019-20 Formula E title with two rounds to spare, says he wants to take next season’s championship fight down to the final race.

Three consecutive pole positions and victories, split between Marrakech and the opening two races in Berlin last week, boosted the DS Techeetah driver 68 points clear of his rivals.

A fourth in the third race at Tempelhof Airport and second place in race four earned him his maiden championship win, dethroning double champion team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

It was the first time the FE crown had been sealed with two races to spare, and da Costa reckoned it would feel “much better” to take it down to the final round.

Speaking in a select media session, he said: “Obviously, it feels good for the first time to win it. It obviously puts me in a much easier position.

“But we were

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Blomqvist steps in to replace Calado at Jaguar for Berlin FE finale – Formula E

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Tom Blomqvist will replace out-going Formula E driver James Calado at the Jaguar team for the final two races in Berlin following a World Endurance Championship calendar clash.

As previously reported by Autosport, Calado’s maiden FE season was expected to end early owing to the 12/13 August races at Tempelhof Airport overlapping with the WEC Spa round.

Ferrari confirmed to Autosport last month that the Briton would be required in the AF Corse-entered 488 GTE Evo for first practice on 13 August.

Jaguar has now announced its recently signed reserve driver Blomqvist, who won the 2018 Spa 24 Hours alongside Philip Eng and Christian Krognes, will take Calado’s place.

Blomqvist said ahead of the brace of FE races on the extended Tempelhof circuit: “I am excited to get behind the wheel of the Jaguar I-TYPE 4 for the last couple of races.

“It will be a new layout for those

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Rowland: I could have passed Techeetahs in Berlin E-Prix, except when asked to – Formula E

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Oliver Rowland reckons he could have passed the DS Techeetahs “at any point” to win the fourth Berlin Formula E race “apart from when the team asked me to”.

The Nissan e.dams driver ran in third behind eventual winner Jean-Eric Vergne and newly crowned champion Antonio Felix da Costa for the bulk of the E-Prix.

But Rowland reckoned he could have overtaken at any time, although chose not to having expected the DS Techeetah car – which also claimed the teams’ title – to be faster.

He said: “In hindsight, I could have passed them at any point in the race apart from when the team asked me to.

“So, that’s a bit disappointing.

“I was comfortable behind them for the majority of the race.

“They have been so dominant that I was sat there thinking ‘I shouldn’t waste my energy to fight them because they’re going to be faster’.

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Da Costa: Formula E title success brings “the bad times” to mind – Formula E

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Newly crowned Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa says his title success meant “the bad times really come to mind” and credited the DS Techeetah team for re-employing him.

Da Costa sealed his first crown since a 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC success with second in the fourth Berlin race after a team order call to drop behind team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne – with the 1-2 also assuring DS Techeetah of successive teams’ titles.

The Portuguese driver replaced Andre Lotterer at the squad for this term, having raced for team principal Mark Preston under the outfit’s former Aguri guise in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Da Costa finished eighth at the first effort, but fell to 13th the next season before signing for Amlin Andretti.

“I have no words right now. Just the bad times really come to my mind because [I was] so close to giving up some times

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Mercedes not to blame for Formula 1 dominance – Wolff – F1

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Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says it’s not the team’s fault that it is dominant, stating that the 2020 season will not be “a walk in the park”.

The Brackley squad has taken a hat-trick of poles and wins from the opening three races of the season – with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas respectively securing two and one win apiece – and already holds a 66-point gap to nearest challenger Red Bull in the constructors’ standings.

While acknowledging that it may run alternative strategies at some events this year in order to promote a race between its drivers Wolff says there’s little the team can do to improve the show if rivals are lagging behind.

“If we would take the 2020 season for granted, as a walk in the park, and it’s basically just about picking up the trophy in Paris in December, we wouldn’t have won

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Berlin Formula E: Vergne leads Techeetah 1-2 in qualifying – Formula E

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Jean-Eric Vergne beat team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa with the final lap in Berlin qualifying to secure DS Techeetah a Formula E record of five consecutive pole positions.

Having topped the group one session, reigning champion Vergne was the last driver to take to the track in superpole and he eclipsed runaway points leader da Costa by 0.14s to score back-to-back poles.

He was a marginal 0.01s down through the first sector but recovered that through the second split with a 0.003s cushion to post the fastest time of the day and set his peerless 1m06.247s effort.

Da Costa, who will be guaranteed the title if he wins the race at Tempelhof Airport, was the first out in superpole and his brilliant second sector kept him at the top until Vergne’s attempt.

Nissan e.dams driver Oliver Rowland reported that he was finally back to full one-lap confidence after his sizeable

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