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Lewis Hamilton Eyes Michael Schumacher Record as F1 Begins Covid-delayed Season in Austria

Lewis Hamilton. (Picture Credit score: Reuters)

Components One is ready to step into the coronavirus world three months after the Australian Grand Prix needed to be deserted as a result of virus.

  • AFP London
  • Final Up to date: June 29, 2020, 9:58 AM IST

Seven months after they final competed in earnest, the Components One circus will push a post-lockdown reset button to open the 2020 season in Austria on Sunday.

The occasion at Spielberg is being held on its authentic calendar date, however shouldn’t be the once-anticipated 11th spherical of the championship, however the first – a season-opener delayed by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Greater than three months after the Australian Grand Prix was deserted on the eve of opening apply in Melbourne, the race in the Styrian Alps shall be run behind closed doorways, with out followers, sponsors’ brokers and company and solely a handful of reporters restricted to the media centre.

The same old high-rise motor houses shall be changed by tents and awnings whereas the groups, minimize to 80 members and all in protecting gear, will function in sanitised “bubbles within bubbles” in a paddock bereft of human contact and the standard swell of hearsay and hypothesis.

For all concerned, who’re examined 4 days earlier than the occasion and 5 days later, will probably be an unprecedented and distinctive expertise.

But, regardless of all of the change and the surreal environment it’s anticipated that the motion, when it begins, will ship the identical probably story.

Lewis Hamilton, powered by the all-conquering Mercedes, goes in search of a seventh drivers’ title to equal the report of Michael Schumacher.

“It has been unbearable – I have missed the racing and the competition so much, so it will be great to be back,” mentioned Mercedes group boss Toto Wolff.

Even throughout lockdown, drivers strikes for subsequent yr happened, Ferrari saying the release of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, to be succeeded by Carlos Sainz of McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo signing to go away Renault and be the Spaniard’s substitute on the cash-starved outfit so badly hit by the pandemic.

ON THE MOVE

These 2021 strikes won’t have an effect on this yr’s line-ups, however could have an effect on relationships between departing drivers and groups anxious to not permit distinctive operational and efficiency intelligence to go away with them.

If anyplace, that is prone to have most impact at Ferrari as the Italian group strives to keep away from open battle between rising star Charles Leclerc and Vettel, who’s a free agent and a possible goal for not solely Renault, but additionally Mercedes.

The pair, who have been intense rivals final yr, examined in Italy final week forward of the opening “double-header” with two successive races at Austria’s Purple Bull Ring circuit earlier than a 3rd race in Hungary.

“I have no experience of heading back to the same track and having a second race, but I’ve been around for a while,” said Vettel.

“I guess the level of perfection will be higher the second weekend – the level of errors will be even smaller.

“It will likely be an opportunity to evaluate technique simply seven days afterwards in order that’s a primary and let’s examine how we sort out that problem.”

ORANGE AID

The opening three races form just part of an intensive spell of eight European races in 10 weeks, which may become nine in 11 if a round at Mugello, in Italy, is added.

Vettel added that he “cannot think about what will probably be wish to race with none followers,” especially at the sweeping circuit where Max Verstappen was roared to victory by a huge orange wave of Dutch supporters last year.

Verstappen and Red Bull are expected to challenge Mercedes, with Ferrari and Racing Point, newly dubbed “the pink Mercedes” team after copying the champions’ cars, in close pursuit in the opening events where it will be intriguing to see if Hamilton’s focus has been affected by his active and vocal support for the current anti-racism protests.

Last week, just days after launching the Hamilton Commission to boost diversity in motorsport, he slammed remarks made by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as “ignorant and uneducated” before calling for the restoration of Grand Prix in Africa.

“It is a actually bizarre time in the world and the most important problem in my thoughts shouldn’t be in regards to the championship essentially,” he said. “It isn’t a traditional yr.”


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