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Lando Norris: “The pace is not looking like it’s there at the minute”

McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris was not satisfied with the pace of his MCL36 after Friday’s practice sessions, finishing free practice one in nineteenth place and eleventh in free practice two. 

The British driver said that upgrades and alterations made to the car this weekend have had a positive impact at the demanding Marina Bay Street Circuit. 

“Tough day, just because of the temperature and the challenges of Singapore, but I think good that we’ve got a good understanding of the new bits on the car. 

“They’re performing as expected, which is in some ways similar to the way the car felt before the update, with just some small tweaks in the way that it works, and acts, which is what we want.”

Norris said that a top ten result in Saturday’s qualifying may be out of reach, though the team will push to “unlock” as much performance as possible ahead of the session.

Michael Christensen auctions off Rolex 24 winner watch for Ukrainian relief

In 2017, Michael Christensen scored the biggest victory of his career up to that point when he and Alega Motorsports won the GTD class in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Five years later, he has auctioned off the watch he received for the victory to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine as its defence from Russian invasion approaches day #220.

The watch, a Rolex Daytona model given to overall and class winners, was projected to go for €33,500 to €40,500. Including buyer’s premium, the auction ultimately reached a hammer price of €88,800. All proceeds from the auction will go towards the Save the Children Fund‘s Ukrainian programme. Save the Children has operated in the country since the start of hostilities in 2014, eight years before the full invasion.

“The watch is dear to my heart, as it was awarded to me after one of my biggest and proudest victories. At the same time, the situation in Ukraine is absolutely terrible and sad, and most children in Ukraine are growing up under completely different circumstances than I did,” said Christensen. “If I can help just a little bit, so they can look forward to a better life, I want to do it.

“It has been a long journey, and of course my nerves have been worn a little thin during the recent days. The decision to sell my Rolex Daytona watch was both a sad and satisfying decision. With the charitable purpose in mind and Bruun Rasmussen’s commitment, the sale made more and more sense to me during the process. Now I’m just so relieved that it went so well with a hammer price of half a million Danish kroner this evening.”

Christensen ran the 2017 Rolex 24 alongside Jesse Lazare, Daniel Morad, and Carlos and Michael de Quesada. Their #28 Porsche 911 GT3 R finished eighteenth overall to top the twenty-seven-car GTD class. The Dane would go on to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche, winning the LMGTE Pro championship in 2018/19 and the GTE Pro class at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Valtteri Bottas: “It’s nice to see we are in a condition to fight for Q3”

Valtteri Bottas believes the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN can contend for a place inside the top ten in Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday after a productive Friday for the team.

The Finn ended thirteenth fastest in the first session but improved significantly to seventh in the second session, held under the floodlights at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Bottas admitted he expected there to be more bumps in Singapore than there ultimately was, and going into the rest of the weekend, he hopes to find even more pace so they can fight for Q3.

“It’s been quite a positive Friday, a clean day in which we could go through all our programme nicely and do lots of laps,” said Bottas.  “Our pace looks quite decent and it’s nice to see we are in a condition to fight for Q3 tomorrow.

“It was interesting to have our first outing with the new cars here: the track felt a bit bumpy, but I was expecting more. I was still able to enjoy the track and had some good fun.

Alpine Pleased with their Performance Level During Singapore Practice – Matt Harman

Matt Harman, the Technical Director at BWT Alpine F1 Team, says it was an ‘interesting’ opening day to the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, although both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished inside the top ten in both sessions.

Ocon ended seventh in the opening session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and followed that up by improving to sixth in the second, while Alonso ended tenth and eighth.

Alonso suffered with a gearbox issue in the first session that restricted him to just eleven laps, and Harman says the team will be looking into the problem to ensure it does not happen again.

“It’s fantastic to be back here in Singapore even if it’s extremely hot and humid!” said Harman.  “It’s been an interesting day of Practice where we encountered an issue with Fernando’s gearbox with a small oil leak identified.

“As a precaution we decided not to run again in the first session, and we’ll investigate the root cause of the issue over the coming days as this is an unusual occurrence. His car was fitted with a replacement gearbox to ensure he could run in the second session.”

Esteban Ocon: “We had a strong day testing the new upgrades”

Esteban Ocon was pleased to be back driving at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but Friday’s running proved to the Frenchman that the track remains a challenging and physical one.

The BWT Alpine F1 Team driver had a productive Friday in Singapore, finishing seventh fastest in the first session and sixth in the second, but Ocon feels the three-week gap since the Italian Grand Prix has been welcome by everyone as they prepared for the most physical race of the season.

“There’s really nothing quite like driving in Singapore and it’s great to be back here after a few years,” said Ocon.  

“After both practice sessions today, it’s again quite clear how much of a challenge this track is physically with the heat and humidity so I think most drivers will have been pleased with having those extra few days of preparation ahead of the race weekend.”

Ocon believed it was good to test the updates Alpine had brought to Singapore this weekend, and he hopes the potential the team had on Friday can translate into a strong weekend.

WATCH: A Day In The Life of a Mercedes F1 Graphic Designer

Ever wondered what a Formula 1 graphic designer gets up to during a normal working day? Well, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have helped answer that question, in the latest installment of their ‘My Job in F1’ YouTube series.

The series takes a look at different job roles at the Silver Arrows and ultimately, what the job entails. The recent episode which you can find below, introduces Katherine Burns, one of the team’s brilliant graphic designers.

As is discussed in the video, Katherine gets up to a range of stuff with no day seemingly the same. Some of her projects include: Esports, commercial prospects and social assets, to the complete opposite of designing merchandise and licensing products.

Katherine is part of the graphic team which falls under the marketing department at the Constructors’ Champions. Her role sees her support all design-based areas, like the ones previously mentioned. As discovered by watching the video, its vital for Catherine that the Mercedes-AMG identity is upheld in the designs, with the Brackley-based team being famous around the world.

The video goes on to show just how much teamwork is involved in the graphic team, with even the trackside engineering team having a crucial role ensuring that things like track maps are accurate.

WATCH: Discover Mercedes’ New-Look Motorhome Featuring an Unexpected Lewis Hamilton

For those who watch the build-up and post-race coverage of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and have ever wondered what the inside of the teams’ motorhomes looks like, well wonder now more!

Ahead of the first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019 (due to the Coronavirus pandemic), the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team gave an exclusive behind-the-scenes look of their staggering three-floored motorhome, which has recently undergone a facelift!

The tour, which took place during the Italian Grand Prix but was released on the team’s YouTube during the week, shows what goes on across the different levels. An awkward moment in the video also occurs as you can find out by watching it, which includes a rather perplexed looking Lewis Hamilton.

The tour, which you can find below, gives a fascinating insight into what goes on within the motorhome, whilst also showing what the interior looks like. After watching the video you will be left even more amazed, and equally puzzled, as to how the motorhomes collapse down and are then driven across the world, something which you’ll be left even more confused and terrified by when you hear just how much the motorhome weighs. Spoiler, it’s a lot!

WATCH: Hamilton Engineering School Challenged With Exciting Project

Following on from the first part of the UBS Hamilton Engineering School series on the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team Youtube channel, Lewis Hamilton challenged a specially selected school’s Year Six students to design their very own cars in teams.

The first part of the series saw three students invited to the Brackley-based team’s factory, where they got to not only see Hamilton’s cars, but also meet the main man himself; however, in unexpected circumstances.

Hamilton surprised the three students by wearing an unbelievable cover up, before sitting down to talk to all three after unveiling his true identity. The second part carries on from where the first part ended, with the episode showing the three selected students, Year Six classmates told about their meeting with the seven-time World Champion.

Hamilton challenges all the students to design their own cars, which were then 3D printed and turned into a radio-controlled vehicle, where a variety of stages determined the winner.

You can find the entire video below to see what the children had to do once their car had been designed and just how creative their ideas were!

Carlos Sainz Jr leads Second Practice Session at Marina Bay

Scuderia Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz Jr beat his teammate Charles Leclerc to the top of the timesheet, as Lewis Hamilton failed to maintain his pace from the first practice session of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend.

After the surprise lap from Lewis Hamilton at the end of the first practice session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team headed into the second practice session keen to keep Hamilton a the top of the timesheets. By the end of the first stint, the British driver sat in first place, however, this was short-lived as Sainz soon set a time of 1.43.231s beating the previous fastest time by a narrow 0.381s.

Whilst Sainz continued to run at the front with the fastest time and on the medium compound, his teammate had less than a positive start to the session and was delayed getting onto the track by almost half an hour. Charles Leclerc’s F1-75 remained in the after a brake issue was detected early on, causing the Monegasque driver to lose a considerable chunk of track time.

Similarly to Ferrari, there seemed to be a lack of urgency in the Red Bull garage, after 29 minutes of the practice session the two drivers were yet to be seen on the track. Sergio Perez was first to emerge running the soft tyre, yet failed to get the fastest time and sat behind his teammate Max Verstappen in eighth position after having a few close calls with the wall in the third sector.

At the beginning of the session, Max Verstappen’s car encountered difficulty with front suspension, which seemed to persist throughout the session as the current reigning champion seemed to lack in pace until the driver pitted for fresh soft tyres which bumped him up to fourth place, setting a late banker time of 1.42.926s.

Lewis Hamilton leads the way as Formula 1 returns to Singapore

As the FIA Formula 1 World Championship made its long-awaited return to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheets for the first time this season in Free Practice One. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver set the fastest lap time of 1:43.033 on the soft compound of tyre and will likely provide a huge boost to the seven-time world champion, who is still searching for his first win of the season.

Championship leader Max Verstappen was second fastest with a lap time of 1:43.117. Verstappen enters the weekend knowing that he can claim his second World Championship in as many years if results are to go his way this weekend.

Charles Leclerc rounded off the fastest three of the session, the Monegasque driver was over four-tenths of a second slower than the fastest time set by Hamilton. Worryingly for Leclerc, the Scuderia Ferrari driver was called back into the pits at the beginning of the session due to an issue with his brakes.

Sergio Perez was fourth fastest and would see his session come to an earlier than planned end as the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver was forced back into the pits with just seven minutes remaining in the session due to a suspected driveshaft issue.

George Russell rounded off a strong session for the Mercedes by setting the fifth fastest time of the session, over a second behind the fastest time of the session set by Hamilton. Attempting to find the limit of the W13 in the early stages, Russell locked up heading into turn eleven and would head nose first into the wall but was able to avoid any damage to his W13.

Conor Daly to make NASCAR Cup debut at Charlotte Roval

With the NTT IndyCar Series season now over, Conor Daly is looking forward to continue racing in 2022, especially in a stock car. On Thursday, Daly announced he will make his NASCAR Cup Series début at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on 9 October. He will drive the #50 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of The Money Team Racing.

Daly is coming off a seventeenth-place points finish in his ninth season of IndyCar competition. Driving for Ed Carpenter Racing, he scored a best finish of fifth at the Indianapolis GMR Grand Prix. It is his third straight year as a full-time IndyCar driver, having spent the previous two seasons splitting between ECR and Carlin.

Although much of his career has been in the open-wheel ladder, including racing for the GP3 and GP2 Series championships, he began dabbling in NASCAR in 2018 with a start at Road America in the Xfinity Series but retired in thirty-first with a mechanical failure. In 2020 and 2021, he entered the Camping World Truck Series races at Las Vegas and respectively finished eighteenth and last (the latter due to a crash). Despite his road course background, both Truck starts came on an oval.

Daly posted on social media, “Extremely excited to announce I’ll be making my NASCAR Cup series debut next weekend at the Roval in Charlotte! Huge thank you to BitNile Holdings and Todd Ault for making this happen with TMT Racing!”

The Money Team Racing is a new operation for the 2022 Cup season, owned by boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. Kaz Grala débuted the #50 at the Daytona 500 with a twenty-sixth, followed by twenty-fifth at COTA and twenty-third on Charlotte’s oval.

Nani Roma calls off Dakar 2023 effort

Nani Roma had competed in every Dakar Rally since 1996. Unfortunately, that streak will end after twenty-six tries as he announced Thursday that he will not take part in the 2023 edition, citing a difficult timeframe for Bahrain Raid Xtreme to prepare an entry after recovering from his battle with bladder cancer.

Roma took a hiatus from racing in March, two months after the 2022 Dakar Rally, as he underwent treatment for his cancer. He was released from hospital in late June and began rehabilitation immediately after with physical training like cycling.

In a July interview with Catalan television programme Els matins, with his recovery in its closing stages, Roma was hopeful of returning to the driver’s seat in time for desert testing in September before entering the Rallye du Maroc on 1–6 October and Dakar 2023. As testing loomed, however, he offered a more grounded outlook of not expecting to race competitively unless he felt he was physically ready.

The test took place in mid-September with BRX, and he proclaimed he was “[v]ery happy to feel the wonderful sensation of running at full throttle on the tracks of Morocco!!” Despite a positive session, he was not included on the entry list for the Rallye du Maroc.

“I’m recovered, I feel good and in fact, I got back in the car with very good feelings in the past weeks,” wrote Roma on social media. “But for technical reasons, and due to the lack of time until the start of the race, participating is too complicated. As you know, it has not been an easy year, the surgeries and the difficult moments of the chemo have been quite a challenge, but in each adverse situation, the motivation to compete again helped me go forward because it is my life and for 27 years I have not I have missed an edition of the Dakar. So already thinking about the next season, I assure you that my Hunter and I will return to the races with all our enthusiasm in 2023! Thanks to everyone for your support!!! thanks to my sponsors for always being with me.”

Nikita Mazepin still holding out hope for Dakar 2023 entry

As Russian competitors continue to back out of the 2023 Dakar Rally in objection of the FIA’s policy to condemn their country’s invasion of Ukraine, Nikita Mazepin still seems to think he has a chance. Speaking with state-controlled publication Rossiyskaya Gazeta, he argued he might still be able to take part in the race despite little indication he would agree to the FIA’s measures.

“I wouldn’t say that it didn’t work out with the Dakar,” said Mazepin. “In Formula One, I successfully took part, taking a neutral position. The world is changing very quickly, both in a positive direction and in the opposite direction. The race starts on 31 December. I love motorsport. We have to wait and see what happens. I can’t say that I won’t compete in the next Dakar.”

Under the FIA rules implemented following the invasion, Russian and Belarusian competitors are to denounce the invasion of Ukraine, stand in solidarity with said country, and agree to not display the Russian/Belarusian flag or other related emblems on their vehicle and gear via signing an “emergency measure” document. While some like Konstantin Zhiltsov and Denis Krotov agreed to the terms and will race at Dakar under different nationalities, others like Mazepin’s employer Sergei Kariakin and fellow SSV racer Anastasiya Nifontova have strongly refused to follow suit.

A day before Mazepin’s comments, Truck category giant KAMAZ-master withdrew their Dakar plans to virtually no surprise as parent company KAMAZ builds vehicles for the Russian military. While Mazepin races in a different class, he is friendly with KAMAZ-master’s members and participated in a test with them in 2021.

According to Mazepin, KAMAZ’s size and relationship with the government (being owned by the state) make it impossible for the team to consider heading to Dakar. Conversely, he feels that as he is operating on his own, he can potentially compete as a privateer with an interested outfit.

Toto Wolff: Mercedes Targeting to “keep the momentum going” at circuit which “should suit” the W13

Time is rapidly running out for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team if they want to extend their winning record, with only six races remaining of their disastrous 2022 season.

As it stands, Mercedes are set to see their streak of having won a race every year since 2012 end; however, Team Principal Toto Wolff believes this weekend’s returning Singapore Grand Prix “should suit” the W13 ‘diva’.

Whilst Mercedes have struggled at street circuits this season, Wolff believes some sections of the Marina Bay Circuit will play to the Germans advantage, although, he is concerned that the bumpy streets could cause some problems seen by the team at the Monaco and Azerbaijan Grand Prix earlier in the year.

The Austrian wants his team to remain upbeat as the season draws to a close, with the Mercedes boss opening that his side can at least “keep learning” from their difficulties.

“While we’ve had a longer break than usual from the racing action, the factories have been busy preparing for this season’s final push. Let’s see where that hard work leads us.
“Since the start of the year, we’ve been making good progress and it’s been a strong recovery from the team. We need to keep the momentum going, keep learning and extract the maximum we can from every opportunity.
“It’s great to be back in Singapore for the first time since 2019. The whole weekend is so unique; remaining on the European schedule, the climate and the track layout. Some aspects of the circuit should suit our car better than some of the recent circuits – but other aspects, like the bumpy surface, might prove challenging. We’ll know for sure when we hit the track on Friday.”
It has so far been a good week for the Silver Arrows, after it was announced that their current deal with Malaysian gas company Petronas would be extended beyond 2026. Petronas have been Mercedes’ title and technical partner since 2010, a relationship that is set to continue for many years to come.

Ferrari “to now start preparing for next year” reveals Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc has seemingly accepted defeat in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the returning Singapore Grand Prix, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver wanting his Italian side to “start preparing for next year”.

Formula 1 returns to Singapore this weekend for the first time since 2019, following a two-year absence following the Coronavirus pandemic. With this weekend being the most demanding of the year, Leclerc has made sure to train especially hard to get himself as prepared as possible for the torture to come on Sunday at the Marina Bay Circuit.

“This time, before Singapore, we had a two week break so we could prepare even more specifically. Personally, I trained in a sauna to get my body used to the very high temperatures that one encounters in the car.

“It’s vital to look at every detail, which of course is always the case but in the closing stages of the race, you need a clear mind to make up for the fact your body is getting more and more tired. It is one of the challenges of this track that makes it one of my favourites along with Monaco and Baku.”

The Monegasque driver has seemingly accepted defeat to Max Verstappen in the race to the crown, with the Dutchman being able to wrap his second championship up this weekend should results go this way.