George Floyd death: Lewis Hamilton comments backed by Mercedes

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he fully supports Lewis Hamilton speaking out against racism and has described the six-time world champion as an “ambassador of this sport”.

Hamilton has posted messages on social media in recent days decrying the situation in the United States after George Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck.

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The incident has sparked large protests across the United States.

Hamilton said he felt “completely overcome with rage” and felt “so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen”.

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Wolff, Hamilton’s boss at Mercedes, has backed the six-time F1 champion’s comments.

“We know that Lewis is always a strong supporter of any minorities,” said Wolff. “To be honest, I have learned a lot from him as well.

“He has asked me the question once ‘have you ever had the active thought that you are white?’ And I said ‘no, actually I have never thought about it’ and he said ‘well, you know, I need to think about it every day because I am being made aware that I am [black]’.

“Therefore, it’s very difficult for us to comprehend how difficult it is and therefore I am happy and supportive that he has come out vocal. He is one of the ambassadors of this sport and I think it’s good.”

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Hamilton had called on the F1 community to speak out and end what he felt was “silence” on the matter. A number of his fellow drivers and teams, including Mercedes, have since posted on social media, while the sport itself has also delivered a message of solidarity.

Asked what he felt F1 could do to help make a change and improve diversity, Wolff replied: “I was lucky enough that I was raised in a household with different nationalities. That I lived with a Jewish family for a long time when my family faced tough times and I saw what discrimination looked like as a child already.

“All of us have the power to make a change and sometimes it needs events, like the ones that happened a few days ago in the US, to trigger a massive wave of support for any minority.

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Formula 1 teams can use reserves if driver tests positive at 2020 race

Formula 1 teams have been urged to make use of their reserves should any of their lead drivers test positive for COVID-19 once the delayed 2020 season starts, with Chase Carey reaffirming that races will not be cancelled in that circumstance.

Carey, F1’s chairman and chief executive, was speaking after the sport published an eight-race initial calendar with the season starting in Austria on July 5.

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The original March 15 opener in Australia was cancelled after a McLaren team member returned a positive test for the new coronavirus before the weekend had started.

But, confirming what FIA president Jean Todt told Sky Sports last month, Carey said that would not happen this time around.

“An individual having been found with a positive infection will not lead to a cancellation of a race,” Carey said in an interview on the official F1 website.

“We encourage teams to have procedures in place so if an individual has to be put in quarantine, we have the ability to quarantine them at a hotel and to replace that individual.

“A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race… we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation. If a driver has an infection, (the teams have) reserve drivers available.”

All 10 F1 teams have two full-time drivers, and a number of test or reserve drivers should they need them.

The last driver to fill in for a team during a season was Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta, who replaced the sick Felipe Massa at the 2016 Hungarian GP for Williams.

F1’s safety plans

Formula 1 plans to race without spectators, at least initially, and teams will fly in on charters and be isolated from the local population.

Carey pointed to “a rigorous set of guidelines” of some 80-90 pages detailing the processes for travel, hotels, meals, track behaviour and testing.

Teams will operate in ‘bubbles’ with social distancing in non-critical areas such as the paddock.

F1 expects some 1,200 essential personnel with the 10 teams limited to a maximum 80 people each compared to the more usual 130.

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Lewis Hamilton ‘overcome with rage’ at George Floyd death

Lewis Hamilton says he is “overcome with rage” following the death of George Floyd in America, and has urged people to speak up on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died on May 25 after white Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly told him “I can’t breathe”.

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His death has sparked mass protests across the United States.

Six-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton was posting as part of #BlackoutTuesday, a huge social media protest that is taking place around the world.

View this post on Instagram

This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen. I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop. So many people seem surprised, but to us unfortunately, it is not surprising. Those of us who are black, brown or in between, see it everyday and should not have to feel as though we were born guilty, don’t belong, or fear for our lives based on the colour of our skin. Will Smith said it best, racism is not getting worse, it’s being filmed. Only now that the world is so well equipped with cameras has this issue been able to come to light in such a big way. It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done. It took hundreds of thousands of peoples complaints and buildings to burn before officials reacted and decided to arrest Derek Chauvin for murder, and that is sad. Unfortunately, America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the colour of your skin. Black Lives Matter. #blackouttuesday ✊🏽

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

This past week has been so dark. I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen. I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop. So many people seem surprised, but to us unfortunately, it is not surprising. Those of us who are black, brown or in between, see it everyday and should not have to feel as though we were born guilty, don’t belong, or fear for our lives based on the colour of our skin. Will Smith said it best, racism is not getting worse, it’s being filmed. Only now that the world is so well equipped with cameras has this issue been able to come to light in such a big way. It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done. It took hundreds of thousands of peoples complaints and buildings to burn before officials reacted and decided to arrest Derek Chauvin for murder, and that is sad. Unfortunately, America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the colour of your skin. Black Lives Matter. #blackouttuesday ✊🏽

A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton) on

“This past week has been so dark,” Hamilton wrote. “I have failed to keep hold of my emotions. I have felt so much anger, sadness and disbelief in what my eyes have seen.

“I am completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people. The injustice that we are seeing our brothers and sisters face all over the world time and time again is disgusting, and MUST stop.

“So many people seem surprised, but to us unfortunately, it is not surprising. Those of us who are black, brown or in between, see it every day and should not have to feel as though we were born guilty, don’t belong, or fear for our lives based on the colour of our skin.

“Will Smith said it best, racism is not getting worse, it’s being filmed. Only now that the world is so well equipped with cameras has this issue been able to come to light in such a big way.

“It is only when there are riots and screams for justice that the powers that be cave in and do something, but by then it is far too late and not enough has been done. It took hundreds of thousands of peoples complaints and buildings to burn before officials reacted and decided to arrest Derek Chauvin for murder, and that is sad.

“Unfortunately, America is not the only place where racism lives and we continue to fail as humans when we cannot stand up for what is right. Please do not sit in silence, no matter the colour of your skin. Black Lives Matter.”

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Formula 1 season to start with eight races in Europe

The 2020 Formula 1 season will start in Austria on 5 July, the first of a run of eight races in Europe.

An F1 statement said the championship would begin across three consecutive weekends – two in Austria on 5 and 12 July and a third in Hungary.

There will then be a two-week break before two consecutive races in Britain and events in Spain, Belgium and Italy.

All will be run behind closed doors with participants following guidelines to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

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The British Grands Prix at Silverstone will be held 2 and 9 August, followed immediately by the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona on 16 August.

The Belgian and Italian Grands Prix will complete the European part of the season on their original dates of 30 August and 6 September.

Plans for the remainder of the season were not announced, because of the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation in the various countries that would have made up the original schedule.

However, F1 said it had “an expectation of having a total of 15-18 races before we complete our season in December”.

It is understood that F1 is highly confident of finishing the championship with races in Bahrain on 6 December and Abu Dhabi on 13 December.

Before that, the low incidence of coronavirus in China, Vietnam and Japan makes races in those countries a strong probability in October.

The Russian Grand Prix, which is pencilled in for after the European events along with the race in Azerbaijan, and those in the US, Mexico and Brazil are more uncertain because of the high rates of infection in those countries.

F1 2020 opening calendar

3-5 July – Austrian Grand Prix (Red Bull Ring)

10-12 July – Steiermark Grand Prix (Red Bull Ring)

17-19 July – Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)

31 July-2 August – British Grand Prix (Silverstone)

7-9 August – 70th Anniversary Grand Prix (Silverstone)

14-16 August – Spanish Grand Prix

28-30 August – Belgian Grand Prix

4-6 September – Italian Grand Prix

Reverse grid proposal

F1 bosses have also proposed that some races run to a new format, with the grid for the main grand prix on Sunday decided by a shorter race on Saturday.

But this plan looks unlikely to happen because of opposition from Mercedes – any change to the rules after the start of a year in which a championship takes place requires the unanimous approval of teams.

McLaren boss Zak Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It would certainly add some jeopardy and some excitement to the sport so I personally would be a fan of experimenting because we might find we go, you know what, this is actually a pretty good idea, let’s pull this forward into future use.”

But Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has told other senior figures at meetings to discuss the idea that he has two major objections the plan: it will not succeed in improving the racing; and F1 is not broken so does not require gimmicks to ‘fix’ it.

The plan would be to try the sprint races at events where there are races on consecutive weekends, such as in Austria and Britain, to avoid the risk of the second one falling into the same pattern as the first.

Mercedes’ objections are based on their belief that a reverse-grid race would simply lead to the cars from the top three teams running together as they carved through the field before becoming stuck in so-called ‘DRS trains’.

This is where a series of cars of similar performance run in close proximity but are unable to pass because all have the benefit of the DRS overtaking aid so it is negated.

They also believe it tips the result of the championship too far towards luck because the penalties of being involved in any incident in the ‘sprint’ race are magnified by also impacting on the driver’s chances in the main grand prix.

And they point to the fact that many of the races last year were exciting – especially those at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, for which the new format is being proposed.

Wolff has underlined to fellow bosses that he will not support the idea.

Brown said: “There are a variety of things we could try this year. You kind of have licence to do it differently because obviously going back to the same track twice in my memory has never happened in a season and if we end up doing this two times, mixing it up is a good idea.

“A lot of other forms of motorsport do have some form of reverse grid – it may be new to F1 but it’s not new to motorsport. And the other forms of motorsport that do it, it works quite well.”

He added that he “understood” Mercedes’ objections, saying: “They probably have the most to lose, if you like. It is pretty clear they still have the best car on the grid and so will probably be on pole position more often than not. So I understand from their point of view they are probably risking that pole position.”

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Dutch GP’s Formula 1 return moved back to 2021 season

The return of the Dutch Grand Prix will now have to wait until next year after organisers confirmed the postponed event will not be rescheduled when the 2020 season begins.

The race at a revamped Zandvoort track had been due to take place on May 3 but was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of 10 grands prix to have been postponed or cancelled.

Organisers confirmed on Thursday morning that it was “no longer possible to hold a race with fans present this year”.

“We were completely ready for this first race and we still are,” said Jan Lammers, the race’s sports director and former F1 driver.

“An unbelievable achievement has been made thanks to all the fans, the companies and the governments involved. We and Formula 1 have investigated the potential to hold a rescheduled race this year without spectators, but we would like to celebrate this moment, the return of Formula 1 in Zandvoort, together with our racing fans in the Netherlands.

“We ask everyone to be patient. I had to look forward to it for 35 years, so I can wait another year.”

More to follow…

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Belgian GP 1995 Watchalong: Michael Schumacher vs Damon Hill at wet Spa

https://youtube.com/watch?v=2VRq9BZwAV8%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Don’t miss the latest Sky F1 Watchalong on Wednesday evening as we transport you back to the midst of one the fiercest rivalries in the sport’s history and a controversial, topsy-turvy battle around arguably its best circuit, in the toughest of wet conditions.

It’s the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix from Spa-Francorchamps where Michael Schumacher made history by winning from 16th on the grid, Damon Hill was angered by his great rival’s defensive driving, and Martin Brundle finished on the podium for outsiders Ligier.

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Hill, Brundle and Johnny Herbert – Schumacher’s Benetton team-mate that day who led the race’s early stages – are reunited to watch back the best (and, in some of their cases, worst) moments from an unforgettable afternoon, with fellow Sky F1 colleague David Croft.

Does Damon still hold the same opinion of Schumacher’s driving a quarter of a century on? How did Johnny go from the lead to seventh place? And just how difficult was it to drive the undulating and fast 4.4-mile circuit in the wet?

Watch along with the Sky F1 team on Sky F1, YouTube, Facebook, and on this page from 7.30pm

The background to a tense race day

Schumacher, F1’s defending champion, held a reduced 11-point lead over big rival Hill going into the race, the 11th round of the 16-race season.

Hill had halved his title deficit at the previous race in Hungary when the Williams driver’s third win of the year had coincided with a rare race retirement for Schumacher and Benetton.

But the Englishman, already enduring a turbulent year on the track, still had it all on to overcome Schumacher and exact revenge on losing out on the title at the last race in the controversial finish to 1994.

But the cards seemed to be falling in Hill’s favour at Spa, as although he qualified only eighth in wet conditions of qualifying, he was still eight places ahead of Schumacher – whose Saturday never got going after a crash in second practice, which was followed by technical problems with his car.

Schumacher therefore started 16th – he had never previously qualified outside the top 10 in F1, while no one had ever won at Spa from lower than 12th on the grid.

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Formula 1: Deal reached to hold British Grand Prix but quarantine questions remain

Formula 1 and Silverstone have agreed a deal for two grands prix to be held at the British track this season.

Owners the British Racing Drivers’ Club and F1 had been far apart in their assessments of the fee for the track to host the behind-closed-doors events.

But a compromise agreement has now been reached after negotiations this week.

However, a new threat to the races has emerged in the UK government’s plans to impose a two-week quarantine for all international arrivals.

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Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told BBC Sport: “I am delighted to confirm that Silverstone and Formula 1 have reached an agreement in principle to host two races behind closed doors this summer.

“However, these races will be subject to government approval, as our priority is the safety of all involved and strict compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

“I would like to thank all our fans who have been so supportive throughout this and to assure them we are determined to do all we can to help Formula 1 put on a show this summer.”

An F1 spokesman said: “We are continuing to have conversations with Silverstone and other promoters regarding a revised 2020 calendar.”

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Quarantine rules complicate matters

F1 is trying to secure an exemption for its staff from a new rule that international travellers must go into a 14-day self-isolation period upon returning to the UK.

The government has not defined when that will come into force, saying only that it will be “soon”, but if it is imposed without exemptions it threatens the return of all elite international sport this summer.

The issue for F1 is that seven of the 10 teams have bases in the UK. And beyond the problems of staff travelling internationally from race to race, the cars have to return to their factories periodically in between races, especially if they are involved in accidents.

To work around a two-week enforced quarantine period would mean that any races at Silverstone would have to take place with that period on either side.

That is problematic for F1 as the sport seeks to achieve its aim to hold a World Championship with between 15 and 18 races, starting with two races on consecutive weekends in Austria on 5 and 12 July.

Under current plans, the races at the Red Bull Ring would be followed by two events at Silverstone, if F1 can find a way around the quarantine restrictions.

Earlier this week, the chances of British races had receded when it emerged that Silverstone had been asking for £15m to host the two events – the same amount as it would have paid for its fee to host the race under normal conditions.

F1 had waived the fee because it was asking Silverstone to host races without fans, and had offered to ensure that the track was not out of pocket.

A number of British-based teams had been in touch with F1 to express their concerns about developments, feeling that Silverstone was being unreasonable.

But the financial impediments to the races taking place have now been removed.

Belgium approves race plan

Meanwhile, the Belgian government has given the go-ahead for its grand prix to be held behind closed doors at Spa-Francorchamps on its original date of 30 August.

A deal has not yet been struck with F1, but Spa general manager Vanessa Maes told Belgian media she expected this to happen in the coming days.

Belgium is one of the countries at which F1 hopes to hold the second tranche of European races, after Austria and the UK.

Among the other events in the mix are the tracks originally intended to hold races this year in Spain, Hungary, France and Italy.

Hockenheim in Germany, which was not on the original schedule, is on standby in case there is a vacant slot that other tracks cannot fill.

Cost cap talks ongoing

F1’s governing body, the FIA, has delayed a vote on proposals to reduce the cost cap being imposed next year until next week.

Teams had been due to meet on Friday and vote on a proposal to lower the level of $175m (£137.9m) enshrined in the rules to $145m, and then lowering again to $140m in 2022 and $135m for the period 2023 to 2025.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, who had been against lowering the cap below $150m, said on Thursday that the teams had all agreed on the $145m.

But the FIA has decided to wait until next week while finishing touches are made to the proposal, with the hope of a vote by teams early next week and formal approval by the FIA’s world motorsport council later in the week.

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Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari exit: Ted Kravitz analyses F1’s huge news

We now know that Sebastian Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of this year – but why now and what might be next for the four-time world champion?

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz has followed the German’s career closely since Vettel sensationally burst onto the Formula 1 scene in 2007, and here analyses some of the detail in Vettel’s statement in which he explained the reasons why a contract renewal with Ferrari will not be agreed.

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How did it all unravel for the Scuderia’s once-undisputed number one and how much will the likelihood of leaving Maranello without a fifth world title – and a long-coveted first in red – hurt Vettel?

What Vettel said: ‘My relationship with Scuderia Ferrari will finish at the end of 2020. In order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season.’

Ted Kravitz: To say that “it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony” suggests that they have not been in perfect harmony. And that was clear for us all to see.

Towards the end of last season there was that clash with his team-mate Charles Leclerc on track in Brazil. A few months before that there was qualifying in Monza and controversy between them over the tow, while we saw other examples earlier in the year where there was tension.

When Leclerc stepped out of the role of being “a good kid” – a phrase, you might remember, that Seb used in winter testing last year to describe his new team-mate – and became a proper challenger to him, you sense he kind of felt that Leclerc had become the team’s number one.

It was coinciding with that win being taken away from Vettel in Canada. That was a proper junction for Sebastian.

Neither Ferrari driver had won a race in 2019 at that point – Leclerc being unfortunate not to do so in Bahrain – and so it was hugely frustrating for Vettel how Montreal played out with the time penalty from the stewards and a lost victory.

Seb’s head went down after Canada – with Formula 1 as much as with Ferrari.

Then when Leclerc went on his run of pole positions and then his wins in Spa and Monza during the summer, I think Vettel had realised he was number two in the team. It wasn’t the team he joined in as far as his it being his team to support him for the championship.

Obviously, nothing has happened this year in racing terms but, as Vettel said, there is “no longer a common desire to stay together”. Hence the split at the end of this year.

What Vettel said: ‘Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be. What’s been happening in these past few months has led many of us to reflect on what are our real priorities in life. One needs to use one’s imagination and to adopt a new approach to a situation that has changed. I myself will take the time I need to reflect on what really matters when it comes to my future.’

Ted: You can read that final part in two ways. You could read that as ‘I don’t want to do Formula 1 anymore and I’m going to cycle and walk the Swiss hills with my family’. But I don’t take it like that – although, of course, it’s possible he could retire.

Take the line: “One needs to use one’s imagination and to adopt a new approach to a situation that has changed.” So, let’s ‘imagine’ then what might happen in the future. I see that as a point to another team – and specifically to McLaren.

What other teams are available? Mercedes? Possibly. Red Bull? They’ve said before they’re not going to take him back. Renault?

But if you imagine about what could happen in the future then McLaren – with an organised team, a Mercedes power unit from 2021, and under the new 2022 F1 design rules – might be a top team.

So that’s what I take by that ‘imagination’ line.

From the (prancing) horse’s mouth.. pic.twitter.com/89MAozQMcA

Adopting “a new approach to a situation” could also be about building up a team. If his old approach was trying to win a world championship with a team that’s ready to win titles, a new approach would be to go to a midfield team and build them up to be challengers. So that points to McLaren for me as well!

The only question is whether they could afford him and you go to the line before about financial matters – “Financial matters have played no part in this joint decision. That’s not the way I think when it comes to making certain choices and it never will be.”

If he doesn’t want to make it about the money, it won’t be about the money for Sebastian. So, assuming McLaren wouldn’t be able to pay him anywhere near as much as he’s used to, if that’s fine with Seb then it shouldn’t stand in his way.

Would it be a good get for McLaren? Absolutely! If they lose Carlos Sainz, who looks to be in pole position for Vettel’s seat, that would be a great swap.

The other thing I wonder about is whether Sebastian has missed the discipline and more regimented, clinical approach of a British-based team. Ferrari are fantastic, their engineers are great and their technology is as good as anyone’s, but the character of a team is based in its culture and they have a vibrant, colourful, emotional, Italian culture.

We have seen many times how that has frustrated the Sebastian who loves his routine, the Sebastian who likes everything to be just so.

What Vettel said: ‘Scuderia Ferrari occupies a special place in Formula 1 and I hope it gets all the success it deserves. Finally, I want to thank the whole Ferrari family and above all its “tifosi” all around the world, for the support they have given me over the years. My immediate goal is to finish my long stint with Ferrari, in the hope of sharing some more beautiful moments together, to add to all those we have enjoyed so far.’

Ted: I’ve been a student of Sebastian Vettel ever since he came into Formula 1 because he’s a very engaging and interesting character, as well as a nice guy to know.

One thing I do know about him is he is one of the most stubborn people you’ll ever meet. If he decided to do something – i.e. win a championship with Ferrari – he was going to see it through. That’s why I think this will hurt the most.

The reason he even thought about continuing for as long as he did was that the overriding ambition was to win a world championship in the red of Ferrari. So, unless something unexpected happens this year when the season begins, I’m sure it’ll be a lifelong regret for him that he wasn’t able to do that.

It will also be embarrassing for him in a way to have to leave without having succeeded – having failed.

He’s had race wins along the way, 14 of them, and they’ve had a go at winning the championship. But faced with the steamroller of Mercedes it never really looked like they were going to overturn them over a full season.

In any other era, Vettel might have won with Ferrari, but he caught a team in transition without the consistency in leadership you need. He’s had two team bosses – Maurizio Arrivabene and Mattia Binotto – and there was a bit of a crisis after the death of chairman Sergio Marchionne in July 2018.

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Jenson Button Sky F1 Watchalong: The amazing story of his first win

https://youtube.com/watch?v=m_Nw_BF90_4%3Ffeature%3Doembed

“We didn’t know when the victory was going to come – or if it ever would come.”

It took Jenson Button six years and 113 races to win his first Grand Prix in Formula 1 but when it arrived at the 2006 Hungarian GP, it was one of the most dramatic and popular breakthrough successes in years.

Fourteen years on from a rain-hit day at the Hungaroring and the now pundit and 2009 champion relives one of the most important moments in his stellar career with colleagues old and new in the second Sky F1 Watchalong.

Airing for the first time on Sky Sports F1 and Main Event on Wednesday at 7pm, Button is joined by three men who had very different roles on that wet Sunday in Budapest when the Englishman triumphed from an unlikely 14th on the grid.

Andrew Shovlin was Button’s race engineer at Honda that day and has since gone on to play a central role in the success of the team the Brackley outfit later morphed into – Mercedes.

Anthony Davidson, a friend and racing contemporary of Button, was Honda’s test driver in 2006 and had already driven the RA106 that weekend in Friday practice, before heading for a guest co-commentator role covering for a holidaying Martin Brundle on TV over the weekend.

David Croft, meanwhile, was in his first season as a radio commentator in F1 and completes our Watchalong quartet to guide you through the action.

It was lovely to reminisce with a couple of key people from the 2006 season, I hope you enjoy watching this as much as we did.
Tonight's #SkyF1Watchalong! 📺 Is my first victory in an exciting Hungarian GP. 7PM on Sky Sports F1 Facebook, YouTube#SkyF1 #EveryRaceLive #F1 pic.twitter.com/bJ4W8bB0sb

What makes Hungary 2006 stand out

Button’s maiden victory did not come in just any race – or indeed any season.

It was achieved amid one of the most titanic title battles of the 21st century so far between young reigning champion Fernando Alonso and seven-time title winner Michael Schumacher. The rivals headed to Budapest separated by 11 points in the championship, with Ferrari on a charge after a hat-trick of summer wins for Schumacher.

But both drivers had courted controversy in practice sessions earlier in the weekend for separate warning-flag misdemeanours and had two seconds added to their best lap times in qualifying.

It meant Schumacher started from 11th and Alonso from 15th, with Button in between.

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F1 extends factory shutdowns for teams again amid coronavirus crisis

Formula 1’s shutdown period for teams’ factories has been extended again – this time by an additional 28 days – as the sport continues to introduce measures amid the coronavirus crisis.

Having originally brought forward and extended F1’s usual 14-day shutdown from August, the FIA has agreed to two further extensions with the length of time that teams have to cease F1 performance work at their factories now extended to 63 days.

Each of F1’s 10 teams must adhere to the nine-week shutdown over consecutive days until a finishing point in either May or June.

Renault, for instance, have confirmed their shutdown at Enstone will be extended until May 31.

The move comes after F1 announced plans on Monday to target a start to the season at the Austrian GP in July.

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