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Ferrari ask FIA for ruling on new steering in Mercedes F1 cars

  • Italian team unable to make own version immediately
  • FIA confirms DAS system will be banned by 2021

Ferrari are to ask the FIA to clarify its position on the legality of the controversial new steering system developed by Mercedes. Mercedes are confident the device is within the regulations having sought the FIA’s approval during its development. However the FIA race director, Michael Masi, confirmed on Friday that the system would be banned under the new regulations set to be imposed in 2021.

The Italian team also said if it is declared legal they will not be able to develop their own version until at least halfway through the season, giving Mercedes a potentially championship-winning advantage should the system make a real difference in lap times.

Related: McLaren adopt strict safety policy on spread of coronavirus

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Steering system could be an F1 head start for Lewis Hamilton

  • Mercedes test their new DAS system in Barcelona
  • Other teams may question legality of innovation

The Formula One season has yet to begin but Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes may have already stolen a race-winning march on their rivals. Hamilton took to the track for the second day of testing in Barcelona using an innovative steering system but one whose legality may still be called into question.

Having already been the fastest driver on day one, Hamilton completed 106 laps of relentless running in the morning session. While doing so he was observed to be using the new system, understood to be dual-axis steering and referred to by the team as DAS.

Related: How do the big F1 teams shape up for pre-season testing in Barcelona? | Giles Richards

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McLaren adopt strict safety policy on spread of coronavirus

  • F1 team intend to safeguard personel from virus
  • Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in testing in Barcelona

McLaren are adhering to a strict policy in an attempt to safeguard their personnel from the coronavirus. The team clarified their position after it emerged they are not allowing anyone who has visited China in the past 14 days from entering their motorhome during testing in Barcelona. It is understood no other team in the paddock has adopted the same policy.

The Chinese Grand Prix has already been postponed because of the coronavirus and the threat is still being taken seriously at McLaren, who emailed a Chinese journalist who had just arrived in Europe and informed him he should not enter their motorhome.

Related: F1's Chinese GP called off because of coronavirus with Vietnam race at risk

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How do the big F1 teams shape up ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona? | Giles Richards

Red Bull might finally have a car that can put them in the title fight, Ferrari have work to do and Mercedes look to have the perfect foundation

Lewis Hamilton has the magic touch but he is without doubt also wielding the sharpest tools. And with the Mercedes W11 expectations are high again. With stable regulations this year evolution not revolution is the design philosophy across the grid. Mercedes, coming off asuccessful 2019 where they clinched their sixth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ championship double, have the best possible baseline.

Related: Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen’s comments are ‘a sign of weakness’

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Simone Biles, Messi and Hamilton named athletes of year at Laureus Awards

  • US gymnast wins sportswoman of year for third time
  • Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton share men’s award

Gymnastics star Simone Biles was named the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for the third time on Monday, while Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton shared the men’s award.

Biles won five gold medals, including a record fifth all-around title, at the 2019 world championships in Stuttgart. That made her the most decorated gymnast ever at worlds with 25 medals.

Related: Jaw-dropping sport moments of 2019: Simone Biles stuns a jaded world

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Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen’s comments are ‘a sign of weakness’

• Reigning champion in confident mood as he tests new W11 car
• ‘Lewis loves the challenge’, says Mercedes principal Toto Wolff

Lewis Hamilton brushed off recent comments from Max Verstappen as “weakness” and vowed to do his talking on the track as Mercedes unveiled their new car on Friday.

The British driver, chasing a record-equalling seventh Formula One title, displayed a steely determination at the car launch and is clearly eager to climb behind the wheel and take the fight to F1’s young guns.

Related: Max Verstappen is Lewis Hamilton’s biggest threat, says Red Bull chief

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F1 figures pledge safety first over Vietnam GP if coronavirus spreads

  • McLaren chief Zak Brown will not put personnel at risk
  • Chinese GP was postponed on Wednesday

Senior figures in Formula One believe the sport would be right to once more put its participants first if it had to postpone or cancel the Vietnam Grand Prix as it did on Wednesday with the Chinese GP. The Shanghai race was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak and although F1 chiefs hope the Hanoi showpiece will take place as scheduled on 5 April, a similar outcome could occur if the threat increases.

After the Chinese meeting was called off focus immediately turned on to neighbouring Vietnam, which shares a land border with China. Speaking at the launch of his team’s new car, the MCL35, at the team headquarters, McLaren’s chief executive, Zak Brown, insisted that personnel safety was paramount and F1 would respect that.

Related: F1's Chinese GP called off because of coronavirus with Vietnam race at risk

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F1's Chinese GP set to be called off due to coronavirus with Vietnam race at risk

  • Race unlikely to be rescheduled due to busy calendar
  • Inaugural Vietnam GP on 5 April also in doubt

The Chinese Grand Prix is expected to be postponed after the outbreak of the coronavirus. There is a possibility that the race, which is due to take place in Shanghai on 19 April, could be rescheduled for later in the season but it is unlikely. The health threat has also raised doubts about the feasibility of the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix which is set to take place on 5 April.

Related: Ferrari unveil new car with F1 teams set to agree more equitable revenue deal

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All 10 F1 teams set to be on grid in 2021 as negotiations progress

• Senior team members confident a new deal will be struck
• New deal will look to address financial inequalities on the grid

All 10 teams currently in Formula One look set to remain on the grid for 2021 with senior team members confident a new deal will be struck.

The Concorde agreement between F1, the FIA and the teams concludes at the end of this year. Negotiations on a new deal are ongoing but the McLaren chief executive officer, Zak Brown, considers that one of the most contested issues – the fairer distribution of revenue – has been addressed to broad agreement.

Related: Toto Wolff will ‘give 100%’ to keep Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Toto Wolff confident Lewis Hamilton will remain at Mercedes past 2020

• ‘It is the obvious pairing,’ says Mercedes team principal
• Wolff dismisses reports Daimler is considering leaving F1

The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has insisted that Lewis Hamilton staying with the team beyond the end of this season is “the obvious pairing”.

The six-times world champion has been linked with a possible move to Ferrari at the end of the year but Wolff believes he would be inclined to continue with his hugely successful partnership with Mercedes.

Related: F1 risks sportswashing boost with Saudi Arabia GP, says human rights group

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F1 risks sportswashing boost with Saudi Arabia GP, says human rights group

• Track near Riyadh could be ready to host race in 2023
• Human Rights Watch urges F1 to consider its position

Plans to stage a Formula One grand prix in Saudi Arabia would serve only to further the gulf state’s process of “sportswashing” and help legitimise the country’s repressive regime, according to Human Rights Watch.

Proposals for a new Qiddiya circuit outside the capital Riyadh were unveiled in recent weeks and the track could be ready to host a race in 2023. F1 is in talks with Saudi Arabia but will not make any comment on the proposed race. That the track, designed by the former F1 driver Alex Wurz to FIA Grade 1 standards, is being built suggests that a deal is not far off.

Related: Aston Martin to enter F1 from 2021 under £500m rescue deal

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Lewis Hamilton and Schumacher share a rare ability, says Ross Brawn

• ‘Those moments when they pull something out of nowhere’
• Briton one away from equalling record of seven world titles

Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton would deserve to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles should the British driver take the championship this season. Formula One’s sporting director considers both drivers to be exceptional but that their skills differ because the sport has changed since the German’s era.

Brawn, who has also been fundamental in shaping the form F1 will take, also insisted that an overdue restructuring of governance would take place next year.

Related: Six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton is the best driver I have seen | Johnny Herbert

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