Motorsport News 101 | Your weekly digest from the motorsport world
Last week was a sensation and was of historical significance in the world of motorsport. We saw cars flying in Finland as WRC celebrated the 70th year of its historical event. Elfyn Evans came victorious at Finland after a solid drive over the bumps and crests of the narrow WRC track. Speaking of bumps, Marc Marquez took a dominant victory at the Americas MotoGP and displayed a form that we are used to seeing before his accident in 2020. The uneven Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was not well taken by the grid but that didn’t hamper as he led the race from start to the finish. Now that we are on the topic of tracks, F1 has approved the Losail International Circuit, Qatar to be a part of its 2021 calendar. We also have some technical news in line as F1 changes it’s engine regulation in an attempt to pull in Porsche and Audi in the Formula 1 world. It’s tougher that it might sound as the FIA needs to make these changes with the future in mind and also with the approval of the rest of the current engine manufacturers in F1. Finally, Bubba Wallace made history at NASCAR as he became the first African-American to win a NASCAR event in nearly 60 years. So with all that said, let’s get a better picture of these events as they underwent last week.
1. Marc Marquez wins MotoGP COTA
Marc Marquez winning a race dominantly is not uncommon to hear if you're a MotoGP fan. But after his horrific 2020 accident in Jerez, Marquez had to walk a long and painful road to recovery which is far from over. But the glimpses of his recovery and old form is showing in glimpses as he won at the Circuit of the Americas with a dominant finish over the rest of the group.
Marquez started the race from P3 on the grid, made his way to be the race leader in the very first turn and also the rest of the riders could only watch him inch away lap after lap. Championship leader Fabio Quartararo, tried to stay with Marquez for a few laps, but quickly saw the bigger picture and decided to pick up valuable points to seal the 2021 championship as soon as possible.
This victory makes two victories for Marc Marquez in the 2021 season and the only two victories that Honda has this year as well. As Honda gets their ace back in action, they have decided to all guns blazing for the 2022 season. And of course, Marquez will lay it all on the line in the remaining three races in the MotoGP calendar.
2. Elfyn Evans keeps championship fight alive after winning WRC Finland
WRC took to the forest clad circuit in Finland and Elfyn Evans a near perfect race after competitors around made mistakes and got caught up in accidents over the course. Evans was under severe pressure from Ott Tanak in the final two stages, but the Brit held his nerve to win the race and became the second Brit to win at Finland since Kris Meeke’s win in 2016.
Kalle Rovanpera has to wait yet another year to prove his metal in Finland after the rookie sensation crashed his car in a pile of rubble in a narrow technical section on Saturday. Since then, Rovanpera was out of contention for winning the race.
At the same time, it took Sebastian Ogier nearly two days to set his car up for the track of Finland and that landed him fifth in the race, allowing Evans to keep the door open for the championship. With Rally Spain and Monza left on the calendar, Evans has an uphill battle if he wants to win the 2021 WRC championship.
3. F1 makes substantial progress on 2026 engine regulation
Formula 1 has ten teams in the current 2021 championship in which there are only four engine manufacturers ie. Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault. These companies are stand alone teams themselves and supply to the rest of the teams.
But FIA and Liberty Media are on a push to involve Audi and Porsche as engine manufacturers to the 2026 F1 world in an attempt to spice up the ‘formula’ that makes F1 the pinnacle of motorsport on the planet.
The regulations for now state that the MGU-H or the ‘exhaust gas spinning turbocharger’ element will be completely removed from the engine and will move towards sustainable fuel for 2026. The battery power will be increased in capacity as well and this engine architecture aligns with the future of transportation as well.
So, all the teams have agreed to the regulations and the vision brought on board by the FIA and this has attracted the Volkswagen Group to F1. Audi and Porsche will enter F1 and these regulations have put the merger in motion.
4. F1 to keep Losail International Circuit for 2021 and beyond
President of Qatar Motor Abdulrahman Al-Mannai and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali have agreed on a 10 year contract which is set for the inauguration later this year. The Losail circuit is famously known for its presence in the MotoGP world, and now the circuit has met the safety standards of Formula 1 and therefore, enters the F1 calendar.
The circuit is 3.4kms long with 16 corners which are mostly right angles coupled with a few lethal hairpins. Races occur at night which is a common aspect of the races held in the Middle East and this allows us to enjoy yet another night race.
In the entire grid only Sergio Perez has the experience of driving on that circuit and it will be fun to see if Red Bull has an upper hand on the track as they are heavily involved in the MotoGP world as well. The race is set for November 21 and is going to be the first of the triple headers in the F1 calendar finale.
5. Bubba Wallace makes history by winning NASCAR Talladega Cup race
The other thing to come out from the land of the Americas is Bubba Wallace’s victory in the rain-shortened Talladega Cup race in NASCAR. This also marked the victory of an African-American driver in the world of NASCAR since Wendell Scott in 1963.
The race was shortened after it was affected by rain. The 188-lap race was called off on the 117th lap after a stoppage and a futile attempt to dry the track. With the Bubba Wallace was declared the winner of the race and also marked his first ever victory in NASCAR.
In a world that is plagued with racial bias and discrimination Wallace’s victory is celebration of diversity and openness in the beautiful world of Motorsport.
With all that we look at the coming week which has the F1 Turkish GP ready for us along with DTM’s season finale at the Norisring, both on October 10. For more news and coverage from the motorsport world, stay tuned to evo India!