27 Sep 2019

Stumbling to glory, big names go electric and all to play for as BTCC hits Silverstone

Stumbling to glory, big names go electric and all to play for as BTCC hits Silverstone

Mercedes stumbling over the line?

'Thank goodness for 10 race wins out of 12 in the first half of the season, eh? Lucky Ferrari and Red Bull were way off the pace prior to the summer break.' You don't need a penny for the thoughts of Mercedes chief Toto Wolff this week – they will no doubt be along those lines.

For his team are now stumbling towards their sixth consecutive constructors' and drivers' titles, following rather out of character performances either side of the off-season. They are currently a shadow of the team that tore up the first half of 2019.

Driver errors, baffling strategy calls, missed opportunities and the loss of their superior pace has put the Silver Arrows under the microscope these last few weeks. What has happened, and why?

In fact, Lewis Hamilton's victory in Hungary aside, the problems stem as far back as July's German Grand Prix – one of the worst weekends in the perennial winners' recent history.

They'll get their championships again come November. Of that there is no doubt. Hamilton is 96 points clear of his nearest external rival, with just 156 still available. Only a miracle will deny them.

But that is not the point of Mercedes. They don't come to down tools and rest on laurels; they come to be ruthless and totally dominant.

Hence the surprise at their end-of-summer dip, the latest chapter coming in Singapore last weekend as not only Ferrari, but Red Bull, edged them out on a circuit that was supposed to favour them.

All of a sudden, the pressure is on them. Streets ahead of their rivals in the standings with further honours to come their way, yet people are now beginning to ask questions. Funny old sport, isn't it?

Removing the red from the top step of the podium is now the short-term aim. Giving their rivals momentum heading into 2020 and stumbling over the line as champions is something Wolff and his superiors will not allow.

Adrian NeweyCredit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The big 'E'

Whoever said electric motorsport wouldn't catch on?

After a relatively successful first half-decade for Formula E, 'Extreme E' is now the next class on the agenda for 2021 – and it's already going big.

Late last week, it was confirmed Adrian Newey – technical design mastermind behind multiple Williams, McLaren and Red Bull F1 titles – would be joining the revolution as lead visionary of one of the teams.

Extreme E will take electric racing to some of the most remote corners of the planet to highlight the climate change challenges faced by different ecosystems, showcasing the performance of all-electric SUVs in extreme conditions.

Twelve teams will do battle in the desert, the Arctic, the rainforest, the Himalayas and on an island in the Indian Ocean.

And those who have dabbled in Formula E already are coming for more, with Venturi, ABT, and HWA joining Newey's Veloce outfit on the entry list, while two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Eric Vergne is another big-name signing.

Williams development driver and maiden W Series winner Jamie Chadwick has also been recruited, alongside serial WRC champion Sebastian Ogier, seven-time world rallycross winner Andreas Bakkerud and Lucas di Grassi – another Formula E Champion.

The big names are joining. The series’ goals appeal to everyone. E-racing is here to stay. 


Three-way BTCC fight reaches penultimate stage

The British Touring Car Championship heads to Silverstone this weekend for the penultimate round of the 2019 title race.

Colin Turkington, Andrew Jordan and Dan Cammish will fight it out once again in an attempt to tee themselves up for glory come the final stage at Brands Hatch next month.

Three-time champion Turkington leads the way with 268 points in the drivers' standings, with Jordan 10 points behind and Cammish a point further back, in third. 

Jordan does have title-winning credentials, from 2013, and is not to be ruled out, while Cammish is gunning for his maiden crown.

It's tight, the pressure is on and it looks like it'll be going down to the wire. Silverstone is definitely the event to watch this weekend.

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