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Home   /   Life In The Fast Lane #10: Hamilton’s stand, Williams cut ties with ROKiT, new Rule changes pushed back
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Words by Tony Robertson (@TonyRob84)

Welcome back to Overtime Online’s weekly F1 column Life In The Fast Lane.

We’re in the final points-scoring week now with column number 10. Despite there being no Virtual Grand Prix to cover there’s still been some big developments which could have some huge ramifications for the future of Formula One.

Hamilton stands up:

Lewis Hamilton has moved the F1 community into action after criticising his “silent” peers regarding the state of affairs in the USA, saying: “I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you are the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice.

“Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white-dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone.”

Since his post on Instagram yesterday, a number of drivers have spoken out in support of the protests against racism and Police brutality, including Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell.

Hamilton is often a leader in the current crop of F1 drivers, previously speaking out about other issues including the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year and climate change, and once again he has proved why the sport needs personalities such as his.

Williams future under threat:

Williams has cut ties with title sponsor ROKiT and have said that they may sell a majority stake in the team as part of a “new strategic direction”.

The move comes after the announcement of their financial results for the year ending 2019, where Williams made a loss of £13 million down from the previous year where they made a profit of £16 million.

In terms of their sponsorship with ROKiT, Reddit user u/BenjyBunny broke down the finances saying: “At the balance sheet date (31 Dec 2019) an amount of $1m was owed by ROKiT and carried within trade debtors relating to the 2019 season.

“There is an additional £9m within both trade debtors and deferred income at 31 December 2019 relating to ROKit sponsorship of the 2020 season.”

This means that ROKiT paid the majority of their sponsorship in 2019 but had not paid a significant portion for 2020.

With the teams poor performance on track the last two years adding to this, there is a danger the Williams F1 team could cease to exist without an appropriate injection of cash into it.

Let’s hope this historic team can rebuild from here and return stronger than ever.

Zandvoort called off by organisers:

Zandvoort, aka the Dutch Grand Prix, will not be happening in 2020 the organisers have said.

“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,” said Jan Lammers, a former Formula One driver and the director of the Dutch Grand Prix.

Following the postponement of the Grand Prix earlier this year, there were hopes from the F1 hierarchy that a race could be held there later in the year with no crowd but those hopes have been dashed following this announcement. 

Max Verstappen will have to wait until 2021 though it’s probably for the best because the fans make the sport what it is.

Rule changes confirmed for next 3 years:

The new rules set to be implemented in F1 over the next few years including the new cost cap and new aero testing regulations have been confirmed by the FIA going into the next three years.

Starting with the cost cap set to be introduced in 2021, which is designed to reduce the financial disparity between the teams at the top and bottom of the field thus decreasing the gap, it has been reduced to $145m rather than the initially agreed $175m. This will continue to decrease year upon year going down to $140m in 2022 and $135m in 2023.

In addition to this new cost cap, there are some specific exclusions including team costs and allowing parts to be carried over from 2020 into 2021.

Next up is the new aerodynamics sliding scale. Teams at the back of the grid will also benefit from extra time developing their aerodynamics whereby the bottom place team will be able to do more than the base number of 40 runs and team in first more.

In 2021 the team in last will be able to do 112.5% of aero testing runs and the team in first 90%. This will be radically increased from 2022 until at least 2025 with the team in 10th being able to do 115% aero testing while the team in first will be able to do just 70%.

The third ‘change’ announced is that the current regulations will be largely frozen in order to avoid unnecessary costs. This freezing of parts will cover areas such as the chassis and the suspension but teams will still be allowed to work on some components including the wings and side pods.

NEW ERA PUSHED BACK:

Formula One is set to go through a massive change in the near future but due to the unforeseen circumstances which hit the sport this year and the likely long term repercussions of this, this new era of the sport has been pushed back to 2022.

The new era of racing will see the introduction of a brand new car design and paired with the new sliding scales mentioned earlier will likely bring back the competitiveness of old and exciting racing that we all want to see.

That just about concludes this weeks column.

You can check out last weeks column here.

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