Mattiacci denies making approach for Adrian Newey

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Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has denied making an approach for Red Bull designer Adrian Newey despite a number of recent stories suggesting otherwise.

Newey is widely recognized as being one of the greatest designers in the history of Formula 1, working with Williams and McLaren before making the move to Red Bull in 2006. Since 2009, the team has been one of the front-runners in Formula 1, winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships each year between 2010 and 2013, and much of the credit has been given to Newey.

Ferrari on the other hand, has entered something of a decline. The team has failed to win a championship since 2008, and spirited efforts from Fernando Alonso to win a world title have been hindered by the pace of the car, with 2010 and 2012 being examples of him coming close but just lacking the speed to beat Sebastian Vettel.

It was thought that Ferrari was willing to triple Newey’s salary to bring him to Maranello and hoist the team out of the doldrums, but the 55-year-old confirmed earlier this week that he was committed to Red Bull. Now, Mattiacci – who took over as team principal just over one month ago – has denied that he made an approach despite being tasked with turning Ferrari’s fortunes around.

“If I invite Adrian Newey to work at Ferrari? No,” Mattiacci said in yesterday’s press conference in Monaco.

However, he did admit that plans were being formulated in order to get Ferrari back to the front of the field, although he hinted that a complete overhaul was not on the cards.

“I would be extremely arrogant in saying that we already have a vision,” he explained. “Definitely we are having a picture, a quite accurate picture of the problems we have experience so far. It is clear the gap toward the leader of the championship. So we are clear what are going to be the next steps.

“I wouldn’t say vision, we know that we need to have a continuous improvement every race and that’s the way we are working. We have a lot of assets, as I have said, very positive people, drivers but definitely there is the need to improve dramatically.”

With Fernando Alonso also getting restless, it appears that time is of the essence for Mattiacci and Ferrari to cut the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull at the front.

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).