The F1 champ is crowned on NBCSN from Abu Dhabi this weekend

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The 2014 Formula One Drivers’ Championship will be decided this Sunday at 8 a.m. ET on NBCSN, as Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle to see who will win the F1 title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Race coverage begins with a special 60-minute edition of F1 Countdown, NBCSN’s F1 pre-race show, Sunday at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will provide streaming coverage of all practices, qualifying, and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton currently leads Rosberg by 17 points heading into this Sunday’s season finale, following Rosberg’s victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Nov. 9 to narrow his deficit in the standings. The two Mercedes drivers have jockeyed back and forth at the top of the F1 Drivers’ Championship standings all season long, combining to win 15 of 18 races.

This Sunday’s race at Abu Dhabi is worth double points, allowing Rosberg a chance of coming from behind to win his first career F1 title. Hamilton looks to win his second career title after taking the championship in 2008 with McLaren.

  • Hamilton will win the championship by finishing ahead of Rosberg. There are also a number of scenarios in which he can win if he finishes behind Rosberg (see chart below).
  • In order for Rosberg to win the title, he must finish ahead of Hamilton by multiple positions in all scenarios.

Following is a chart outlining the champion based on a number of scenarios:

2014 F1 TITLE POSSIBILITIES
If Rosberg Finishes … And Hamilton Finishes … The Champion Is…
Behind Hamilton Ahead of Rosberg Hamilton
In 1st Place 2nd Place Hamilton
In 1st Place In 3rd Place or Worse Rosberg
In 2nd Place In 6th Place or Worse Rosberg
In 3rd Place In 7th Place or Worse Rosberg
In 4th Place In 9th Place or Worse Rosberg
In 5th Place In 10th Place or Worse Rosberg
In 6th Place or Worse N/A Hamilton
2014 F1 DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP OVERALL STANDINGS
Pos. Driver Team Points Wins
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 334 10
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 317 5
3 Daniel Ricciardo* Red Bull Racing-Renault 214 3
4 Sebastian Vettel* Red Bull Racing-Renault 159 0
5 Fernando Alonso* Ferrari 157 0

*Eliminated from championship contention

Coverage begins tomorrow at 4 a.m. ET with Practice 1 exclusively on NBC Sports Live Extra, followed by Practice 2 at 8 a.m. ETon NBCSN. Live Extra will provide exclusive live coverage of Practice 3 on Saturday at 5 a.m. ET, and NBCSN will present live qualifying at 8 a.m. ET on Saturday.

NBCSN’s coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix begins Sunday at 7 a.m. ET with F1 Countdown, followed by the race at 8 a.m. ET. NBCSN will also present complete post-race coverage on F1 Extra at 10 a.m. ET, and air an encore presentation of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at 2 p.m. ET.

Lead F1 announcer Leigh Diffey will call the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and will be joined by veteran analyst and former race car driver David Hobbs, and analyst and former race mechanic for the Benetton F1 team Steve Matchett. F1 insider Will Buxton will serve as the team’s on-site reporter from Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Motorsports Coverage This Week on NBCSN & NBC Sports Live Extra (subject to change):

Date Program Time (ET) Network
Thurs., November 20 NASCAR AMERICA 5 p.m. NBCSN
Road To Ferrari (Encore) 7 p.m. NBCSN
Road To Mercedes (Encore) 8 p.m. NBCSN
Off The Grid: Budapest 9 p.m. NBCSN
Off The Grid: Singapore 9:30 p.m. NBCSN
Fri., November 21 Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Series 12:30 a.m. NBCSN
Global RallyCross Las Vegas (Encore) 1:30 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Practice 1 4 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Practice 2 8 a.m. NBCSN
Sat., November 22 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Practice 3 5 a.m. NBC Sports Live Extra
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying 8 a.m. NBCSN
Sun., November 23 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying (Encore) 1 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Countdown 7 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 8 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra 10 a.m. NBCSN
F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Encore) 2 p.m. NBCSN
F1 Extra (Encore) 4:30 p.m. NBCSN

NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E and Ian James set to race ahead of electric motorsports’ curve

James McLaren Formula E
NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team
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As Formula E enters their ninth season and McLaren Racing is set to compete in last year’s championship winning car, Ian James is passionate about pushing electric motorsports forward at a critical stage as race technology begins surpassing that of the street cars.

Midseason, McLaren acquired the assets of the Mercedes-EQ team as they were already on their way to winning a second consecutive championship. With those assets in place and coming off a successful debut in the Extreme E series, James is set to usher in a new era in electric car racing.

Last week’s announcement that Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast behind the wheel of the NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team was the last piece of the puzzle.

McLaren’s electric portfolio is building with the Formula E team coming one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour. There were a lot of lessons to learn in that series with growing pains during the first three of five rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 were a completely different matter with the team crossing the finish line first in Chile before being assessed a time penalty.

In the final round in Uruguay, they scored an elusive podium.

“McLaren kicked off the season in Extreme E at the beginning of this year, so our first [electric] race took place Neom, actually out in Saudi,” NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team Principal James told NBC Sports. “At the time, we were in very early discussions about opportunities with the Formula E team. I actually went out there to meet with Zak [Brown, CEO McLaren Racing] and that was my first taste of Extreme E.

“Since the transition, I joined them in Chile in Atacama Desert, and then Uruguay last weekend. [The second-place finish was] a lovely way to round out the season. The fact that they got that podium. It was very well deserved. It’s a great team and a great series actually. It’s just so very different from anything else. The team’s done a great job in getting set up, and it’s nice now to, we’re trying to use that momentum that we’ve got from Uruguay to get us into next season when it kicks off next year, which will be great. I think we’re mid-March is looking like the first race, so a little bit of time to get things prepped for that.”

 

James McLaren Formula E
The NEOM Mclaren Racing Formula E Team was created through the acquisition of last year’s championship team from Mercedes-EQ. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Synergies exist between the single seater and rally series. Lessons learned about battery power and sustainability in the electric SUV carry over so long as one is mindful of keeping focus on the individual needs and nuances of each series.

Especially now that electric racing technology has caught up, and is ready to surpass, the existing technology that has gone into building street cars.

When internal combustion engines gained the upper hand soon after automobiles were invented, racing paced alongside. The pressure of competition pushed the development of their commercial equivalents. The same has not necessarily been true of electric cars. Street cars were not designed to undergo the same stress as racecars – and that vulnerability showed up on the racetrack.

“Formula E has come along a long way,” James said. “I think one of the most notable developments is in the battery technology. In Gen 1, you had the drivers jumping from one car to another car midrace because the battery technology and capacity simply wasn’t where it needed to be to do the full distance. That obviously changed in Gen 2 and we saw a power increase as well to the 250 kilowatts.

“Now going to Gen 3, we have 350 kilowatts in a smaller battery. But that means that we’re relying on the regeneration of energy and for that reason, we’ve got also the opportunity to regenerate on the front axle as well as the rear axle now. So, there’s all sorts of things that are developing in the right direction.

“In terms of throttle response, actually, we’re now in a situation with electric racing and the motors that it’s instantaneous. And one of the advantages of electric over combustion engine is that the torque is instantaneous as well, so that gives you a lot more room to play with.”

No matter the power source, racing has always been about resource management. Drivers and teams select tire strategies they believe produce the fastest elapsed time and fuel conservation comes into play.

On one hand, electric racing is the same, but there is a critical difference. With the battery as both the power source and an integral part of the engine, there are multiple reasons to manage it.

In electric racing, the brain of the car is the software – and that is where James sees the greatest room for advancement.

“As we are working with our drivers and engineers – and start to look at functionality to improve our efficiency and our performance, that’s something we’ll continue to push because that development is open throughout the season,” James said. “That’s going to be our focus going forward and provides enough of a challenge for us to get our teeth into.

“What’s going to be fascinating is as Formula E continues, is to really look at which areas of development on the car are going to be the most relevant and ensuring that we can focus on those together with the manufacturers so we continue and use the series as a platform for technical development that can then feed back into the road car side of things as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what motorsports always been, a very powerful tool for, and I see Formula E as no exception.”

James McLaren Formula E
Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were chosen for their ability to drive fast and execute the necessary strategy for energy management. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Selecting Rast and Hughes as McLaren’s Formula E drivers was not simply because they know how to drive fast. James believes both drivers have the mental aptitude to execute energy management strategies throughout the race and squeeze maximum performance.

“As with many other motorsports, you’ve got a certain amount of energy that you’re able to deploy during the race and the management of that energy is absolutely crucial,” James said. “What we’re seeing typically in electric motorsports now is the hardware side of things. The efficiencies that we’re seeing in the powertrain as a whole, they’re getting up to the sort of 96%, 97%, 98% efficiency, so the gains that you get through that further and further become more marginal.”

With much more room for improvement, software is a different matter. To make the best decisions, the drivers need data, and that is where James believes McLaren Formula E will make their greatest impact.

“And then you really switch that focus to the software and that’s where you’re going to see the most the most improvement and the most gains,” James continued. “It’s then using that software to ensure that you’re deploying the energy in the most efficient manner during race, and thereby giving the driver the most performance. And that’s something which is incredibly complicated, but I find it a fascinating area to work in.

“The benefit of being involved in racing is you can really push the envelope in a way that you can’t do on road cars. And I think that that’s where that value comes in. It means that you accelerate the development a lot quicker. We will get ahead of the curve – and we are getting ahead of the curve now – and that will mean that the electric motorsports remain part of the overall development process.

“The key to that is also making sure that the racing’s exciting and fun for the fans. If we can, we can tick both of those boxes, then it’s got a very bright future ahead of it.”