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Manor confirms switch to Mercedes power for 2016

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Manor Marussia Formula 1 Team has confirmed that it will switch to Mercedes power units for the 2016 season after the end of its deal with Ferrari.

Manor reached the grid in 2015 after emerging from the old Marussia F1 Team that collapsed towards the end of last season, and has been racing with 2014-spec Ferrari power units.

However, the team will use current-spec models in 2016 courtesy of Mercedes after the two parties agreed a multi-year deal that was announced on Thursday.

“Following the conclusion of a multi-year supply agreement, Manor Marussia F1 Team will race with Mercedes-Benz Hybrid power from the 2016 season onwards,” a statement confirmed. “Under the agreement, Manor Marussia F1 Team will be supplied with current-year Power Units throughout the term.”

Manor team principal John Booth was pleased to confirm the switch to Mercedes’ power, believing that this would only aid the team’s development at the back of the grid.

“I am delighted to announce our new Power Unit partnership with Mercedes-Benz for the 2016 season and beyond,” Booth said. “Although there were many factors governing our selection of an engine partner to help power us towards our long-term ambitions, ultimately the strength of the Mercedes-Benz package speaks for itself.

“2015 has been a rebuilding year in every aspect of our operation. Although we have not been able to make the incremental strides in competitiveness that the team has enjoyed in previous seasons, we have put in place a strong foundation from which to progress.

“Together with the potential we are seeing with our 2016 car in the wind tunnel, the Mercedes-Benz Power Unit will assist our return to aggressive performance development with effect from next season.”

Booth also confirmed that Manor will enjoy technical support from Williams in 2016 in the form of gearbox and suspension components.

“I am also pleased to announce that we will resume our prior technical partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, from whom we will receive the supply of transmission and suspension components,” Booth said.

“Combined with Mercedes-Benz Power Units, we are very excited about the strength of our new powertrain package and what it means for the long-term future of our team.”

As reported last week, Mercedes’ decision to power Manor comes in the wake of Renault’s decision to push through with its takeover of Lotus F1 Team, who had been powered by the German manufacturer in 2015.

“Mercedes-Benz has a clear Formula 1 philosophy based around our works Silver Arrows team and supplying benchmark Power Units to independent customer teams,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.

“We believe this approach provides Formula 1 with greater strength in depth and ensures a deeper level of competitiveness throughout the field. In anticipation of Renault’s takeover of the Lotus F1 Team, we are pleased to announce Manor Marussia as a new customer of Mercedes-Benz.

“It is a tenacious team with a fantastic competitive spirit, and we are all excited to see what step forward they can make next year with their new car coupled with the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid Power Unit.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).