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‘Unpopular’ F1 shark fins set to be addressed despite support from teams

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Formula 1’s sporting managing director Ross Brawn says he plans to address the ‘shark fins’ that have appeared on cars ahead of the 2017 season despite teams backing their usage.

Barcelona hosted F1’s first collective test running in 2017 earlier this week as teams got a chance to complete laps with their new-look cars following an overhaul of the technical regulations.

One consequence of the technical changes has been the appearance of shark fin engine covers, which have been met with a negative response from fans, but Brawn is looking to address them.

“As always with new regulations, there are a few little hiccups,” Brawn told the official F1 app.

“We’ve got the unpopular shark fin on the back. I think in time we need to address those.

“Part of the objective of the new rules was to make more exciting-looking cars. We don’t want to spoil it with peripheral bits that take away from that.

“But that’s normal with new regs.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed in Barcelona that he was pushing to ban shark fins when the new regulations were discussed last year, only for the majority of teams to support their usage.

“I think the cars look fantastic, the only thing that lets them down is the shark fins, proportionally,” Horner told reporters.

“It’s something that we raised at a Formula 1 Strategy Group meeting last year, to ask that all teams remove them because it is pretty marginal the performance gain that they offer.

“In the interest of aesthetics it was requested that they be removed. That went to the Formula 1 Commission and unfortunately was immediately rejected by the majority of teams.

“Hopefully it’s something that can be addressed for next year because I think the cars look great, it’s just a shame that this shark fin has crept in again through another loophole in the regulations.”

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.