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No frustration for Toro Rosso over Renault F1 engine deficit

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Toro Rosso Formula 1 chief Franz Tost says there is no frustration over the power deficit of the Renault engine used by the team, citing confidence in the French manufacturer to make gains in the coming races.

Toro Rosso’s weakest area through 2016 was power after it opted to use Ferrari’s 2015-spec engines, meaning development was frozen for the entire year.

With relations between parent team Red Bull and Renault once again cordial, Toro Rosso moved back to a current-year supply for 2017, only to for there to be a power deficit compared to the Ferrari and Mercedes power units.

Toro Rosso currently sits fifth in the F1 constructors’ championship, with Carlos Sainz Jr. scoring its best result of the season so far last time out in Monaco, finishing sixth.

Renault has promised engine updates will arrive in the next few races, and Tost is pleased with the progress that is being made, even if it is gradual.

“Renault is making some small steps,” Tost said. “First of all, they have to get everything under control from the reliability side. We must not forget that Renault came up with a completely new design of an engine and this takes time.

“We all know that the power unit now is very very complicated and I’m convinced that within the second half of the season they will provide us with a very good, powerful engine. I must say that so far we are quite happy with the performance with Renault.”

While Red Bull remains frustrated by the performance of its power unit as it looks to gain ground on rivals Ferrari and Mercedes, Tost said Toro Rosso remains relaxed, particularly in light of its struggles in 2016.

“There’s no frustration. It always depends where you are coming from,” Tost said.

“Last year we had a one year-old engine and now we are even happy to have this year’s engine and as I just mentioned before, I’m convinced that Renault will do the steps forward which they promised.”

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).