Verstappen doubts Red Bull can keep up with Mercedes, Ferrari at Spa


Max Verstappen doubts Red Bull will be able to keep up with Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari across the course of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix despite an impressive showing in practice on Friday afternoon.

Verstappen finished fourth in FP2 for Red Bull, lapping just four-tenths of a second slower than pace-setter Lewis Hamilton and beating current championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

The result gave Red Bull some hope that it may be able to take the fight to the leading teams at Spa, but Verstappen is staying grounded, believing his rivals will move up a gear on Saturday for qualifying.

“An OK first day back here at Spa but nothing special. Between Daniel [Ricciardo] and myself we tried a few setups to improve speed on the straights, it’s somewhere we need to improve in order to fight so we are trying to find a good compromise,” Verstappen said.

“At the moment we don’t seem too far off the two top teams but it is only Friday, I’m sure it will be a different gap tomorrow. It’s hard here to find the setup to be competitive on the straights but also balanced in the corners, we will make some steps in the right direction tonight, hopefully.

“In the dry I think we will be the solid third team like we have seen so far this season. Although it’s raining at the moment I don’t think there is much more forecast. This is a shame as it would definitely help us; fingers crossed we get a bit more for the race.”

Verstappen is racing in front of a sizeable crowd of fans from his native Netherlands at Spa, something he is already excited by.

“There is already a lot of orange to be seen in the crowd and it’s only Friday,” Verstappen said.

“I’m expecting to see a lot more tomorrow and Sunday which is really great and nice to see so many fans supporting me.

“It always helps come race day.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.