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Williams’ woes: Former F1 glories far away for British team

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SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — It has been 21 years since Williams claimed the last of its nine constructors’ championships, and a return to Formula One glory days seems just as far away for the British team.

Williams is last so far this season with just four points from nine races after rookie Lance Stroll’s surprise eighth-place finish in Azerbaijan. It continues a downward trend after finishing ninth, eighth and ninth in the last three seasons.

“It’s heart-breaking and it’s a little bit soul-destroying,” deputy team principal Claire Harris said on Friday of the team’s decline. “This is mostly my family’s team and it’s been within our family for four decades now.”

Only Ferrari, with 16, has won more constructors’ championships than the team founded by Harris’ father, Frank Williams, in 1977.

Alan Jones of Australia and Carlos Reutemann of Argentina won the first in 1980 and second the following year. But it was in the 1990s that Williams enjoyed its hey-day, crowned when Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen claimed the second of back-to-back titles in 1997.

Nobody in the team suspected at the time that it would be the last. Ferrari dominated over the decade that followed, then Red Bull and Mercedes took charge.

Harris, who took over her role with the team in 2013, pointed to third-place finishes in 2013-14 and fifth-place finishes in 2015-16 as encouraging signs, though she was at a loss to explain the team’s current predicament.

“We must look at this as just a trough,” she said. “Every team in any sport goes through those moments. Personally, it’s incredibly difficult to see the team go through this.”

The 19-year-old Stroll, a former Ferrari Driver Academy member, and the 22-year-old Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin, who replaced the retiring Felipe Massa, have both been struggling with the car, which has proved even worse than last year’s.

“The teams that were weaker than us last year have suddenly catapulted ahead of us, and they’ve made great in-roads for a number of reasons,” Harris said.

She added the challenges facing the team are greater now than they were before, in part due to the consistently poor results.

“This situation in which we find ourselves is going to have ramifications for us financially. Not least the prize-fund money we’ll receive for taking home 10th place will be considerably less,” Harris said. “We lose Martini as our title partner at the end of this year. As much as we were expecting that and can budget for it, it still leaves a hole.”

Despite the difficulties, Williams is working on rebuilding and recovery.

“It’s not easy but we’ve got some very clever people working within that realm at the moment . doing everything they can to make sure we have a strong and healthy budget to go racing and compete successfully next year – but it’s not an easy world at Williams at the moment,” Harris said.

Williams is competing in its home race at the British Grand Prix this weekend.

“Coming here and being here yesterday has been a really nice boost for everybody and for me in particular,” said Harris, who married her partner Marc Harris in January. “You get to see all our great fans, who do still support us through these difficult times. . Hopefully we will do a better job for our fans this weekend.”

Adam Cianciarulo serves notice with Monster Energy Cup win

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In his debut on a 450 Kawasaki, Adam Cianciarulo held off teammate Eli Tomac in a hotly contested final Main to win the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium: One race; one win.

“My first thought was, ‘what I life I get to live,’ ” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “That whole race I knew (Eli) was behind me. We had a gap and I knew it was going to come down to the Joker Lane.”

For Cianciarulo, it was all about managing pressure. He earned the holeshot in the first and final Mains. In the first race, he lost his bike and the lead under the bridge. In the final Main, he withstood a fierce charge for 10 laps from one of the best riders ever in Supercross.

Tomac stalked Cianciarulo for eight laps. At one point, he made the pass, but Cianciarulo expertly executed a crossover move and retook the point in the same corner. Tomac knew he was going to have to change things up if he wanted to make a pass for the lead and the overall win.

“Going into the Joker, I couldn’t really ever make the pass stick, so I thought let me get in this thing a lap early and see if I can make the speed up on the track,” Tomac said after the race.

He had a reason to believe it would turn out in his favor because he used the tactic in the second Main and made up four spots on the track – advancing from seventh to fourth.

“Just the opportunity to race with Eli,” Cianciarulo continued from Victory Lane. “You know, he’s accomplished so much and just to be out there on the track with him. I’m just stoked to be out there with him.”

Cianciarulo would have been forgiven if he thought Las Vegas owed him something. Entering the Supercross season finale this year, he only needed a clean finish to win the 250 West championship. He crashed and handed the win over to Dylan Ferrandis, but instead of allowing that to frustrate him, Cianciarulo used it as motivation.

“(Winning this race) is a little bit of redemption, but to be honest with you I look at (the accident in) Vegas now after winning the outdoor motocross championship as something that helped me get there,” Cianciarulo said. “It’s helped me grow.”

With his overall win, Cianciarulo pocketed a $100,000 check. The payday could have been $1 million if any rider had been able to win all three Mains. Instead, three Mains featured three different riders. Tomac won the first Main, Malcolm Stewart the second, and Cianciarulo the third.

Tomac stormed to the lead in the first Main and was slicing through the field in Main 2 before he flipped his bike on a bad landing. He fell from challenging for the lead to 10th. Ten laps does not allow a lot of time to make up for a mistake, but Tomac was able to make up significant time by taking the Joker Lane one lap before Cianciarulo and Stewart.

Malcolm Stewart finished third in his return to Supercross racing.

Stewart would win the second Main, completing a comeback nine months in the making. Early in the Supercross season, he crashed hard in Phoenix and broke his femur.

“I’ve been waiting nine months for all this; I’m just having fun out there.” Stewart said at the end of Main 2. “We’ve got another race to go and hopefully we’re on the top step, but if not, we’re already making dreams come true. I’ve already marked things off my checklist. It was just to win a Main Event.”

Entering the final Main Cianciarulo, Tomac, and Stewart were in a dead heat in regard to points. Cianciarulo finished second in the first two Mains, Tomac had a 1-3 with Stewart at a 3-1. The battle would be a “winner takes all” scenario.

How they finished in the final Main determined the overall result with Stewart finishing third in the race and overall standings.

Vince Friese had the ride of his life. With a 4-5-5, he finished fourth.

Friese was also trying to erase an injury-plagued season.

“I had a good (2019) season going,” Friese said. “I don’t think I got to show everything I had. It was frustrating getting hurt just a few races in and five months off the motorcycle is not fun, so I was hungry tonight.”

The World Champion Tim Gajser scored a 7-4-4 and rounded out the top five.

Dean Wilson crashed hard in the last lap of practice. He was transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Evan Ferry won the Supermini division on the strength of winning both Mains. Gavin Towers and Myles Gilmore rounded out the top three.

In 250 Futures, Jett Lawrence won both Mains and the overall. Jalek Swoll and Brock Papi rounded out the top three.

Main 1 Results
Main 2 Results
Main 3 Results
Overall Results

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