Lewis Hamilton
AP

Could Brexit be Mercedes’ biggest F1 hindrance this season?

Leave a comment

MONTMELO, Spain — Mercedes seeks its sixth consecutive Formula One title this season. But an off-track issue could derail that.

The looming possibility of a chaotic rupture of the United Kingdom from the European Union that would be most problematic, as far as boss Toto Wolff is concerned.

“That is a nightmare scenario that I don’t want to even envisage,” Wolff said on Monday, the opening day of preseason testing near Barcelona.

“If a no-deal Brexit would happen like has been discussed, I think we would have a major impact in terms of our operations going to the races and getting our cars developed and ready.”

Last month, the British Parliament voted down the deal Prime Minister Theresa May had initially reached with the other 27 members of the EU.

The clock is ticking toward March 29, when the U.K. is due to leave the bloc with or without a deal. That will come with F1 teams preparing for the second grand prix of the season in Bahrain on March 31.

What a divorce would mean without negotiated terms to handle the legal and commercial implication is hard to predict, but most agree there would be a risk for considerable disruption to trade and the legal status of foreigners.

Besides Mercedes, which has its factory 70 miles northwest of London, the Red Bull, Renault, Williams, McLaren and Racing Point teams also have facilities in the U.K.

Wolff fears that an ugly Brexit will give an advantage to those teams based on the European continent. That would mean Ferrari, Mercedes’ biggest challenger in recent years, but it also includes the other Italian team, Toro Rosso; Haas, based in the United States; and Switzerland-based Alfa Romeo.

“Brexit is a major concern for us, and it should be a major concern for all of us who live in the U.K. and operate out of the U.K.,” Wolff said.

He fears the disruption affecting not just the movement of teams, but also the shipping and delivering of car parts and Mercedes’ staff, which has 26 different nationalities represented.

“The way we are getting parts and services is just in time, at the last minute, into the U.K., and any major disruption in borders and taxes would massively damage the Formula 1 industry in the U.K.,” Wolff said. “We have a fantastic access to talent today in the U.K. Formula One has grown. What Silicon Valley is to the U.S., Formula One is to the U.K., and at the moment, there is a risk whether the U.K. can stay as a competitive location as it is today.”

Red Bull team principal Chris Horner is also concerned, but believes that the industry will adjust.

“You can paint a doomsday scenario of Brexit or you can actually maybe see how much it will affect our daily life,” Horner said. “Whether there is no deal, any deal, we will have to deal with it.”

Dean Wilson out for rest of Supercross season

SupercrossLIVE.com
Leave a comment

“Such a massive gut punch on Saturday,” Dean Wilson wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye.”

With that post, Wilson announced that he will be out for the remainder of the Supercross season, which includes races at East Rutherford, N.J. and Las Vegas, Nev. An MRI earlier in the week revealed a shoulder injury. He also sustained damage to his kidney in a Lap 8 accident while he was running in the top 10.

Wilson’s injuries will not require surgery.

Wilson’s season began with a lot of promise. Earning the holeshot in the season-opening race at Anaheim, Wilson led for a time before narrowly missing the podium in fourth.

Two weeks later, Wilson finished fifth overall in the Triple Crown event of Anaheim II. Those are his only top-fives of the season.

“The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year,” Wilson continued.

View this post on Instagram

Such a massive gut punch on Saturday. Just as I was gaining good momentum riding well, feeling good and chasing my first win things turned in the blink of an eye. Started off Denver topping free practice then went on to qualify P1 in qualifier 1. Qualifier 2 didn’t get the cleanest laps but ended with a 4th. On to the main event I was running around 7th on lap 7 moving forward and as I came around for the rhythm section I tripled in and something freak happened causing the bike to nose dive after I tripled in and pile driving me into the ground. The tough part of this is I have been trying so hard this year to be back where I need to be trying to get a job for next year. It’s tough just hoping to have a ride each year. 2nd part is people saying “wilson’s hurt again, big surprise there” when it was something that wasn’t my fault. It’s a tough pill To swallow.. I injured my shoulder and got a contusion on my kidneys. Got MRI and good news is I dodged a bullet on my shoulder and I am just going to give it a few weeks of rest and therapy and see where we are at. Huge disappointment to end my SX season like this. Thanks to my whole team for everything and everybody checking in on me. I really appreciate it. I will be back.

A post shared by D E A N O (@deanwilson15) on

Next Race: East Rutherford April. 27, on NBCSN and on NBC Sports Gold

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter