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today is Jan 23, 2022

In the round-up: Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James says the team’s imminent departure from Formula E must not be a distraction from their defence of the titles they won last year.

In brief

Mercedes Formula E team must not be “distracted” by manufacturer departure

After winning the constructors’ title and taking Nyck de Vries to the drivers’ championship last year, Mercedes has one season left in Formula E before it departs.

Speaking to RaceFans, James acknowledge the manufacturer’s exit was “not, obviously, the decision that we were hoping for from a Mercedes perspective” but said his team’s focus is “absolutely 100 per cent on defending those” title.

“I think that the initial disappointment was actually pretty short-lived,” said James of the team’s reaction to Mercedes’ decision to leave. “The team itself is fully focused on season eight and season eight alone and the same to defending these titles.”

With the factory effort due to wind down at the end of the 2021-22 season, the team is conscious of its duty of care towards staff’s futures. “Obviously, from my own perspective, it’s split between getting things ready for season eight and making sure that we’re match fit for the staff,” said James. “But at the same time, with one eye on the future and making sure that we’ve got that well structured as well.”

The 2022 Formula E season will begin with two races in Riyadh on January 28th and 29th.

Alpine facing “most important winter”

The off-season break is especially crucial for Alpine this year due to the introduction of the budget cap last year and the revised technical regulations for 2022, according to the team’s executive director Marcin Budkowski.

“It’s probably the most important winter for this team since Renault came back because it’s the first car we’re designing under the cost cap,” said Budkowski, who sees the upcoming season as a vital opportunity for them to close on their competitors.

“We’re not on the cap, we’re below so it’s actually not impacting us, but it’s impacting our competitors. So in relative terms, it gives us a better platform, a better position. It’s a new reset, some areas of the teams that are working a lot better and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do.”

F1 teams and W Series among Virtual Le Mans entrants

Entries for the 2021 Virtual Le Mans, running on January 15th and 16th, have been announced, with several F1 teams’ esports outfits among the list. Alpine, Ferrari Driver Academy, Williams, Mercedes and Red Bull will enter teams for the 24 hour virtual event and W Series has announced it will make its first foray into esports (outside its own virtual 2020 championship) with an entry in the GTE category.

Romain Grosjean’s R8G esports team will also compete, as well as the Abu Dhabi circuit-based Yas Heat.

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On this day in motorsport

  • 60 years ago today Stirling Moss won the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore in his Lotus 21 despite starting from the back, because he arrived late, and the race being cut from 75 laps to 50 due to heavy rain