The UFC is well into the resuming of its events after COVID-19 saw it bring a halt to fight nights. The latest promotion being touted by the UFC will see Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith being featured on the 29th of August for its Fight Night main event.
Originally, the card was scheduled to see Yair Rodriguez versus Zabit Magomedsharipov. However, Rodriguez dropped out of the fight after suffering an unspecified injury. Due to the limited notice, the UFC was unable to find a replacement and therefore cancelled the fight.
As Aleksandar Rakic and Anthony Smith were already scheduled to fight during the event, they were upgraded to the main event but will retain the same scheduled three-round bout. Anthony Smith’s last fight against Glover Teixeira resulted in a loss leaving him with only one win in his previous three bouts. Smith’s latest victory came against Alexander Gustafsson, and his other loss was to the current champion, Jon Jones.
Aleksandar Rakic is considered of the top prospects in the heavyweight division but fell short of earning a victory in his fight against Volkan Oezdemi during December’s UFC Busan. At 28, he has racked up a dozen back to back wins before the loss, and that included a first round knockout in December 2018 against Jimi Manuwa.
UFC 252 Update
The UFC Fight Night will take place in Las Vegas at the Apex and will feature welterweights Robbie Lawler taking on Neil Magny and featherweights Ricardo Lamas vs Ryan Hall. Sean O’Malley failed to retain his undefeated record while fighting Marlon Vera at UFC 252 after being knocked out in the first round.
Early in the fight, O’Malley seemed to injure his foot and battled to stay standing before being knocked out and taken out on a stretcher. O’Malley fell to the may early into the first round, and Vera unloaded a vicious series of elbow shots. While O-Malley wasn’t out for the count, he was visibly injured, and referee Herb Dean called an end to the bout.
O’Malley came out strong in the opening seconds of the fight and was able to keep Vera at bay. However, once Vera picked up on O’Malley’s injury, he took over and scored the win. Vera now has a 6-1 record, while O’Malley fell to 4-1.
Those that stand against the dominance & formidable skillsets of Lewis Hamilton were pleasantly surprised on August 9th when Max Verstappen stole the 1st place podium from the British Six-Time F1 Champion. This is a substantial loss for Lewis Hamilton, with Silverstone’s recent race being the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix for Formula One. This historic moment in motorsports is now owned by Max Verstappen, someone that wasn’t expected to become victorious.
Max Verstappen now stands as the single F1 Driver to have won a Grand Prix in 2020. It comes after a formidable strategy was implemented by Red Bull – Aston Martin Racing, which included starting the Grand Prix on the Hard Tyre Compound. Verstappen would immediately gain a single placement after the 1st corner, taking P3 from Nico Hulkenberg.
Max would then manage his Tyres & Pace better than Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas throughout the 52 Laps. After the 10th Lap, Max would begin pressuring Bottas once learning Mercedes AMG-Petronas was experiencing blisters. He’d overtake Valtteri at the Luffield Corner, with his domination over Lewis Hamilton coming once Mercedes pitted their star driver. It marks the 1st victory for Red Bull Racing at Silverstone since 2012.
Lewis Hamilton found himself struggling throughout the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, maintaining a resurgence into the later laps. This unexpected resurgence prompted Lewis to acquire 2nd Place on the Podium, which was obtained after overtaking Valtteri Bottas at Brooklands. Lewis Hamilton now maintains the same number of Podium Finishes as Michael Schumacher.
The Placements for Fan Favourite Drivers
Fan favourite drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly, and Lando Norris found themselves maintaining notable positions on the grid by the 52nd Lap. Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc should’ve received “Driver of the Day” after obtaining P4 on a One-Stop Pit Strategy. Charles got this position with his 2020 SF1000, which is considerably slower than competing cars from Red Bull & Mercedes. This was proven with Sebastian Vettel’s P12 Placement.
Alex Albon from Red Bull Racing garnered P5, making his final overtake on Lance Stroll on the Last Lap. Lando Norris for McLaren Racing maintained 97, and Pierre Gasly with AlphaTauri maintained P11.
Most had thought that when Formula One was postponed earlier this year, it wouldn’t return until 2021 following an international pandemic. Supporters were thrilled in late June to learn that multiple races were coming, including Silverstone. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone went underway on August 2nd & saw Lewis Hamilton acquiring his 7th victory at the circuit in the most unexpected way possible.
Silverstone will likely be remembered as the most exciting race for F1s 2020 Season. It all began when Nico Hulkenberg was announced to be returning with Racing Point, replacing Sergio Perez while he recovers from COVID-19. Hulkenberg would find himself unable to compete after a Power Unit Issue forced his W10 to stall.
The Silverstone problems continued & move towards Alex Albon/Romain Grosjean. Albon would make a lung towards Grosjean, bashing into his right-back tyre & forcing Romain to spin out into the gravel. Another DNF followed after Daniil Kvyat lost control of his AT-01, creating significant damage. Two safety cars were initiated because of these incidents & allowed other drivers to reach closer towards Lewis Hamilton.
The Excitement Continues
Lewis would outpace those that came close until the 52nd & Final Lap. Hamilton saw his tyres deflate and then popped towards the final corners. This followed after Valtteri Bottas had similar issues on the Hard Tyres just moments before. Bottas was allowed to pit, dropping multiple placements into 11th from 2nd.
This allowed Max Verstappen to overtake Valtteri Possible while being three seconds from passing a limping Lewis Hamilton. The British Champion wouldn’t allow for Max Verstappen to overtake, fully gassing his W11 on the final corner. He’d remark after the British Grand Prix that this was a foolish decision & his vehicle wouldn’t stop but was still thrilled to have won.
F1 Commentators were surprised by the actions of Lewis Hamilton, who’d been informed moments last not to risk his W11 & that returning the vehicle into the pits was most important. Lewis would’ve lost the race if Red Bull Aston Martin Racing hadn’t pitted Max Verstappen on the 51st Lap alongside Valtteri Bottas. However, Verstappen was still pleased with his 2nd Place Podium Finish.
The Technical Department for Scuderia Ferrari has been restructured, which follows after poor performances throughout the 2020 Formula One Season. Ferrari is typically declared into the top three teams, with Mercedes in 1st and Red Bull in 3rd. 2020 would see that change with Scuderia Ferrari slumping into the midfield. Their straight-line speeds have dropped significantly over winter break, which was prolonged & supported little technical development with the COVID-19 pandemic. Scuderia Ferrari’s headquarters is located in Italy, a nation which was severely affected by the coronavirus.
Ferrari is sustaining a 5th position in the Constructor’s Championship, losing out to the likes of McLaren Racing & Racing Point. It’s the lowest standing that Scuderia Ferrari has seen in years, which their pace difference evident after Charles Leclerc placed 11th at the Hungaroring Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel would place 6th.
Employed personnel within the Technical Department are expected to be angered by this announcement. Mattia Binotto, the Team Principal for Scuderia Ferrari, promised on July 17th that there wouldn’t be layoffs following their poor performance. That would all change by the 20th, with Mattia Binotto announcing that their technical team will be restructured & a new performance development department is being created.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Team Principal indicated that their restructuring efforts would create a practical package that emphasis on straight-line speeds for upcoming seasons. Mattia Binotto wants management to become simplified & focused, giving leaders the tools required to finalize their objectives.
Mattia clarified who will reign over which departments. It’s known that Enrico Cardile will oversee the performance development department. He’ll also lead the Power Unit Team. Sporting Director of Trackside Activities has been awarded to Laurent Mekies, with Simon Resta holding his position for Manager of the Chassis Engineering Department.
The Long Game
Scuderia Ferrari admitted that their 2020 F1 Season is lost. Those midfield positions will continue throughout 2021, with Ferrari being forced into using the SF1000 for an additional season. Cost-Saving Strategies are being employed by Mattia Binotto, ensuring the long-term survival of Scuderia Ferrari. The Team Principal emphasized that they’re creating the foundations needed to return into a winning cycle.
Alex Albon obtained support from an unlikely commodore, with same being George Russel from Williams F1 Racing. Both residing from Britain & quickly growing into their positions within Formula One, George Russel couldn’t help but notice the pace difference Alex Albon has experienced in 2020. It’s considerably slower than 2019, showing that Honda is struggling to supply Red Bull Aston Martin Racing with a secure power engine unit.
George Russel would emphasize that Alex Albon is being made to look foolish, which comes after the Red Bull 2nd Driver obtained 13th in the Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Session. It’s the worst that Alex Albon has placed since driving for Toro Rosso in the first half on 2019s F1 Season.
Albon remarked over team radio that there was consider understeer throughout the practice sessions, which continued into qualifying. Red Bull didn’t provide Albon with fixes for qualifying following the limited period between Practice Session Three and Qualifying. It should be clarified that Max Verstappen also struggled with pace, sitting 1.4 Seconds behind Lewis Hamilton.
The Austrian & Styrian Grand Prix’s proved troublesome for Alex Albon, maintain low positions similarly to Scuderia Ferrari. Christian Horner has demanded that Albon begin performing at better standards, which George Russel doesn’t feel is justified. The two have raced against each other for fifteen years & have maintained a great working relationship.
Albon fought Charles Leclerc, George Russel, Max Verstappen, and Lando Norris throughout his career before Formula One. The Williams Driver clarified that all four of them would agree that Alex is one of the best. Not providing him with an opportunity to showcase those talents made George Russel question what’s going on in the Red Bull Racing garage.
George Russel finished his interview with F1 Online after qualifying by remarking his sympathies for Alex Albon. Russel clarified that Albon is being made to look foolish when the likelihood is home outperforming Max Verstappen with the same vehicle. These sentiments didn’t fare well with the Dutchman, which could reflect on track during the July 19th Hungaroring Grand Prix. Max Verstappen is known for physically pressuring his rivals on the track, which some suspect could happen for Russel at Hungary.
Popularity is rapidly growing for Robert Shwartzman, the 2019 FIA Formula Three Champion. This young athlete debuted in Formula Two on July 4th, quickly garnering the attention of thousands in this motorsport community. Racing initially at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, his first appearance saw a placement at P5. That positioning would quickly approve the next weekend onwards, with July 11th marking his first podium finish in Formula Two. Notably, this was during a horrendous downpour that saw visuals become incredibly limited over dozens of laps.
Challenges awaited Robert Schwartzman during the Styrian Formula Two Grand Prix. He’d continually be pressured by Yuki Tsunoda from the “Red Bull Honda Junior Racing Team”. Robert attempted multiple times to overtake Yuki, failing for the majority of laps. It wouldn’t be until Tsunoda began experiencing radio malfunctions that Robert acquired the lead. Instructions from Carlin Racing to Yuki Tsunoda prompted the Japanese driver to avoid his pit stop unintentionally.
Carlin Racing immediately acquired a “Pit Board”, swinging it between two fences as Yuki Tsunoda was doing another lap around the Red Bull Ring. This allowed the Japanese driver to finally make his pit stop, two laps after Robert Shwartzman. The pace was still in favour of Yuki Tsunoda until falling behind Guanyu Zhou, Robert Schwartzman & Callum Ilott and overcoming those two drivers in wet conditions to reobtain the lead on provided too challenging.
Robert Shwartzman displayed his skillsets from the very beginning, starting in 6th place & inevitably making his first podium finish. This wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Prema Racing’s Pit Crew, who were able to release Robert Schwartzman in less than 1.5 seconds. This enabled the Prema Driver to quickly catch Guanyu Zhou after the pitstop, obtaining the subsequent lead.
It wouldn’t take long for Yuki Tsunoda to overtake Guanyu Zhou on the final lap. The Carlin Racing Driver would quickly reach Robert Schwartzman towards the chequered flag, with Robert holding onto the lead by a minor buffer. The discontent was evident with Yuki Tsunoda. It’s suspected the two will battle it out next week at Hungary after this weekends events.
The Black Lives Matters Movement prompted Formula One’s exclusive African-European to demand equality throughout the motorsport. Most have agreed with Lewis Hamilton’s stance on Anti-Racism, with some like Bernie Ecclestone indicating otherwise. Most have moved on from the Ecclestone Era & Hamilton revoked his friendship with Bernie, a man who’ll be a father near Ninety Years of Age.
Anti-Racism Protocols have begun being issued throughout the Formula One Paddock. One recommendation the FIA has made to viable drivers is kneeling during the Austrian National Anthem, showing their support for the BLM Movement. This isn’t being forced onto the Formula One Grid & instead optional for drivers, with some competitors significantly disrespecting their nation by kneeling. One such competitor would be Daniil Kvyat from Russia.
The Austrian Grand Prix Weekend began on July 3rd, with Valtteri Bottas obtaining Pole Position for the Sunday race. Before Bottas could get 1st Position on the grid, himself & all other F1 Competitors delegated during a joint briefing, some drivers indicated their uncomfortableness with kneeling during the anthem, indicating that historical events have prompted this action to become disrespectful in their culture.
Romain Grosjean, one of three leaders in the Grand Prix Directors Association, clarified that multiple drivers wouldn’t participate in kneeling. Grosjean iterated that fifteen nationalities are supported in the Formula One community, surging a difference of opinion amongst certain groups. France is another nation that’s historically abolished the action of kneeling, meaning Esteban Ocon & Pierre Gasly might stand for the anthem. This could extend towards Romain Grosjean, who’s also French.
Hamilton Losing Grid Loyalty
Most anticipated that Lewis Hamilton would understand the predicaments of specific drivers from different nationalities. However, the reactions shown by the British-born Champion indicated a lack of understanding. Considering that Hamilton claims to be respectful of all nationalities, results confirmed by Lewis were that of a hypocrite. The only statement given by Hamilton over the briefing was, “We all spoke a bit during the drivers meeting”.
Lewis Hamilton should reconsider his anger towards Formula One & aggressive claims that they’re not an inclusive sport. Maintaining international motorsport with fifteen different nationalities, including Alex Albon from the Philippines, shows F1 is an inclusive sport. When accounting for the drivers in Formula Two, this point is made tenfold.
The Team Boss for Renault Racing in Formula One has spoken about his relationship with Daniel Riccardo. These discussions follow after the Australian Honey Badger determined that McLaren Racing was better suited for his talents, ditching Renault after guarantying them years of service. Promises made by Team Boss Cyril Abiteboul of Renault wasn’t ever met for Daniel Riccardo, prompting the former Red Bull Driver to switch teams.
Cyril Abiteboul has continuously been questioned about Riccardo since he announced switching to McLaren, with a seat becoming available to the Australian after Carlos Sainz was confirmed to be driving with Ferrari for 2021. This means Sebastian Vettel has lost his position with Scuderia Ferrari & won’t race in F1 Grand Prix’s after the short-lived 2020 season.
The Renault Team Boss provided insight into the role that Daniel Riccardo will play, clarifying that his position for car development will be crucial until the final moment of his contract. Cyril has strategized that he’ll make the absolute most of Daniel’s capabilities & knowledge before his contract expires, which means the Australian will be overworked for the short period that Formula One is available in 2020.
When questioned if Esteban Ocon will receive better strategies & favouritism over Daniel Riccardo, Cyril Abiteboul disregarded these sentiments. He noted that French Auto Manufacturers don’t work with grudges in mind, focusing on the racing at hand. The Honey Badger will still be given every opportunity to obtain championship position for Renault, with Cyril still believing his outfit is capable of competing against Red Bull & McLaren. They are not.
The Token System
Cyril is counting on the “Token System” implemented for 2021, which limited what’s possible with altering Formula One Cars. Renault believes the changes they’re implementing through this specialized token system will allow them to compete against McLaren and Red Bull.
That’s because both competing outfits must focus their tokens on Stability & Suspension, with those having already been mastered by Renault. Their tokens can focus on engine improvements & possibly create faster speeds down the straights. Motorsport analysts reflected on the sentiments from Cyril Abiteboul, mentioning how the Renault Team Boss has often bolstered of his team’s capabilities & then never seen his promises through.
The 2020 Formula One Season resumes on July 5th in Austria, exciting both supporters & drivers alike. Multiple competitors in the F1 2020 Grid have begun providing their thoughts on the upcoming season, including Daniel Ricciardo. The Honey Badger believes that egos will factor into the skillsets shown by drivers, with this often being a factor that supports don’t notice during critical times in multiple Grand Prix’s.
Sentiments from Daniel Ricciardo come after the Renault Driver had his 1st testing sessions since COVID-19 delayed the Formula One 2020 Season. These tests were conducted at the Austrian Red Bull Ring with the 2018 Renault RS18. Daniel looked formidable on the circuit, unlike other competitors that struggled to locate grip under unfavourable weather conditions. Ricciardo had the advantage after working out daily during the coronavirus pandemic. He infamously said weeks ago that competing in Virtual Grand Prix’s doesn’t maintain an F1 Driver, that consistent efforts to improve physical conditioning implicates stronger skillsets. It should be clarified that this mindset is similar to Michael Schumacher’s & Lewis Hamilton’s, the greatest champions in Formula One history.
Smaller outfits in F1 like Williams Racing & Alpha Romeo could find themselves unable to maintain testing sessions before July 5th. That’s because testing time is awarded on last years position in the championship, with Alpha Romeo ranked 9th and Williams Racing listed at 10th. Daniel Ricciardo & other drivers on the grid are concerned that these two outfits will prompt significant crashed during the Austrian Season Opener. Ricciardo expects that lower-rated drivers will regain their skillsets during the first half of this upcoming race, with the Renault Driver planning to position himself high on the grid during qualifying. It will allow Daniel to avoid any crashed from Williams or Alpha Romeo.
The Future of Daniel Ricciardo
The Honey Badger has struggled to find a new home in Formula One, which follows after he left Red Bull Racing in 2018. Jealously towards Max Verstappen saw Ricciardo move to Renault F1, who promised the Australian Driver a championship car. Daniel has decided to proceed with McLaren Racing in 2021 after Renault couldn’t deliver on their promise.
The Formula International Association regrettably confirmed that three Grand Prix’s had been confirmed cancelled for 2020. Initially, these venues had entered postponement status, meaning their circuits would be revised into the 2020 season. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing those locations to enter cancelled status, with the Japanese and Singapore Grand Prix’s confirmed to be terminated. This extends towards the Azerbaijan GP also being shut down for 2020.
F1 Supports showing favouritism towards these circuits expressed their disappointment. However, most understood the conditions for Formula One is facing & are grateful for the eight Grand Prix’s confirmed for 2020. The initial two races for this season will be held in Austria at the Red Bull Ring. Races will be spread out considerably more than in previous years, resembling a historical version of the motorsport instead of its modern counterpart.
That’s because the financial & logistical challenges with maintaining safe conditions at individual tracks would be impossible. Singapore, Japan, and Azerbaijan account for those three locations. Motorsport analysts that cover Formula One are now questioning if additional venues will be cancelled before their rescheduling can be legally permitted by government entities.
F1s Chief Executive Officer issued a formal statement regarding these cancelled venues. Chase Carey clarified that continuous challenges from COVID-19 in Singapore, Japan, and Azerbaijan had forced this decision. Details on these logistical challenges were provided by the CEO, noting that street circuits require construction & deconstruction to host Formula One.
Staffing to complete these jobs isn’t available to standards, making it impossible for F1 Organizers to guarantee completion for the slated venue date. Any possible errors in construction are avoiding by placing these circuits into cancellation status. Chase Carey mentioned that locations that’ve been confirmed for 2020 could be postponed or terminated, which is entirely dependent on the travel restrictions in that nation. Drivers & team personnel unable to enter that nation makes it impossible to drive.
Chase Carey didn’t want supporters concerned that progress wasn’t fast-moving, with it being confirmed that new promoters are being inquired to support additional venues under the 2020 schedule. It’s rumoured that the Mugello Italian Grand Prix will be given to Formula One, leaving MotoGP to cancel their respective race at this venue. Details on additional locations for the 2020 season are slated to be announced by July 1st.