Wolff: “Open secret” one F1 team “massively” broke cost cap

After a day of fast developments in the Singapore Grand Prix paddock, as speculation focused on Aston Martin and Red Bull having potentially not complied with the 2021 cost cap limit, Wolff did not hold back in his views about how serious the matter was.
After Red Bull team boss Christian Horner had indicated earlier in the day that his squad’s submission for the 2021 cap was below the circa $145 million limit, Wolff said that flew in the face of what paddock’s senior figures had learned.
“It’s funny Christian says that because it’s been weeks and months they’re being investigated, so maybe he doesn’t speak to his CFO,” Wolff told Sky F1.
“As a matter of fact, we all of us have been investigated diligently. And as far as we understand, there’s a team in minor breach, which is more procedural, and another team that is fundamentally massively over and that is being still looked after. So that’s an open secret in the paddock.”
Wolff said that the issue of a cost cap breach was not something that should be brushed aside because his team had sacrificed car performance, and had to lose staff, to ensure it complied with the limit that was in place. He felt it would be unfair if any over-spending was dealt with leniently.
“It’s heavyweight, it massively heavyweight,” he said about the matter. “We’re using used parts. We are not running what we would want to run; we are not developing what we could be developing.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

“We have made more than 40 people redundant that are dearly missed in our organisation, and it was a huge mammoth project to make the cap.
“I don’t know how many tens of millions we had to restructure and reprocess in order to be below the cap. And if someone has been not doing that, or pushing the boundaries, every million [you don’t spend] is a massive disadvantage.”
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While the current issue relates to spending over the 2021 campaign, with the FIA stating that compliance certificates will be issued next week, Wolff believes the implications are massive.
He says that if Red Bull overspent last year, it could carry benefits through this year and in to 2023.
“The crucial part is that if you’ve been over in 2021, then you’ve been over in ‘22,” he said. “That means you have an advantage in ‘23.
“If it’s true that they’ve [Red Bull] homologated the lightweight chassis this year, they may use it next year. So it’s a really a cascade of events that can be influential in all of the three championships.”
The FIA has responded to speculation of cost cap breaches and states no judgement will be made until it completes its assessments.
“The FIA is currently finalising the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams. Alleged breaches of the Financial Regulations, if any, will be dealt with according to the formal process set out in the regulations,” an FIA statement read.
“The FIA notes significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter, and reiterates that the assessment is ongoing and due process will be followed without consideration to any external discussion.”

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Source: AutoSport.com

Capito: Cost cap breach more serious than cheating on track

Other team bosses have agreed that any such breaches should trigger appropriate punishments from the FIA.
Red Bull and Aston Martin are both understood to have overspent last season, with the former believed to be a potentially more serious case of a “material breach”.
The penalty for such a spend – in excess of 5% of the 2021 cap limit – could extend to exclusion of the team concerned from last year’s world championship.
Capito stressed that a breach in 2021 would also have fed into development for this season’s cars.
“I think there’s no way around not staying in the cost cap,” the German told Autosport.
“And if somebody doesn’t stay in the cost cap, it has to have serious implications. Because not having stayed in the cost cap last year is most likely development for this year’s car.
“For this year’s cars, you have an impact for the whole season. So it has to have a sportive impact on this season. It doesn’t make sense to have any financial penalty on top that you spent the money.
“That would be completely contradictory to work to the rules. And for me, it’s a more serious breach than cheating on the car on the track.”
Capito also stressed that a retrospective punishment, for example exclusion from last year’s championship, wouldn’t necessarily affect performance gains earned through development for 2022.
“I don’t think it should be for last year, because most of the more impact is on this year. I think it would be completely wrong to do it on last year, because the books are written, everything is done, the PR is done, the marketing is done.
“So if that would be the case, then I think nobody would stay in the cost cap anymore, because it has an impact on the past. It has to have an impact on the actual year. And that’s why I think the FIA, if there is a case, they have to be quite fast.
“I don’t have any other choice, they have to react because the majority of the teams was in the cost cap. And they can’t be penalised for being in the cost cap. So I’m pretty sure they will react appropriately.”
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur is adamant that any financial transgression should be treated as seriously as a technical infringement.
“I think, from my point of view, the cost cap was crucial for F1,” Vasseur said.
“I know it was a great achievement to put it in place. But now that it’s in place, the most important thing is to police it. And for sure there is no room for flexibility.
“I think that we have to be very strict with this. You can be disqualified from a race for 0.9mm of front flap deflection, as we were two years ago. If you are 300g under the weight, you are excluded.
“And, on the other hand, if you can spend millions for updates for X races, it’s completely unfair. If something like this happened, for sure the FIA will have to take action.
“You have to understand that sometimes with €200,000 you can bring a big update. And if you overshoot the budget by this, it’s a couple of tenths for more than one race.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer, who ran Aston Martin last year but left before its final budget numbers were submitted, agreed that overspending teams can reap significant benefits.

Alpine boss Szafnauer believes teams should be “appropriately” punished
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

“At the margin, any spend above the margin is spent on performance,” Szafnauer added. “And once you start spending on performance where others don’t get a chance to, because they’ve actually stuck to the budget cap, that’s serious.
“And I think the FIA have to appropriately punish those who have gone over. You have to first understand how big the breach was, and then what an appropriate penalty is.”
Szafnauer stressed that Alpine had made big sacrifices to stay within the cap.
“The team here made some significant decisions on letting people go, not hiring other people, before the start of this year, based on last year’s spend,” he said.
“And that’s significant. And, once you let people go, it’s hard to get them back and attract the same people.
“And once you stop development, because you’re going to be over the budget cap, and you stop it so that you assure yourself that you’re under, getting that development and that learning back in a quicker time than others are learning, it’s nearly impossible.
“So that’s what I mean by we have to understand the gravity of the breach, and have appropriate ramifications.
“If, for example, you’ve gained by doing more windtunnel testing, then you should have perhaps an appropriate punishment, like restricting their windtunnel testing the following year. It’s that kind of stuff.”
Haas boss Gunther Steiner also insisted penalties need to be tough, even if the 2021 world championship was concluded over nine months ago.
“When we had to turn in our accounting, that was one of the things which was discussed,” Steiner told Autosport. “So how do you deal with it, if someone breached it, a year after?
“It was always going to happen. But in the end, if you now take the world championship result away from last year, who cares?
“The only thing will be the financial benefit they had by being in a certain position. If they are disqualified, everybody else who is behind them will be laughing. And that’s where we are.
“I mean, if you breach it, and the regulations say that the penalty needs to be this one, that needs to be this one, because in the end we are talking about money.”

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Source: AutoSport.com

Wolff: FIA must take “robust stance” if F1 teams broke budget cap

The FIA is due to issue compliance certificates soon to the teams that operated within last year’s cap.
However, paddock sources indicate that when the final accounting has been completed both Red Bull Racing and Aston Martin are likely to be reported as having breached the cap.
The financial regulations contain a list of potential penalties for both “minor” and “material” breaches.
The Aston Martin case is believed to be a minor breach of less than 5%, or around $7m, over the 2021 limit.
However, in Red Bull’s case sources suggest that it could be a material breach of over 5%, which would carry a much tougher penalty.
Sanctions available to the FIA even include “exclusion from the championship.”
The situation is seen by many in the paddock as a significant test case for Ben Sulayem and his team as an overspend last year would have been beneficial not just for the 2021 World Championship, but for this year’s as well, given the development programme for 2022 cars.
Wolff, who discussed the matter with Ferrari opposite number Mattia Binotto on Friday in Singapore, is adamant that the FIA must come down hard if a team is proven to have overspent.
“The cost cap is probably the most important evolution of regulations in order to keep a level playing field,” said Wolff.
“And to allow teams that haven’t got the full budget to catch up and to put the ceiling onto the spending of the top teams. So, it is of huge importance for a demonstration that these regulations are policed.

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“And I have no reason to believe otherwise. The FIA, particularly Mohammed, have shown a pretty robust stance on enforcing all kinds of regulations.
“So I think if we’re talking now about something big, he will show the same integrity and leadership that he’s done before.”
Asked if a potential breach by Red Bull compromised last year’s title battle Wolff declined to go into specifics.
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“I have no information at that stage if they are in breach, by how much they are in breach. And obviously being in breach in one year, means you’re probably in breach of a second year, and potentially a third year.
“And once that is clarified, I’m sure lots of discussions are going to take off. about what effect it would have. But it’s too early at this stage to comment.”

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Source: AutoSport.com

China’s Geely Buys 7.6% Stake In Aston Martin

Geely’s latest move comes after Aston Martin shareholders rejected a deal led by Atlas Consortium, a firm that includes Geely itself. That offer was worth over $1.5 billion, but it appears the latest Geely deal was more in line with the British automaker’s expectations. Geely now joins a list of other prominent shareholders in Aston Martin that includes Mercedes-Benz.”We are delighted to announce our investment in Aston Martin and believe that with our well-established track record and technology offerings, Geely Holding can contribute to Aston Martin’s future success,” said Daniel Donghui Li, Geely Holding Group CEO.”We look forward to exploring potential opportunities to engage and collaborate with Aston Martin as it continues to execute its strategy to achieve long term, sustainable growth and increased profitability.”
Source: carbuzz.com

Aston Martin DB5 “No Time To Die” stunt car sells for $3.1M

An Aston Martin DB5 stunt car from the 2021 James Bond film “No Time To Die” sold for 2.9 million British pounds (approximately $3.1 million) this week at a Christie’s charity auction.
Proceeds from the DB5 auction will benefit multiple charities, including the The Prince’s Trust, The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund, and three charities supporting veterans of the U.K. Special Forces.
Aston Martin DB5 stunt car from
Aston built eight DB5 replicas for filming of “No Time To Die,” each for a specific stunt or shot (two original cars were also used). This particular car is packed with gadgets, including a rotating license plate, headlights that retract to reveal Gatling guns, and a bomb launcher. The replicas use bespoke space-frame chassis and carbon-fiber bodywork.
The DB5 starred in a memorable chase scene early in the movie where Bond does donuts in an Italian square and mows down the bad guys with the car’s concealed guns. Rally driver Mark Higgins performed that stunt, standing in for Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Aston Martin DB5 stunt car from
A 1981 Aston Martin V8 driven by Craig in “No Time To Die” was sold at the same auction. While the DB5 references early Bond movies “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball,” the later V8 is similar to the car used in 1987’s “The Living Daylights.” The “No Time To Die” car sold for approximately $397,700, with proceeds going to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN’s refugee agency.
In addition to the two Astons, Jaguar XF, Land Rover Defender 110, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR, “No Time To Die” stunt cars were among the vehicular lots at the charity auction. 
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Geely buys 7.6% stake in Aston Martin

Aston Martin has gained Geely as a new investor following the completion of a rights issue first announced in July, which is aimed at raising funds to pay down debts as well as fuel investment in future product.
As detailed in a regulatory filing issued on Thursday, Geely has acquired 7.6% of the shares of Aston Martin. The amount paid hasn’t been disclosed.
The stake joins existing major stakes owned by Geely in Mercedes-Benz, Polestar, and Volvo. The Chinese auto giant also controls a range of privately owned automakers including Proton and Lotus.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, was also part of the rights issue. The fund has acquired 18.7% of the shares, making it the second biggest shareholder of Aston Martin, behind the 19% of Yew Tree and ahead of the 9.7% of Mercedes-Benz. Yew Tree is the consortium led by fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, current chairman of Aston Martin and father of Aston Martin Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster
The rights issue has seen Aston Martin raise 654 million British pounds (approximately $723.3 million), the automaker said on Friday.
“I am delighted that we have successfully completed this transformational capital raise which significantly strengthens our financial position and enhances our pathway to becoming sustainably free cash flow positive,” Stroll said in a statement.
Half of the raised funds will be used to reduce Aston Martin’s debts, with the remainder to be used for product development as well as to go into a cash pile that can provide the company with liquidity in case of economic shocks.
New products in the pipeline at Aston Martin include updates to its front-engine sports cars due in 2023,  the Valhalla hypercar in 2024, and an electric vehicle in 2025. The EV has been confirmed as a sports car. An electric SUV is expected to follow in 2026.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Geely Buys 7.6 Percent Stake In Aston Martin Lagonda

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Earlier this year, Aston Martin Lagonda rejected a proposal from Geely and InvestIndustrial for an equity investment, declaring “there is no basis for further discussion.” At that time, the 109-year-old sports car marque argued the proposed deal was not an “attractive funding option or value creation opportunity for existing shareholders.” However, there must have been further discussions because the situation has taken a 180-degree turn.

Geely has now issued a press release stating it has reached an agreement with the Gaydon-based marque. China’s largest privately-owned automotive technology group has inked a deal with Aston Martin Lagonda to purchase a 7.6 percent share in the British brand for an unspecified sum. Geely joins Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has a 16.7 percent share in AM, and Yew Tree – the consortium led by Lawrence Stroll – with an 18.3 percent stake. In addition, Mercedes has a 9.7 percent stake.

Geely controls an overwhelming variety of automakers, including Volvo, Lotus, Polestar, Proton, and the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), but also newcomers such as Lynk & Co, Zeekr, and Geometry. It is also worth pointing out that Geely founder and chairman Li Shufu has an equity interest of 9.7 percent in the Mercedes-Benz Group through Tenaciou3 Prospect Investment Limited.

The tie-up between Geely and Aston Martin comes only a few months after the UK brand revealed an updated logo and a new “Intensity. Driven” motto to go along with its “strategic repositioning.” Its first electric model is scheduled to arrive in 2025 and all products will be electrified by 2026.

Before that happens, the Valhalla due in 2024 will be the firm’s first plug-in hybrid model. Previously known as the Vanquish, an “entry-level” supercar is earmarked for 2025 with an AMG V8 instead of the originally planned in-house V6.

Source: motor1.com

A brand new all-electric boat racing series begins in 2023

Powerboat racing events have traditionally focused on high-speed, gas-guzzling watercraft, but a gradual shift into electrified racing boats is taking place thanks in part to the introduction of the RaceBird, a fully electric powerboat designed to compete in the all-electric E1 Series starting in 2023.

This electric shift is aiming to inspire others to “electrify marine mobility.” The electric RaceBird has a top speed of 58 mph thanks to its 150 kW outboard motor from Mercury Racing. It’s equipped with hydrofoil technology, which reduces drag and maximizes energy. Powering this electric race boat is a 35 kWh battery, which will need to be charged twice during a race. The series begins in 2023 and includes 12 teams competing in 10 events per racing season. Learn more at e1series.com      

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Best Amazon Prime Early Access electric scooter and e-bike deals

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

If you’d love a new around-town ride, now is a great time to consider picking up an electric scooter. The list below features some of the best Prime Day last-mile-transport deals we could find. We’ll be keeping this list updated throughout the sale, so check back often! If you want to see all of the deals we’ve tracked down regardless of category, check out our official Best Amazon Prime Day 2 2022 Deals post right here, which will be continually updated with the best deals throughout the end of the event tomorrow as well.

Keep in mind, this sale is only for Amazon Prime members. If you aren’t a member yet, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial right here. 

Segway Ninebot F Series Electric Kick Scooter – $399.99 (30% off)

The F Series of e-scooters certainly aren’t cheap but nearly $200 off makes this Segway a much more interesting proposition for those in the market. You can choose between the F25, F30, or F40. We’re currently looking at the F25 because it’s got the bigger discount ($170 off), a solid power output (300W), a great top speed (15.5 mph), and an impressive range (212.4 miles).

Segway Ninebot eKickScooter E10 – $269.99 (10% off)

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This Segway is one of the best kid-rated e-scooters available. The top-rated scooter has a 150-watt kick-to-start motor with a top speed of 10 mph and 6.3 miles of range. It also comes with a one-year warranty or 180-day warranty for specific parts – contact Segway for details.

Segway Ninebot S Self-Balancing Electric Scooter – $539.99 (10% off)

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Electric scooters and hoverboards are a great last mile transport option for commuters. They’re also great for good ol’ fashioned fun. Segway is a top-rated maker of e-riders and its Ninebot S model is currently on sale. The self-balancing personal transport has a top speed of 10 mph and 13.7 miles of range. And though some assembly is required if you buy from Amazon, the Segway Ninebot is still a top pick among users. Oh, and the Ninebot S is compatible with Segway’s Go-Kart Kit, which is also currently on sale!

Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight Aluminum Folding Electric Bike – $499.99 (9% off)

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Can we say that the Swagtron Swagcycle is dripping with swag? Name aside, the EB-5 Pro+ is an affordable zero-emission last-mile transport option for adult riders. Key features of this e-bike include the fact that the lightweight (37 lbs) aluminum frame is foldable for easier transport and storage, it has a top speed of 15 mph, and a removable battery with 15.5 miles of range when fully charged. The Swagcycle e-bike has a 4.1-star average rating from nearly 1,200 Amazon reviewers.

Segway Ninebot S Kids – $399.99 (13% off)

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The Segway Ninebot S Kids is a great transportation toy for children 8+, able to reach speeds of up to 8.7 mph with a max range of 8 miles on a single charge. You can connect a phone via bluetooth to be able to ride to your own tunes and it even features real-time intelligent voice safety reminders, encouraging riders to slow down and ride carefully. The tires are non-slip and maintenance free. It even comes in 3 different colors, white, pink and blue.

Massimo 24V 350W Electric Bike – $380.00 (30% off)

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The Massimo electric bike is a great e-bike for kids. It has 2 speeds, up to 6 hours of battery life and works for kids ages 5 and up. The Massimo also has a seat that adjusts from 18″ to 22″ and sits on two 16″ extra large wheels. Parents can even set the top speed for the bike, between 9 mph and 15.5 mph.

TotGuard Electric Bike for Adults – $529.99 (24% off)

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This e-bike by TotGuard is a great pick for many reasons, not the least of which is the price! The bike has 3 riding modes: e-bike, assisted bike and normal bike and the battery is even totally removable if you want to go old school and get some exercise while it charges. The battery only takes 5 hours to completely charge and provides riders with 25 – 30 miles in full electric mode or 50 – 60 miles in assisted mode. The bike is made of an aluminum alloy and features 21-speed gears to give riders a ton of options. Last but not least, the company promises to provide “lifelong free exchange and return services of the electric bicycle.”

Source: AutoBlog.com

AAA study shows automatic emergency braking has its limits

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems, ones that apply the brakes automatically if the driver fails to intervene to prevent a collision or reduce its severity, have proven to be very helpful in reducing numbers of crashes. A past IIHS study found that cars with automatic emergency braking were in 50% fewer rear-end collisions. Systems that include pedestrian detection are also very effective, with equipped cars having 27% fewer collisions with pedestrians. But there are limits to these systems, and specifically in areas where collisions are fairly common. IIHS has previously noted that poor light can reduce the effectiveness of these systems. Now AAA has found that higher speeds and particular types of collisions need improvement.

The situations AAA tested included rear-end collisions at higher speeds than IIHS currently tests. The IIHS tests at speeds up to 25 mph. In its research, AAA found that 60% of rear-end crashes that result in injuries happen in areas with speed limits between 30 and 45 mph. As such, it tested systems at 30 mph and 40 mph with stationary dummy vehicles. AAA also tested with the other two most common injury-causing two-vehicle crashes that, when combined with rear-end collisions, result in 79% of injury-causing wrecks: T-bone collisions, and collisions with an oncoming car turning across traffic. These were tested at 30 mph. The test vehicles were popular models that come with standard automatic emergency braking that more people are likely to have and cover a wide array of designs and suppliers: a 2022 Chevy Equinox, 2022 Ford Explorer, 2022 Honda CR-V and 2022 Toyota RAV4.

While these collision prevention systems were designed for preventing lower-speed crashes, they proved to still be effective in reducing the severity of rear-end collisions. At 30 mph, every car alerted the driver to an impending collision and activated the brakes. The Toyota and Ford both managed to avoid a crash in all five attempts, too. The Equinox collided once, and the CR-V did twice, but in all those situations, both cars reduced speeds by more than 20 mph, reducing the severity.

Increasing the speeds to 40 mph resulted in more collisions, but still, every car raised a warning and applied the brakes. The Ford reduced speeds by 31.8 mph, despite hitting every time. The Equinox reduced speeds by 17.5 mph, which was less than the 30 mph test. The CR-V managed to avoid crashes twice, and it reduced the speed by 30.5 mph on average in collisions. The RAV4 had a somewhat confusing result. It managed to fully stop four out of the five times. But the time it did hit, it only dropped its speed by 7.9 mph.

The takeaway in the rear-end collisions is that automatic emergency braking systems are less effective at fully avoiding a collision at higher speeds, but they can still significantly reduce the severity of the crash. Automakers are also working on systems that are more effective at higher speeds. Chevy in fact offers a system called Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking designed for higher speeds. It’s offered as an option on some models such as the Tahoe/Suburban, Bolt EUV and Traverse. Though actual availability may be low due to chip supply issues. The IIHS also announced earlier this year that it’s looking at increasing its AEB testing speeds. So odds are that performance in this area, while not terrible, will probably improve significantly in the near future.

While the results for rear-end collisions isn’t too bad, the other types of collisions are a problem area for the current AEB systems. With cross-traffic T-bone collisions, and situations with another car turning in front of a driver, all vehicles hit every time. And in every test, each car failed to alert the driver or activate the brakes.

This is somewhat understandable, as most of these systems are only designed to help prevent rear-end collisions. Only recently have these systems started implementing pedestrian and cyclist detection, and the ability to detect cars or pedestrians in the path of the car when making turns at intersections. It’s also likely that these situations are more difficult to program the car to recognize and to do so without triggering false positives.

That being said, as these types of crashes are responsible for most injuries, it’s clear that automakers should focus on offering systems that can prevent those crashes.

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Source: AutoBlog.com