F1: Zak Brown Not Impressed By Racing Point Pairing 

Brown believes his team and Ferrari have a stronger driver line-up which could hand the teams the edge over Aston Martin and Renault.

Zak Brown has been credited with the revival of the McLaren team.

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Zak Brown has been credited with the revival of the McLaren team.

Zak Brown has continued his feud with the Racing Point team as 2020 comes to close in an interview with Motorsport-Total.com where he described the new pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll at the British team not as strong as the driver pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at McLaren. 

“Sergio [Perez] was on a completely different level and carried the team. We benefited from the fact that we had two strong drivers – not just one,” said the McLaren boss. 

The McLaren boss also was pessimistic about the chances of Renault noting that Esteban Ocon was handily defeated by Riccardo who scored just 62 points to Riccardo’s 119. 

“Renault scored so many points, for example, only thanks to Daniel Ricciardo. “[Esteban] Ocon was strong in the end, but Daniel carried the team,” Brown says. 


Charles Leclerc has been described as the most talented driver on the grid by Sebastian Vettel 


He also stated that Ferrari will be back to the top thanks to its strong driver line-up which includes McLaren’s outgoing driver Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc. 

“We know that they will have two very strong drivers with Carlos and Charles [Leclerc]. It must therefore be assumed that they will be back where we expected them this year. It will therefore be very difficult for us,” believed the McLaren Managing Director.


Ricciardo has been hailed as world champion material but he has never had the right machinery 

Brown could have a point here as Vettel has had questionable form in the last two years and the 2020 season was his worst season in his F1 career. Stroll often gets bandied as a pay driver because his father Lawrence Stroll owns the team.

Ocon will likely be massively outperformed by Fernando Alonso who makes his return to F1 in 2021 and is arguably the best driver of the last two decades with him being responsible for bringing an end to Michael Schumacher’s at the top of F1. 

Ferrari could be a force to reckon with as its team principal Mattia Binotto has said that its new engine is working well in the dyno tests. Ferrari may not have the best engine but Binotto has said that it will certainly not be the worst one.

Ferrari has also shown great reliability with its engines being the most reliable in the 2020 season. Its new team pairing could unlock more performance alongside its redesigned diffuser which is said to reduce the drag that has plagued its 2020 car. 


McLaren could also be more competitive as it will now have Mercedes engines which are likely to unlock more performance from the package, especially in power-hungry tracks. Ricciardo’s presence could also yield better results as he is considered to be one of the best drivers on the grid and perhaps the best overtaker of all the drivers in the current crop. 

For the latest auto news and reviews, follow carandbike.com on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Source: NDTV.com

The top six best-selling automotive products on Amazon

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

With the holidays here in full swing, many of us are scrambling to find last-minute gifts. If you’ve got a car lover in your life who you still need to buy for, hopefully we can give you a hand with that. In this list, we’re featuring the top six best-selling automotive products on Amazon, any of which would make a great gift. 

TICARVE Cleaning Gel for Car Detailing – $9.99 at Amazon.com

This alien-looking gel is actually a great tool for picking up dust in all of those hard-to-reach spots in your car (and in your house too!) It’s easy to use, carries a lavender fragrance, and according to the manufacturer it’s good for multiple uses. All it takes to start cleaning is to remove the putty from the jar, knead it a bit in your hands, press it against the surface you want to clean, then peel it away slowly and watch the dust come with it. The product has over 14,000 ratings on Amazon and is sitting at a total rating of 4.1 out of five stars. Amazon reviewer Andrea had this to say about the product in her five-star review:

Where has this been all my life? I never thought to use slime to get the crevices in my car clean. It’s so easy to just press or roll this around in the car picking up the dirt and crumbs vacuums are too stubborn to pick up. I do wish they tell you how to clean this product so that you don’t have a slime ball full of gunk, which would ultimately make this product less desirable since I want to use this product more than once.

Learn more about the cleaning gel right here.

Rain-X Latitude Water Repellency Wiper Blade, 18″ 2 Pack – $31.23 at Amazon.com

Has someone you know been complaining about a streaky windshield? It’s probably time for them to replace their wipers. These Rain-X Latitude water repellency wiper blades come in several different sizes, and don’t worry, it’s a two-pack. These blades also provide an extra bit of protection by applying a water repelling coating to your windshield that lasts for months. If you pick this pack up, make sure you get the right size! The blades have over 31,000 ratings and is sitting at a total rating of 4.6 out of five. Amazon reviewer MRH had this to say in their five-star review of the product:

Bought these for my GMC Sierra. I priced these out everywhere before I bought them on Amazon. Guess what… Yep, hard to beat Amazon on anything. These blades are very simple to replace your factory installed wipers on your vehicle and come with the needed attachments just in case you need them for your particular vehicle. When putting these on, make sure to follow the instructions for the Rain-X wiper blades to work properly … First, make sure your windshield is clean. Then, turn the wipers on and let them run on your dry windshield for several minutes, coating your windshield with Rain-X’s proprietary windshield repellant. You can look on YouTube for detailed instructions if you need them, but these are really very simple to put on. You won’t find a better or more durable windshield wiper blade for your money than Rain-X.

Learn more about the wiper blades right here. 

Hopkins 26″ Snow Brush – $8.84 (29% off) at Amazon.com

This is one of those things that just about everyone needs. Everyone, at least, who lives in a place where it snows. We’re just a few weeks out from peak snowy season so if you know anyone who doesn’t have a snow scraper in their trunk, do them a favor and pick one up for them! This one is the best selling snow scraper on Amazon. It currently has over 8,000 ratings and is sitting at a total score of 4.7 out of five stars. Amazon reviewer James had this to say in his five-star review of the product:

Bought a pair of these, one for my Titan XD Pro-4X pickup (which needs a VERY long reach to clear the center of the windshield) and one for my wife’s Toyota Prius (which most assuredly does not). The scraper and brush work fine, but the feature I most appreciate is the grip, which is very comfortable to use because of the cushioning and the ribbed design, which makes it easy to grip, even while wearing gloves.

Learn more about the Hopkins snow brush right here.

Govee Interior Car Lights – $23.99 at Amazon.com

These interior car lights would make a great gift for someone who loves to customize the look of their space. The light strips are suitable for any model of vehicle and can be customized via a smartphone app. They even have a built-in microphone so they can sync to your music as well. The lights have over 21,000 Amazon ratings and are currently sitting at a total rating of 4.6 out of five stars. Amazon reviewer Gret C. had this to say in their five-star review of the product:

Exactly what I was looking for! Such a fun accessory to my Wrangler. [It] can be controlled by the app on your phone or the control switches. [It also] has various different modes you can set, including sensitivity to music – which is super fun. Very satisfied!

Learn more about these car lights right here.

Battery Daddy, Battery Organizer and Storage Case with Tester – $31.74 at Amazon.com

This product isn’t strictly an automotive product, but it does show up in Amazon’s top-selling automotive products. It’s called a Battery Daddy, maybe the most off-putting name ever, but functionally it looks pretty darn useful. Essentially, it’s a battery organizer and case that can store all different types of batteries and it even includes a built-in battery tester. The case has over 3,000 ratings and is sitting at a total rating of 4.7 out of five. Reviewer Louise S. had this to say in their five-star review of the product:

Great Product. There are a lot of battery storage cases out [there], but this one stores the most, is easy to keep on the workbench, is affordable, [and] has a battery charge checker. I bought my first one at Home Depot but didn’t see it there again, so [I] went online to find it. [I] saw many types online, but held out till I saw the Battery Daddy. I bought 3 as gifts.

Want to learn more about the Battery Daddy? You can do so right here.

Thisworx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner – $34.99 (22% off) at Amazon.com

We all know someone who never seems to clean their car interior. To be fair, it’s not that easy if you don’t have a good handheld vacuum. Thankfully, handheld vacuums are super affordable nowadays, and this particular one is extremely popular, being the number 1 best-selling automotive product on Amazon. So, why not cut your messy friend a break and gift them this thing? The product has racked up over 62,000 Amazon ratings and is still sitting at a solid total rating 4.1 out of five stars. Amazon reviewer Ride-Share Driver had this to say in their five star review of the vacuum:

Excellent auto vacuum, but check you car’s fuse box and make sure it’s at least 15 amp because this vacuum blew the 10 amp fuse of the cigarette lighter outlet in my 2013 Subaru Outback. However, the Outback has a second power source located inside the console and it is rated at 20 amp. This is a terrific vacuum cleaner! Very easy to set up! This baby does the job! I drive for both ride-share companies and make it a point to keep my car spotless and this small but MIGHTY vacuum does the job! A clean car gets better tips!

If you want to learn more about this vacuum, you can do that right here.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Daimler Trucks fined up to $30 million for slow recalls

WASHINGTON — Failing to recall vehicles quickly enough could cost Daimler Trucks up to $30 million in fines and other costs.

In penalties announced Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Daimler also failed to comply with other reporting requirements. They include an upfront fine of $10 million, another $5 million the automaker must spend on safety enhancements, and a deferred $15 million penalty, which may or may not have to be paid.

The order stems from several recalls between 2017 and 2018, including one involving 464,000 vehicles. Daimler said there have been no known accidents or injuries related to what it called “voluntary recalls.”

The consent order, which lasts from two to three years, requires Daimler to improve its ability to detect and investigate potential safety defects in its vehicles. The company must also improve its collection of safety information from its businesses and report the information accurately to regulators at NHTSA. It also requires Daimler to develop written procedures and training for employees who work on recalls and reporting requirements.

“We appreciate the opportunity to summarily resolve this matter and continue building safe, efficient and reliable commercial vehicles,” Daimler Trucks said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Daimler Trucks agreed to meet with NHTSA on at least a monthly basis as part of the settlement.

“It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said.

In December 2019, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz USA unit agreed to a $20 million civil penalty over its handling of U.S. vehicle recalls after NHTSA said it failed to notify owners in a timely fashion in some recalls, did not submit all reports and did not launch at least two recalls in a timely fashion.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Magni honors its founder with the retro-styled Italia 01/01 motorcycle

Italian motorcycle manufacturer Magni introduced a model named Italia 01/01 designed as a tribute to its founder, Arturo Magni, who died in 2015. It blends a retro-styled design with a state-of-the-art engine from MV Agusta.

Magni founded the company that bears his name in 1977 after working for MV Agusta for 26 years; he notably ran its racing division. Fittingly, the Italia 01/01’s styling draws inspiration from classic MV Agusta race bikes with styling cues like a round headlight, an aerodynamic fairing that wraps around the handlebars, and a short tail.

Designers didn’t add panels to the bottom part of the bike, to keep the frame — which was designed in-house — and the engine exposed. Magni explained its founder preferred this look. He regularly pointed out that it “gave a sporty appearance to the bike while leaving all the beauty of the engine’s mechanical structure visible.”

Speaking of the engine, the Italia 01/01 is powered by an 798cc three-cylinder sourced from MV Agusta. Specifications haven’t been released, but the triple makes about 125 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque in its basic configuration. Brembo provided the brakes, Oram designed the suspension, and the 18-inch wheels came from JoNich. Magni noted it worked with Italian suppliers to build a bike named after its home country.

Magni hasn’t revealed what’s next for the Italia 01/01. We don’t know if it’s a one-off model, or if it’s headed to production in the coming months. If it’s built, it will undoubtedly be available in strictly limited numbers. We’ve reached out to the company for additional details, and we’ll update this story if we learn more.

MV Agusta explored the same facet of its heritage as Magni when it unveiled the Superveloce 800 in 2018. Presented as a concept, the bike went on sale with the same three-cylinder engine as the Italia in 2020.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Ford Fusion crossover prototype photos leak via Instagram

A prototype for what appears to be a Ford Fusion crossover wagon has leaked via Instagram. While the Fusion was sold in the States exclusively as a sedan, it has been offered in other variants overseas, where it is known as the Mondeo. Rumors have suggested that the nameplate could return on a midsize crossover/wagon (a la the Buick Regal TourX or Subaru Outback), and this might just be it. 

“Pay attention because the photos that you are going to see below point to be the first of the future Ford Mondeo that will stop being a traditional saloon and will become a mix of crossover and family car,” @cochespias said (translation approximate) in the accompanying post. 


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A post shared by CocheSpias (@cochespias)

It was photographed in what appears to be a service bay, so it’s hard to get a handle on the prototype’s size or proportions. The front end says “Edge” to our eyes, but the dramatic taper of the hatch makes it appear more wagon-like than Ford’s existing midsize crossover.

As you scroll through the images on the post, things get more interesting inside, where an almost-full-width screen steals the show. Since Ford is currently in the process of migrating toward the large, vertical screen design that first debuted with the Mach-E electric crossover, this go-wide strategy seems like a pretty significant departure from the company’s current design trends. This could indicate that we’re looking at a hand-built concept car rather than something indicative of the final production vehicle. The pretty blue dash trim lends some more credibility to this theory.

2020 brought the end of production of the Fusion sedan. It was Ford’s last practical model sold here with a trunk, and since the company’s announcement that it was bailing on the sedan market, there has been speculation that it would be replaced by an “Active” model, which Ford has used to denote lifted, vaguely rugged variants of its family haulers. Such an offshoot of the compact Focus already exists, and Ford was mulling bringing it state-side prior to the implementation of tariffs that made those plans cost-prohibitive. 

What we’re seeing here is a far cry from the prototypes first spotted more than a year ago, which were early mules operating under crudely stretched Ford Focus bodies. One mule was accompanied by a previous-generation Ford Escape, which offered some context. While the overall roofline was still fairly low for a crossover, it boasted the long wheelbase of a Fusion wagon to go with its exaggerated ride height. This is more chiseled, 

The hypothetical Fusion Active could kill two birds for Ford, both carrying on the Fusion nameplate and providing a more future-friendly replacement for the Flex, which managed to live years longer than its early sales figures suggested. As an added bonus, it should offer more versatility than the midsize Edge, which offers little upside over the redesigned (but slightly smaller) Escape. 

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Alfa Romeo goes hatchback-free after axing the Giulietta

Alfa Romeo exited the hatchback segment by ending production of the Giulietta, a Volkswagen Golf-sized model introduced in 2010. It’s planning on filling the void in its range with a city-friendly crossover in the coming years.

Honored with a heritage-laced nameplate, the Giulietta made its debut in Milan as Alfa Romeo celebrated its 100th birthday. Executives considered selling it in the United States but decided to keep it on the other side of the pond, though its basic platform underpinned the short-lived Dodge Dart. In its home country, the hatchback was positioned as a premium model that reflected the firm’s upmarket ambitions. It slotted beneath the Giulia.

Stylists made several visual tweaks to the Giulietta during its 10-year life cycle, and they managed to keep it looking relatively fresh. It’s a different story inside, where the 2020 model feels about as old as it is.

Alfa Romeo’s earlier hatchbacks — including the 147 — spawned high-performance variants that still raise eyebrows several decades after their launch, but the Giulietta never received the full go-fast treatment. Over the course of its production run, engine options ranged from a 104-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four to a 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged to 240 horsepower. Front-wheel-drive was the only configuration offered.

Over 400,000 units of the Giulietta were manufactured in Italy between 2010 and 2020. The final example was made shortly before Christmas, according to French website Caradisiac. We don’t know what it looks like or where it’s off to. Alfa could choose to put it in its collection, or it might send it to an unsuspecting dealer.

The news comes a couple of weeks after news that the slow-selling Alfa 4C Spider was among the cars that won’t be coming back in 2021.

What’s next?

Rumors claimed Alfa Romeo would develop a rear-wheel-drive successor to the third-generation Giulietta built on a shortened version of the Giulia’s platform. Had it been launched, this model would have undoubtedly become the enthusiast’s choice in its segment, especially because the BMW 1 Series went front-wheel-drive.

We don’t know if the reports were accurate, but what’s certain is that a new Alfa Romeo hatchback is not around the corner. Instead, the Giulietta’s spot in the range will soon be occupied by the production version of the Tonale concept (pictured above) introduced during the 2019 edition of the Geneva auto show. We expect to learn more details about the crossover — which will likely become Alfa’s best-seller — in the not-too-distant future.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

First Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition revealed

Aston Martin has revealed the first DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition – a unique version of the British brand’s flagship GT car, designed to mark the golden anniversary of Concorde’s first flight. Production of the special edition model will be limited to just 10 units.

The DBS Superleggera Concorde was commissioned by Aston Martin’s dealership in Bristol, which is little more than a stone-throw away from Aerospace Bristol at Flinton – the final resting place of the last airbourne Concorde. The museum was also once the location at which the British Concorde was manufactured.

As you would expect, the DBS Concorde features a host of styling revisions inspired by the supersonic airliner; it’s finished in the same colour as the passenger jet’s, while its roof, front splitter and rear diffuser bear the same British Airways livery. The paint scheme is complemented by a carbon fibre roof and a bespoke side strake milled from solid aluminium.

The limited edition model also features a silhouette of Concorde on its roof and a chromed version of the famous British Airways “Speedmarque” emblem on its front wings. The car’s side-skirts also wear the same Civil Aviation Authority aircraft identifier number as Concorde G-BOAC, which was the flagship of the British Concorde fleet until 31 October 2003.

Inside, the DBS Superleggera Concorde features a Mach Meter graphic embroidered on the driver’s sun visor, a bespoke Alcantara headlining with a “sonic boom” graphic, new paddle shifters made from recycled titanium from Concorde’s compressor blades and a pair of unique seats, printed with the Concorde logo and British Airways strake.

Aston Martin has also hidden a host of “easter eggs” around the DBS’s cabin, with Concorde emblems etched into the car’s paddle shifters, speaker surrounds, rear armrest and map-holder. Buyers also get a fresh pair of side steps, printed with the same logo and aircraft identification number as the exterior.

Like the standard Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, the Concorde Edition is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 engine, which produces 715bhp and 900Nm of torque. The engine sends its power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and offers a 0–62mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 211mph.

What do you make of the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Concorde? Let us know in the comments section below…

Source: www.autoexpress.co.uk

The smooth snake strikes back: German court stops Tesla’s logging again

BERLIN — A German court has ruled that automaker Tesla Inc. has to stop clearing trees on the site where it’s building its first electric car factory in Europe, the news agency DPA reported Thursday.

The top administrative court in the Berlin-Brandenburg region decided on a temporary ban for the clearing of the forest outside the German capital, after two environmentalist groups appealed against a lower court’s decision to allow the felling.

A court official said the ban would last until a decision was made on the appeal by the environmentalist groups NABU and Gruene Liga, dpa reported. The factory is meant to open next summer.

The groups claim that animals living in the forest haven’t been safely resettled before the clearing of the trees in an area of 83 hectares (200 acres). Specifically, the environmentalists worry about sand lizards and smooth snakes, NABU wrote on its website.

Both are protected species in Germany.

The company wants to start manufacturing 150,000 electric cars a year in the new plant from mid-2021, with plans to increase that number to half a million annually.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla announced late last year that it had decided to build its first European factory in the Berlin area. The planned site is at Gruenheide, just east of the capital in Brandenburg state.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 GMC Sierra Denali caught towing in new spy photos

The GMC Sierra 1500 was just redesigned for the 2019 model year, but the hyper-competitive half-ton segment will see an updated Denali offering for 2022 and, as we can see from these spy photos, GMC is already testing prototypes. 

There’s quite a bit covered up on this particular example, leading us to believe the Sierra Denali’s refresh will be on the heavy side. We’re not surprised, as GM’s usually comfortable position within the full-size segment has been eroded over the past few years, largely due to intrusion into the luxury market on the part of both Ford and Ram. 

From these shots, we can tell the Sierra Denali will get at least one new grille (if not several of them), new headlights, new bumpers, new bed sides, new tail lights and perhaps even an updated tailgate, though we expect that will matter more on trucks not equipped with the MultiPro multi-function tailgate option, which tends to take up a lot of stylistic real estate. 

As comprehensive as that may sound, it’s nothing compared to what GMC has in store for the Denali’s upgraded interior. Super Cruise — GM’s highway semi-self-driving suite — will headline the updates. This is big news for two reasons. For starters, Super Cruise has thus far been relegated only to Cadillac, so the Denali will likely be among the first outside of that model line to offer it. GM also claims that the version of Super Cruise coming to the Sierra is capable of towing. Yes, hands-free towing.

Besides Super Cruise the 2022 Sierra is getting a fully digital instrument cluster as part of what appears to be a fairly comprehensive interior redesign, different from both the current Sierra, standard Yukon and Yukon Denali interiors. 

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Cadillac confirms Blackwings will get manual transmissions and 3D-printed parts

Cadillac’s upcoming 2022 CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing will be the first GM production cars to utilize 3D-printed technology. In fact, the technology will be featured front and center on one of the cars’ most hotly anticipated features — in a decorative medallion atop the shift knob of the manual transmission.

Cadillac says that “additive manufacturing” (named as such because 3D printing accumulates tiny deposits of material to create the object) made the manual transmissions possible by reducing costs and waste. Aside from the medallion, the cars will employ two 3D-printed two HVAC ducts and an electrical harness bracket.

“[The manual transmission is] something we know V-Series buyers want and it’s something we knew we had to have, so we used innovative processes to make it happen,” said Cadillac performance variant manager Mirza Grebovic.

Speaking of which, Cadillac commissioned a Harris Poll survey about manual transmissions and received some interesting results. For example, 66 percent of American adults surveyed know how to drive manual, and 55 percent said they’ve owned a standard shift car. Of those who don’t, roughly 40 percent are either somewhat or very interested in learning. Interest is highest among two key demographics, 64 percent of those earning $75,000 or more in annual household income, and 62 percent of those ages 18-34.

The findings seem to contradict what many automakers have said about lack of interest in manuals, with some declaring a sub-1 percent take rate when manuals are offered. Perhaps with a performance-oriented car such as the V-series, buyer preferences change.

The mix of old school gearboxes and new school manufacturing techniques will result in what looks like a very potent car on paper. The CT5-V Blackwing is rumored to be powered by an updated 6.2-litter V8, while the CTS-4 Blackwing is said to be motivated by a turbo six. Neither will use the twin-turbo 4.2-liter V8 of their namesake, but they should prove to be worthy successors to the CTS-V and ATS-V.

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Source: AutoBlog.com