Tag: The Guardian

F1: Sebastian Vettel’s grid penalty greeted with dismay at US GP

Sebastian Vettel is expected to miss Saturday’s qualifying at the US Grand Prix due to one of F1’s more arcane rules.

Race officials in Texas have reacted with dismay to the news that Sebastian Vettel is set to miss Saturday’s qualifying session at the US Grand Prix, which would mean him starting the race from the pit lane.

The Red Bull driver and world champion for the past four years faces sitting out qualifying because he has used up his full allocation of five power units and will need to fit a new one for Austin.

It means Vettel will incur a five- to 10-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race and, as that makes it likely he would start towards the back, he is expected to opt out of qualifying to save mileage on his new engine. He may also opt not to drive in the three practice runs on Friday and Saturday for the same reason.

Bobby Epstein, the co-founder of the Circuit of the Americas, said: “I’m sorry to hear that he might not run in qualifying. It’s just too bad. I would like to see him start on the grid on Sunday. It won’t affect our ticket sales because most of the people come here for the overall experience but it’s nevertheless unfortunate.”

Vettel expects to pay the engine penalty this weekend. “It looks like it will happen in Austin,” he said. “The rule is completely stupid. So the people turn on the television and see a driver who just stands around and has nothing to do.”

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F1: Marussia follow Caterham into administration before US GP

Marussia have become the second Formula One team in a matter of days to be placed in administration.

The London-based restructuring and recovery firm FRP Advisory has taken on the role of administrator, and confirmed Marussiawill miss the United States Grand Prix in Austin.

A statement from FRP confirmed the company, known as Manor Grand Prix Racing Limited and trading as Marussia F1 Team, “will continue to operate while the joint administrators assess the longer-term viability of the company in its present form”.

Caterham entered administration on Friday and have been given special dispensation to miss the next two grands prix while a buyer is sought. Last Monday a company known as Caterham Sports Limited also went into administration. CSL supplies and makes cars for 1MRT, the entity which owns the licence for Caterham to race in F1.

Following a mud-slinging dispute between the past and present owners of Caterham in the days that followed, on Friday it was decided the administrators of CSL, the London-based accountancy Smith & Williamson, would be handed full-management responsibility for the team.

Smith & Williamson is already working to find a buyer of “substantial financial means” for Caterham.

Ecclestone also granted Marussia dispensation, with the Banbury-based team also able to miss the race at Interlagos should they require to do so.

One of the joint administrators from FRP – Geoff Rowley – said: “Whilst the team has made significant progress during its relatively short period of operation, the highlight of which included securing two constructors’ championship points in the current F1 season, the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment.

“With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long-term future, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the company into administration.

“The joint administrators have assessed that, given the current financial circumstances of the group, it is not viable for the Marussia F1 team to participate in the next race, the 2014 Formula One United States Grand Prix, due to take place this weekend in Austin, Texas.

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F1: Lewis Hamilton wins Russian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg

There was plenty of exultation, of course, in the Mercedes garage after they won the constructors’ championship for the first time.

They went into the race needing 25 points to make sure of the team title and scored a maximum 43. They also took another hefty stride towards the individual prize.

Hamilton became one of only four drivers to win nine races in a season. For the second time in a year he has also won four races in succession, equalling the achievement of Michael Schumacher in 2004. His 31st victory pulled him level with Nigel Mansell as Britain’s most successful F1 driver. He is going from strength to stranglehold in this world championship and if he does not win the thing it will be a travesty.

Hamilton has won five more races than his sole rival, his team-mate Nico Rosberg, but leads by only 17 points with that ridiculous and possibly championship-spoiling, double-points season-ender in Abu Dhabi next month.

Rosberg, though, provided the outstanding drive here. He drove 52 laps on the same set of medium tyres to take second place,more than 13sec behind Hamilton.

Hamilton, starting from his seventh pole of the season, defended his advantage by cutting across Rosberg, but the German drew level and then moved slightly ahead of his great rival. But as he did so he locked up and flat-spotted his tyres, forcing him to pit for fresh rubber on only the second lap.

When he asked about strategy he was told he would probably have to finish the race without making another stop. He not only finished it but made up 21 places, getting annoyed on separate occasions near the end, when he was expected to come in for another change. It was an astonishing performance in view of the fact that some drivers had to make two stops and others struggled to get to halfway without coming in for a change.

Rosberg, who appears to have been in decline during Hamilton’s recent onslaught, was phlegmatic enough after his costly error. “It was just a mistake on my side,” he said.

“I just braked too late, that was it. It was very unnecessary. It was my corner and I am very disappointed with that. After that my tyres were square so I couldn’t see where I was going and had to pit.

“I thought that was the end of the day, so partly I’m happy to have managed to get back all the way to second. In hindsight, I could have pushed more during the race. It’s always easy to know more afterwards. In the end my tyres were fine. It is a pity. I just messed up. Very simple explanation – I braked too late and too hard.”

It was also a good afternoon for Valtteri Bottas, in his Williams, who took his fifth podium position of the season to go fourth in the title race behind Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas said: “The beginning seemed to be very good and I was not far off from Lewis and everything was going to plan. The tyres were feeling good and suddenly the rear tyres started to go, started to lose pace and I was struggling more and more and Lewis was getting far away.

“Then we stopped for the prime [medium tyre] and it took just a really long time to get it to work. It was weird.”

But the Williams performance chief, Rob Smedley, said: “Valtteri’s always very good at being self-critical and trying to look inward, which is a hugely commendable attribute that he has as a racing driver, but I think the reality is he was beaten by a much, much quicker car.”

Jenson Button was fourth, one place ahead of his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, as McLaren continued their impressive weekend in Russia, positively effulgent by their recent modest standards.

Button was cautious about describing McLaren’s result as a turning point. “Some of it is the circuit, but also I think we have improved the set-up of the car and we have found some other things that work for us,” he said.

“We’ll see when we get to Austin [on 2 November]. I look forward to seeing where we stand. The Tarmac is very similar to here, just a lot more traction zones. To finish fourth is the best result we’ve had in a little while, but you still want more. You are disappointed because you want to be on the podium.”

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Cricket: England thrash India at The Oval to secure 3-1 victory in Test series

Chris Jordan took career-best figures of four for 18 as England wraopped up a comprehensive win over India at The Oval.

On a late summer Kennington afternoon, India suffered their final humiliation of a month that had already seen indignity heaped on indignity. Faced with the task of making 338 in their second innings even for England to bat again, they had capitulated with almost relentless predictability by 4.20pm, dismissed for 94, leaving England winners by an innings and 244 runs. Only at Lord’s, in 1974, when the margin was an innings and 285, have England delivered a bigger beating to India, for whom this represents their third heaviest innings defeat.

Thus, England, seemingly on the ropes and in crisis only a few weeks ago, after they themselves had been dismissed ignominiously at Lord’s, finish the summer having won the last three matches by 266 runs at Ageas Bowl; an innings and 54 at Old Trafford; and now this. It also means that England retain the Pataudi Trophy that they won under Andrew Strauss and retained under Alastair Cook in India.

The England seam bowlers were irresistible, aided by the substantial movement, both in the air and from the pitch of a kind that has made batting a trial throughout this match, and indeed the last four matches, and by the technical and mental inadequacies of the Indian batting. The chief beneficiary was Chris Jordan, who polished things off with clinical precision, taking 4 for 18, with Jimmy Anderson taking 2 for 16, and Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes taking a wicket apiece for 22 and 24 runs respectively. There were two run outs.

Anderson stands only four wickets short of overtaking Ian Botham’s England record of 383 wickets, but must wait at least until Antigua in April for the opportunity to do so in what would be his 100th Test match. In taking 25 wickets at 20.6 runs apiece, Anderson was the obvious choice for Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, to nominate as England’s man of the series.

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Football: Luis Suarez loses appeal against four-month biting ban but clear to train

Luis Su¡rez has been cleared to make his debut for Barcelona on Monday after being allowed to train with his new team-mates and play in friendlies.

Although the court of arbitration for sport (Cas) has upheld the striker’s ban and fine for biting the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup, Su¡rez has won a victory of sorts after the punishment was softened.

The 27-year-old remains ineligible to play in competitive matches during the four-month ban period, and his nine-game international suspension stays in place, but he will participate in training on Friday.

Su¡rez, who has been forced to train alone in a hidden area of Catalonia, can also now, belatedly, be presented as a Barcelona player when the club take on Mexico’s Club Le³n in a pre-season friendly at Camp Nou.

“The sanctions imposed on the player by Fifa have been generally confirmed,” Cas said in a statement, meaning the earliest the striker can return for Barcelona in a competitive fixture is 26 October when, as fate would have it, the club face Real Madrid at the Bernab©u in the firstcl¡sico of the season.

“However, the four-month suspension will apply to official matches only and no longer to other football-related activities (such as training, promotional activities and administrative matters).”

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Women’s Rugby World Cup: England 40-7 Ireland

England beat Ireland to reach final of Women’s Rugby World Cup

Relentless, classy England swatted aside a disappointing Ireland to book a place in their fourth consecutive Women’s Rugby World Cup final. Marlie Packer bagged a late brace of converted tries, but Emily Scarratt was the stand-out performer for a team whose superior fitness, experience, forward play and often bewitching lines of running meant, if anything, the 33-point margin of victory flattered their opponents.

A similar performance in Sunday’s final ought to end a 12-year hoodoo in which England have notched up an unenviable hat-trick of final defeats, all at the hands of New Zealand. A fourth would be unthinkable, but at least now they can look forward to the psychological boost of a change of foe, following the shock early exit of the Silver Ferns from this Gallic rugby jamboree.

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Football: Barcelona hint at more signings after Thomas Vermaelen completes move

Barcelona’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has not ruled out more signings to follow Thomas Vermaelen as the Catalan club continue their summer of rebuilding.

Vermaelen completed his move to Bar§a on Sunday, signing a five-year contract at Camp Nou after joining from Arsenal for a fee that may eventually rise to £15m.

The Belgium international and former club aptain at Arsenal joins Luis Su¡rez, Ivan Rakitic, Claudio Bravo, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and J©r©my Mathieu as newcomers at Bar§a, who will be under the guidance of a new coach, Luis Enrique, next season as they look to recover from a hugely disappointing campaign last year under Gerardo Martino.

Speaking at Vermaelen’s presentation, Zubizarreta said he is very happy with the talent Bar§a now have at their disposal, but also revealed that the club are still open to more additions if the right players become available.

He said: “With the addition of Thomas we completed a defensive line of a very high level. There are options that we are working on for the exit of some players, as such we’re not discarding so that others could come in.

“What I can say is that at midnight on 31 August we hope to have the best squad possible. Even though we are very happy with the players that we have if there is a chance to improve it, we will try.

“Until the 1st or 2nd [of September], when we talk about the market being closed, anything could happen.”

Zubizarreta preferred not to talk about specific targets, who reportedly still include Fiorentina’s Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado, while he also said Bar§a had not received any offers for their full-back Dani Alves.

Vermaelen was not short of suitors as it became increasingly clear his future lay away from Arsenal, with Manchester United one of the clubs heavily linked with his services, but the 28-year-old insisted it was a “dream” for him to move to Camp Nou.

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Champions League: Legia Warsaw investigated by Uefa for fielding ‘ineligible’ player against Celtic

Legia Warsaw’s 6-1 aggregate victory over Celtic is under investigation after the Polish club allegedly fielded an ineligible player

Celtic could be handed a sensational Champions League reprieve after Uefa launched an investigation into the eligibility of one of Legia Warsaw’s players during their 6-1 aggregate win over the Scottish champions.

The Polish side confirmed that they had been asked for information from the European governing body.

A statement on Legia’s official website read: “The club announces that in connection with the Celtic FC-Legia Warsaw match in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League, Uefa opened an investigation into the participation of Bartosz Bereszynskiego.

“The club is preparing the relevant information and explanations, which will be sent to Uefa today.

“The result of the investigation will be announced immediately after its completion.”

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Cycling: Bradley Wiggins added to Team Sky’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic squad

Sir Bradley Wiggins will compete on the road for Team Sky in the RideLondon-Surrey classic on Sunday

The former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins will return to the road after his Commonwealth Games track exploits in the elite Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday.

Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012, is a late addition to the Team Sky squad having won a silver medal for England in the team pursuit in Glasgow.

“We are delighted to welcome Sir Bradley to Prudential RideLondon this weekend,” said the race director Mick Bennett in a statement. “He completes an already first-class lineup for the event.”

Wiggins will join such riders as Philippe Gilbert, Laurens ten Dam, Mark Renshaw, Alessandro Petacchi and Elia Viviani in the 200km elite race.

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Golf: Tiger Woods declares himself fit to play and win US PGA Championship

Tiger Woods has declared himself pain-free and claimed he can win the US PGA Championship after recovering from injury to make a surprise arrival at the final major of the year.

Woods’s future looked ominous on Sunday when he withdrew halfway through the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. The 38-year-old was in pain from spasms in his lower back, the area where Woods had surgery on a nerve on 31 March.

It was widely assumed there was no chance of him playing here. Yet the 14-times major winner appeared at the course on Wednesday afternoon, when he played the outward half before chipping and putting on the back nine. Woods then confirmed he would make his 8.35am (13.35 BST) tee time for the first round.

Asked if he believed he could win, Woods replied with a firm “yes” before adding: “I’m not in any pain. That is the good part. I’ll just try to play well. That’s the only thing I can control. I’ll try to go out there and win this event. That’s all I’m focused on.”

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