Connect with us

News

Saudi Sports Company seals deal for exclusive AFC match media rights

DUBAI: Joy. Terror. Relief. And disappointment. In less than 24 hours, Edoardo Mortara experienced it all at the Diriyah E-Prix. In the still relatively novel world of Formula E, the man affectionately known as “Edo” was involved in two incidents that, rightly and then almost tragically, shone a light on the electric one-seater series like…

DUBAI: Joy. Terror. Relief. And disappointment.

In less than 24 hours, Edoardo Mortara experienced it all at the Diriyah E-Prix.

In the still relatively novel world of Formula E, the man affectionately known as “Edo” was involved in two incidents that, rightly and then almost tragically, shone a light on the electric one-seater series like rarely before.

On Feb. 26, ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Swiss-Italian driver finished second in the season-opening Diriyah E-Prix, having pulled off an overtaking maneuver that even now, weeks later, continues to defy the laws of physics.

The next morning, as he practiced for the second of the weekend’s double-header of night races, his brakes failed, forcing him to crash head-on into a barrier.

An emergency trip to hospital thankfully showed no serious physical damage, but for a few terrifying moments he was not in charge of his own destiny. In his own words, he was a “passenger”.

“It was not nice,” Mortara said with a heavy dose of understatement.

“Luckily for us drivers, and luckily for me these [accidents] don’t happen that often. We had a technical issue with the car, the brakes didn’t work. I couldn’t do anything, but I’m glad that I have no major injuries, that I’m feeling healthy. Mentally, psychologically I’ve got absolutely no issues. I can’t wait to be back in the car in Rome.”

Rome is where the third and fourth rounds – and second venue – of the 2020-21 Formula E season will take place, and Mortara – seven-time winner at the Macau Grand Prix – says he’s hungrier than ever to get going again. Not surprisingly, he’s happier discussing his second-place finish in Saudi than what happened the following day.

“The Friday race went really well for us,” he said.

“The weekend went really well, we were quite competitive, I never finished outside the top five or six in every session. We had good qualifying sessions, we were in Super Pole. And the race also went well for us, we showed good signs of competitiveness that weekend. We’re extremely happy about that and hopefully we’re going to have more weekends like this.”

The celebrations when Mortara crossed the finish line, particular by Team Principal Susie Wolff, were arguably the highlight of the weekend.

“You cannot believe what relief it was to get the season off to such a strong start because a lot in motorsports is about momentum,” Wolff, who joined ROKiT Venturi Racing 2018, said.

“We had obviously had a poor end to season six which had made us even more determined, but we just needed that energy of the podium back into the team.”

More than just the podium finish, there was that move.

“The double overtake from Edo will go down in history as one of the moves of Formula E and it was very exciting for us to watch the race,” she added.

“The second race was out of our hands with a technical issue, but to see how much pace the car has is hugely encouraging.”

Mortara had recovered sufficiently to return to the Diriyah circuit, and was even passed fit to race.

In the meantime, ROKiT Venturi’s two Mercedes-engine cars – as well as the two Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team cars – had been barred from taking part in the qualifying until further investigation, meaning he and team-mate Norman Nato would have to start from the back of the grid.

“Things unraveled very quickly, because from us having the accident, suddenly it became clear that there was an issue with the brake in the car, and the FIA declared that all four cars couldn’t compete in qualifying,” said Wolff.

“For us it was simply controlling the controllable and managing the uncontrollable. And that situation was simply out of our hands because we are the customer team. We had to make the best of the situation, we couldn’t repair Edo’s car in time.”

“In hindsight I think that was the best outcome, that he didn’t participate in the race,” she said.

“I don’t think physically that would have been the right decision. But he was very keen to get back in the car. Having been a racing driver, I realize that after you’ve had a big shunt, you are keen to get back out. But then, it was just damage limitation.”

Mortara will be back in the car on Saturday and Sunday as Wolff and her team look to press on from what will still be seen as a strong start to the season, with 18 points leaving the Venturi Racing sixth out of 12 teams in the early championship table.

Neither driver – fourth in the drivers’ standings with 18 points – nor Team Principal, however, are reading too much into the results.

“I don’t think just because we had a strong start to the season that it’s a guarantee for continued success,” Wolff said.

“We will turn up in Rome next weekend starting from zero again and very much want to demonstrate what our potential performance can be. In Formula E there are so many variables, like the qualifying format which work against you if you are high up in the championships. It’s simply about keeping our feet on the ground and taking each event as it comes.”

“Consistency is the key to success overall in Formula E, and consistency is one of the big challenges in Formula E,” she added.

“Because of the one-day format, it just needs one small incident and that can have quite big impact, so we need to minimize the errors, make sure that we can find that consistency, and I think the one big difference to last season is that I do think we have a stronger package than previously so that gives me optimism.”

Mortara, now in his fourth season at ROKit Venturi Racing, echoes Wolff’s caution but sees positive signs that the car is an improvement on the one he drove last season.

“Clearly we are more competitive than before,” he said.

“The problem is that everyone is working, everyone is taking steps forward so you cannot really judge your work compared to the others. Maybe they are taking even bigger steps. This is what we are going to discover. I’m pretty optimistic and positive about this season, I’ve got good confidence and feeling about the car. That’s already a good sign.”

This weekend saw the hosting of the first ever Extreme E series in AlUla, Said Arabia, which Wolff believes will help raise the profile of electric car racing further. But challenges remain.

“I think Covid was impactful for every sport but particularly for Formula E because we race in city centres, which really compromised what our business model is,” Wolff said.

“But we’ve signed some great broadcasting deals recently which means our reach will be much greater. I do think there’s great management team in place at Formula E. But we’ve got to see the numbers grow and in the end everything is data driven these days and the numbers will show if we’re growing with enough pace. But I certainly believe in the platform and hope to see that grow her the next few seasons.”

While Mortara sees more drivers being attracted to the format in the coming years, he believes that Formula E and electric racing have earned the right to be mentioned alongside some of the more established motoring events.

“It needs to have even more hype than what it has now,” he said.

“There is Extreme E, but these are the only two motorsport championships directly promoting sustainability. I would love to see more hype around these two championships because they deserve that.”

“Formula E has done incredible work and hopefully in the future it can keep on rising,” Mortara said. “We’ll get the recognition we deserve.”

And this time, for all the right reasons.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code

News

Hostage policemen released by TLP religious party after government negotiations

PARIS: France is imposing entry restrictions on travelers from four countries — Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil — in hopes of keeping out especially contagious coronavirus variants, the government has announced. The restrictions include mandatory 10-day quarantines with police checks to ensure people arriving in France observe the requirement.  Travelers from all four countries will…

PARIS: France is imposing entry restrictions on travelers from four countries — Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Brazil — in hopes of keeping out especially contagious coronavirus variants, the government has announced.

The restrictions include mandatory 10-day quarantines with police checks to ensure people arriving in France observe the requirement.  Travelers from all four countries will be restricted to French nationals and their families, EU citizens and others with a permanent home in France.

France previously suspended all flights from Brazil. The suspension will be lifted next Saturday, after 10 days, and the new restrictions “progressively” put in place by then, the government said. 

The flight suspension for Brazil will be lifted followed by “drastic measures” for entering France from all four countries, plus the French territory of Guiana, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The four countries “are the most dangerous in terms of the number of variants that exist and in the evolution of the pandemic in these countries,” Le Drian said Saturday on the France 3 television station.

The list of countries subject to tougher border checks could be extended, he said.

Under the new restrictions, travelers must provide an address for where they plan to observe the 10-day confinement period and police will make visits and fine those who are found in violation, the government said.

Along with the mandatory quarantine, France is requiring more stringent testing for the coronavirus. 

Travelers must show proof of a negative PCR test taken less than 36 hours instead of 72 hours before they boarded a flight, or a negative antigen test less than 24 hours

France has reported the deaths of 100,00 people in the COVID-19 pandemic.

A variant first identified in England spread to continental Europe and is now responsible for about 80 percent of the virus cases in France, while the variants first seen in Brazil and South Africa make up less than 4% of French infections, Health Minister Olivier Veran said last week.

Continue Reading

News

UEFA says will ban clubs who take part in breakaway ‘European Super League’

LONDON: Chelsea ended Manchester City’s quest for a historic quadruple of trophies as Hakim Ziyech’s goal earned a 1-0 win to take the Blues into the FA Cup final on Saturday. A damaging day for City also saw them lose Kevin De Bruyne to an ankle injury just over a week away from the League Cup…

LONDON: Chelsea ended Manchester City’s quest for a historic quadruple of trophies as Hakim Ziyech’s goal earned a 1-0 win to take the Blues into the FA Cup final on Saturday.

A damaging day for City also saw them lose Kevin De Bruyne to an ankle injury just over a week away from the League Cup final, where they face Tottenham, and the first leg of their Champions League semifinal against Paris Saint-Germain.

Chelsea were good value for another impressive win under Thomas Tuchel and will be favorites for the German’s first silverware in English football when they face Leicester or Southampton May 15.

Tuchel could land an even bigger prize in the Champions League just months after replacing the sacked Frank Lampard in January.

His side showed they can get the better of City in what could be a dress rehearsal for the Champions League final should the English clubs see off PSG and Real Madrid in the last four.

The physical demands of City’s bid for a clean sweep of trophies was shown as Pep Guardiola made eight changes from the side that beat Borussia Dortmund in midweek with goalscorers Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez among those rotated.

Tuchel made just three changes and Chelsea looked the far less disjointed side in a bright start.

Timo Werner’s cross was swept home by Ziyech after just six minutes, but the goal was ruled out for offside against the German international.

That proved to be the only shot on target of a cagey first 45 minutes that did little to whet the appetite of a potential reunion in Istanbul for European club football’s greatest prize on May 29.

Despite the number of changes, the ease with which Chelsea were able to spring quick counter-attacks will be of concern to Guardiola with the fearsome duo of PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Neymar to come.

From one slick break, Chelsea’s wing backs combined but Ben Chilwell could only slice Reece James’s cross wide.

City got to half-time without any damage on the score line, but suffered a potentially huge blow to their hopes of still clinching a treble of trophies early in the second half.

Just 11 days before the first leg of the PSG tie, De Bruyne appeared to roll his ankle in a challenge with N’Golo Kante and was replaced by Foden.

City were still reeling from the loss of the Belgium attacker when they were finally caught out by the Chelsea counterattack.

Guardiola’s decision to retain Zack Steffen in goal for domestic cup competitions backfired as the American was caught in no man’s land when Werner raced in behind and once again squared for Ziyech to roll into an empty net.

Steffen made some measure of amends moments later to deny Ziyech a second when the Moroccan was clean through.

City took until the final 20 minutes to get going, but their best chance of sending the game to extra time came from a corner as Ruben Dias headed over from close range.

Instead, it was Chelsea who found the net again through Christian Pulisic in stoppage time only for the offside flag to again come to City’s rescue.

But there was no saving a bid for history for Guardiola’s men as they cannot now better Manchester United’s treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup from 1998/99.

Continue Reading

News

Gaza man winning hearts by donating traditional food to the poor

BEIRUT: Controversial Lebanese judge and Mount Lebanon state prosecutor Ghada Aoun carried out a second raid on a money exchange in northern Lebanon on Saturday in defiance of a senior judiciary decision dismissing her from an investigation into possible currency export breaches. Aoun was accompanied by several activists from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) during…

BEIRUT: Controversial Lebanese judge and Mount Lebanon state prosecutor Ghada Aoun carried out a second raid on a money exchange in northern Lebanon on Saturday in defiance of a senior judiciary decision dismissing her from an investigation into possible currency export breaches.

Aoun was accompanied by several activists from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) during the raid on the money exchange in the Awkar district in northern Lebanon.

Less than 24 hours earlier she raided the office with members of the security services.

Aoun remained in the money exchange for several hours on Friday in protest at her dismissal by the the discriminatory Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, a decision that caused widespread anger among the Lebanese public.

Caretaker Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm held an emergency meeting on Saturday with Oweidat as well as Supreme Judicial Council head Judge Suhail Abboud and Judicial Inspection Authority head Judge Borkan Saad.

After the meeting Najm voiced her anger at the situation regarding the judiciary, saying that she refuses to be “a false witness to the decay of the judiciary and the fall of the fig leaf in this state.”

Najm said the events involving Aoun are an indication of “the failure of state institutions.”

Lebanon is facing a political and economic crisis amid disputes between state officials, a deadlock that has led to the collapse of the national currency.

However, critics accuse Aoun of a lack of respect for due process.

HIGHLIGHT

Caretaker Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm held an emergency meeting on Saturday with Oweidat as well as Supreme Judicial Council head Judge Suhail Abboud and Judicial Inspection Authority head Judge Borkan Saad.

There are six criminal cases and 28 complaints against her before the Judicial Inspection Authority — the largest number of cases filed against any judge in the history of the Lebanese judiciary.

Aoun was investigating the Mecattaf money exchange company and Societe Generale Bank for allegedly withdrawing dollars from the market and shipping the funds abroad.

The Supreme Judicial Council dismissed Aoun along with two other judges who had previously been suspended by the Disciplinary Council for Judges.

Judge Oweidat on Friday asked the Director-General of State Security, Maj. Gen. Antoine Saliba, to suspend the officers who accompanied Aoun on the exchange office raid.

People in Lebanon on Friday watched on TV as Aoun requested that the money exchange office be sealed because the owner, Michel Mecattaf, refused to provide her with details of currency transfers on behalf of banks.

Earlier, Mecattaf’s agents informed Aoun that she had been dismissed from the case.

Aoun remained alone for hours inside the office after state security personnel left. A medical team checked on her after her blood pressure rose, and she left the premises soon after. Later she stepped on to the balcony of her home to wave to FPM supporters, who gathered outside to offer support.

After Aoun’s second raid on Saturday, the head of the Mecattaf financial company accused her supporters of “breaking into private property by force.”

Mecattaf described the case as “eminently political,” saying that he is “a witness and not a convict.”

Najm described the events as “unacceptable.”

“I am not in a position to please this political party or that team. We want an effective and independent judiciary. The problem is not the laws — oversight and accountability have been absent for years,” she said.

Najm also said that “the judiciary is incapable of fighting corruption,” and called on judges to “rise up against this reality.”

She added: “There is a lack of confidence in the judiciary, and this is a major insult.”

Retired General Prosecutor Hatem Madi told Arab News: “Judge Oweidat’s decision shows that some judges are working independently, but things must be put to rights. Regardless of whether Oweidat’s decision was right or wrong, the public prosecution offices in Lebanon must be an integrated unit.”

The decision to dismiss Aoun revived a political dispute between the FPM and the Future Movement, the two parties in conflict over the formation of the government.

The FPM, headed by MP Gebran Bassil, said that it will “continue to expose every file related to the fight against corruption,” saluting “every judge who rightfully performs their duties despite the injustice to which they are sometimes exposed.”

The Future Movement said that “mourning for judges after encouraging them to violate laws and asking them to open discretionary files for opponents is a matter that no longer fools any of the Lebanese people.”

 

Continue Reading
error: Content is protected !!