Mercedes’ W12 is alive – pump up the volume!

It’s hardly ground-breaking news, but reigning world champions Mercedes fired up their new W12 Black Arrow yesterday at Brackley.

The German outfit’s 2021 contender – an evolution of last year’s baseline dominant machine – will likely feature a few interesting aero tweaks when it is unveiled online on March 2.

But the Mercedes engine, which voiced a strong roar in the short clip released on social media, has been the subject of some cautious comments by Hywel Thomas, who has taken over from former engine guru Andy Cowell at the helm of Mercedes’ HPP power unit department in Brixworth.

Thomas admitted his team had faced a few issues over the winter as they worked to optimize the unit for 2021, but the Briton insisted that plans were in place to address the problems in time for the start of the season.

In addition to its works team, Mercedes will once again supply Williams and Aston martin F1 while the manufacturer has revived this year its partnership with McLaren.

At Brixworth, production is running at full capacity but has been adjusted to account for the additional engine supply associated with the Woking-based outfit.

“In terms of readiness, we’ve got plenty of engines in build at the moment getting ready for the new season,” said Thomas in a video released by Mercedes.

“We have already got some of them together and we have also got engines running on the dynos right now, doing their durability runs.

“There are also engines for our customers too, which are already with them and either in the back of their chassis and fired up or in the process of doing so.”

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Tost predicts 2021’s AlphaTauri will be faster car

AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost says that the team’s new car will be an improvement and faster than last year’s challenger, which dramatically claimed victory in the Italian Grand Prix in the hands of Pierre Gasly.

“We think we have a faster car this year but the stopwatch will tell,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport this week.

But whether that quicker pace will translate into another race win in 2021 remains to be seen, with Tost acknowledging that last year’s result in Monza had been down to a unique combination of factors.

  • Read also: AlphaTauri reveals launch date for 2021 contender

“Of course we hope to win a race like last year, that’s always the goal,” he acknowledged. “But we know that under normal conditions we cannot win.

“At Monza in 2020 we had a fast car and Gasly who drove great without making mistakes, but we were lucky with the [stop-go] penalty for [Lewis] Hamilton.”

That famous victory led to speculation that Gasly might be promoted back to the Red Bull line-up, where he spent the first half of the 2019 season before being swapped out in exchange for Alex Albon.

Albon has now lost the seat. his place taken by Sergio Perez with Gasly seemingly never in the running. But Tost says that’s actually a good thing, and that the Faenza environment is a better fit for Gasly right now.

“I think Gasly is happy to have stayed at AlphaTauri,” he said. “He loves the team and we love him.

“If he races in 2021 like he did in 2020 then he will definitely have the chance to race for Red Bull or another competitive team afterwards. He has everything in him to become a successful driver.”

This year Gasly will have a new partner on the grid with rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda replacing Daniil Kvyat in the second car.

The future of both AlphaTauri and Red Bull in F1 had been in doubt after the announcement of engine providers Honda to quit the sport.

But last week saw agreement on an engine development freeze allowing the two teams to continue using legacy power units for the next three seasons.

“Of course it’s important for us that the engine freeze comes now,” Tost said. “It’s important for the future, there were no alternatives for Red Bull.”

As for his own future in the sport, Tost doesn’t see himself moving on any time soon despite having been in charge of the team since its first days as Toro Rosso in 2006.

“I didn’t expect to still be there for so many years,” he admitted. “However after some 15 years I’m still happy to be here.

“I feel good here in Italy. I’m in a nice part here where there are a lot of suppliers to F1 teams. It’s a Motor Vally here, shall we say.”

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Isola praises Verstappen for tyre management skills

Pirelli boss Mario Isola has praised Red Bull driver Max Verstappen for his ability to manage tyres during a Grand Prix.

He also singled out Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and reigning world champion lewis Hamilton for their performances in 2020, and said it proved that the drivers’ skills were still a key factor in the increasingly technical sport.

“We are talking about the 20 best drivers in the world,” he told “It is clear that they have great skills.

“Every driver has his own driving style,” he added. “A driver can make the difference if he knows exactly how far he can push the tyre.

  • Read also: Pirelli sees ‘No reason’ to discard 2021 tyre despite criticism

“Max is a great driver in that respect,” Isola stated. “And Lewis for sure, but Charles is also very good at tyre management.”

Isola said that Verstappen’s abilities had caught his eye as long ago as a wet race in 2016, toward the end of the Dutch driver’s maiden season at Red Bull.

“I was impressed by Max in Brazil a few years ago,” he recalled. “His performance on a wet track was great.

“The conditions were the same for everyone but he drove unbelievably well,” he added. “Maybe the Red Bull car was suited to wet weather, but what he did was incredible regardless.”

Isola also highlighted a more recent dry weather outing in 2020, when Verstappen powered to an brilliant victory over Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at Silverstone in the 70th Anniversary race.

“We opted for a softer tyre at Silverstone [last] year and he was good,” Isola pointed out, while accepting that the car itself also played an crucial role in tyre management.

“The car is an important tool in making the tyres last longer,” he agreed. “Who knows, maybe the Mercedes car was a bit tougher on their tyres?

“I can’t claim that the Mercedes drivers were any less good than the rest that day,” he admitted.

Isola was one of several leading figures in F1 who tested positive for COVID during 2020, along with Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. He said he was amazed that the sport had successfully managed to pull off a full 17-race season despite the pandemic.

“If you think back to March, it is sort of a miracle,” he told GPFans. “It was really a bit of a nightmare at the beginning.

“I am not talking about production, how to deliver tyres, but how to manage the situation on track because the virus was something completely unknown.

“During the first lockdown, for example, in Italy, the situation was so complicated that we didn’t have a lot of COVID tests available,” he explained.

In the end, the FIA was able to implement safety protocols to protect everyone working in the F1 paddock as much as possible.

“Everybody gave some contribution to that [and] I believe that at the end of the day it was quite a good procedure,” he said. “Although we had positive cases the championship was able to continue and carry on.”

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WWE Star Charged With Assault, Cena's Show Flops, Special Judgment Day DVD

source: Wrestling Observer

Jerry Lawler has been charged with assault stemming from an incident last Friday night at Sam’s Town in Tunica, MS where he allegedly punched manager “The Big Cheese” Sal Corrente twice. The court date is scheduled for August 1, 2007, but only if papers are served Mississippi. Lawler is scheduled to wrestle on the July 20, 2007 Sam’s Town Memphis Wrestling show and Mississippi authorities are expected to serve Lawler the papers that night.

Last night’s edition of Fast Cars & Superstars on ABC did a 2.2 rating based on the fast nationals. John Cena was on the show. That’s a pretty bad number for a first-run show on primetime on a network such as ABC. The show’s season finale will air on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

If you go to Blockbuster Video for the Judgment Day DVD, it also has the Undertaker vs. Batista cage match from Smackdown and the Edge title win in a bonus disc. This exclusive disc is only available at Blockbuster.

RUMBLINGS on who the next WWE Diva to pose for PLAYBOY will be (>>)