Red Bull seeking clarification on Mercedes steering system



FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 28, 2019 Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

July 3, 2020

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) – Red Bull are seeking clarification from Formula One’s governing body about a controversial new Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system being used by champions Mercedes at this weekend’s Austrian season-opener, team boss Christian Horner said on Friday.

Mercedes confirmed they were running the system at the Red Bull Ring.

The governing FIA has said the system will not be allowed next year, despite the cars remaining essentially the same due to new rules being postponed to 2022, but have not banned it for 2020.

“It’s a complicated system, a clever system and obviously we’re after some clarifications from the FIA, just start raising some questions about it,” Horner told Sky F1 television when asked whether Red Bull had their own version.

“It depends what it actually does and achieves. Everything has to earn its place on the car… these rules are so complex, it’s just understanding which parts of the regulations it fits,” he added.

The DAS system allows a driver to change the ‘toe angle’ of the front wheels by pushing and pulling on the steering wheel, rather than just moving it sideways.

Austria will be the first opportunity for Mercedes to race with it, having tried it out in testing in February, and also for teams to lodge a protest against it if so-minded.

Formula One has a long-established process for challenging innovations that exploit loopholes in the rules, with teams making a protest to race stewards and presenting their arguments.

The stewards then make a ruling, which can in turn be appealed.

Mercedes, with six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, are chasing a seventh successive title double this season. Red Bull were third overall last year but could be the German manufacturer’s biggest challengers in 2020.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)





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Match of the Day: Alan Shearer & Jermaine Jenas discuss Spurs VAR controversy


Match of the Day’s Jermaine Jenas says VAR is “making the game worse” while fellow pundit Alan Shearer says VAR referee Michael Oliver would be “embarrassed” following a decision against Spurs. A goal by Harry Kane was controversially disallowed for a handball by Lucas Moura during their 3-1 defeat by Sheffield United.

MATCH REPORT: Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham



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Motor racing: No fans, just cows in campsites ahead of closed Austrian GP



Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 2, 2020 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel walks on the track with team members wearing a protective face mask ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, as F1 resumes following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

July 2, 2020

By Leonhard Foeger

SPIELBERG, Austria (Reuters) – The signage outside the Red Bull Ring declares ‘Welcome Race Fans’ but none were to be seen on Wednesday as the Austrian circuit prepared for Formula One’s first Grand Prix without spectators.

Cows grazed in a field that normally serves as a crowded campsite near to the circuit, while workers carried out tasks around the track.

There were no tents, no fans and no curious bystanders other than some local cyclists going for a spin along the road outside.

A small thunderstorm broke in the evening over a deserted paddock stripped of the usual palatial motorhomes that the teams use to entertain guests and sponsors and to feed their staff in shifts.

None will be needed this weekend as the sport gets to grips with a ‘new normal’ following the COVID-19 epidemic that has forced a delay of more than 100 days for the season to get going.

Sunday will be the first time that Austria has hosted a season-opener and the race will also be the latest start date to a championship.

The 10 teams were flying in on charter planes to the private terminal at nearby Zeltweg airport, from where they went directly to isolation in hotels before the routine of transfers to and from the circuit.

Formula One will operate in ‘bubbles within bubbles’, the teams keeping apart from each other and the outside world and also working in various sub-groups to minimise the risk of contagion.

All tested negative for COVID before departure and will have to undergo tests every five days for the next three weeks with two back-to-back races in Austria followed by a trip to nearby Hungary.

The drivers will face the world’s media on Thursday via virtual news conferences, with all but a small contingent of permanently accredited reporters participating from afar.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)





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Sport to pay tribute to National Health staff on 72nd anniversary


There have been messages of thanks to the NHS and key workers at various football grounds

Sports across England will pay tribute to NHS staff when the organisation marks its 72nd anniversary on Sunday.

The ‘Thank You Together’ moment will also be for key workers, good neighbours and others playing a part in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

It is scheduled for 17:00 BST on 5 July when people are being asked to applaud on their doorsteps.

Team GB and the Football Association are among the sporting bodies supporting the tribute.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union, Premier League, English Football League and Premiership Rugby are also marking the occasion.

“It is great to see football, along with cricket and rugby, coming together with the NHS, on its birthday, to thank all the key workers with one big final nationwide clap,” said BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker.

“Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period. But think about how we can all help come together and start to build even better communities and a country we can be even more proud of.”

How sport is paying tribute:

  • The FA will have a #ThankYouTogether mosaic on Wembley’s big screens over the weekend
  • Premier League and EFL matches this weekend will be preceded by a moment of applause
  • England’s Test series against West Indies will be named the #raisethebat series
  • England’s rugby union head coach Eddie Jones and his players will record a personal thank you message
  • Premiership Rugby players and coaches will also be recording personal thank you messages to key workers



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Golf: With weight off his shoulders, Atwal looks to regain form



FILE PHOTO: India’s Arjun Atwal tees off on the 15th hole at Spyglass Hill golf course during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

July 1, 2020

(Reuters) – India’s Arjun Atwal has turned up lighter, stronger and pain-free for this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic as he seeks to follow Phil Mickelson’s example for longevity on the PGA Tour.

Since becoming the PGA Tour’s first Indian winner at the 2010 Wyndham Championship, Atwal has spent much of the last decade batting inconsistent form and career-threatening shoulder and wrist injuries.

The 47-year-old says he is drawing inspiration from five-times major champion Mickelson, who lost 15 pounds last year to get back into shape in a bid to keep challenging for titles.

“Phil is showing that anybody in his 40s or 50s can do well and it gives us inspiration,” Atwal, who is at the Detroit Golf Club on a sponsor’s invite, told the PGA TOUR.

“I’m in Detroit to compete and I’m going in with the mindset of trying to win a golf tournament.

“I want to get on a roll and get competitive… I still have the desire to win as long as my body can perform. If those things are there, then I will play. As of right now, I’m feeling great.”

Thanks to his new diet and fitness regime, Atwal has got his weight down to what it was in 2004, the year he made his debut on PGA Tour, and the eight-time winner of the Asian Tour says he can feel the difference.

“I’m looking forward to this one as my body feels okay for the first time in a long while. To play a tournament pain free would be great. Look forward to playing without back pain,” he added.

“I’ve added swing speed too …The legs feel stronger and I’m hoping that when I get to Sunday, it’ll show up when you’re carrying less weight.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)





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Race-by-race tips and preview for Randwick on Wednesday


12. Wild Wind is a market watch and, while he’s been under some riding in his trials, he looks the type to relish race day. Has had a tie-back so has obviously had issues but shown a competitive streak. If supported, expect him to run well.

Dangers: 2. Gunnamatta is aided by the top weight coming out. Scratched last week with an elevated temperature but on debut he led and was run down late by Scenic Warrior on a heavy at Warwick Farm. If he gets control he should be hard to catch. 3. Jimmy’s Dream had some support on debut at Warwick Farm and came from midfield wide out to run a close second. Fitter for that, not sure where he gets to from the barrier if he doesn’t look to go forward but one of the major players. 4. Game Royal is a well bred gelding from the Waller stable on debut and though his latest trial wasn’t anything to write home about he’s the type you have to keep a bit safe. He’s drawn inside and attracted James McDonald to ride so nothing would surprise about him first-up.
How to play it: Wild Wind each-way
Odds & Evens: Evens.

Race 3 – 2PM HARRY ANGEL @ DARLEY HANDICAP (1250m)

14. Duenna is no star but she looks well placed on the back of a couple of handy runs out of town. Bumped into Steel Diamond two starts back then tried hard at Wyong on a front-runners’ track last time. Soft draw and should get some tempo to suit. Good each-way chance.
Dangers: 2. Miss Spiteful will be right on the pace from the good gate. She was competitive in two runs here to start the prep then every chance when a short-priced favourite at Gosford last time. Will give a sight. 5. Dancing Gidget hasn’t raced since beating subsequent ATC Oaks placegetter and G1 winner Toffee Tongue at 1550m here back in March. Gained inside runs to win a recent trial, trip might be short of her best but rather include her than assume that. 7. Compatriot has ability and raced fairly consistently last time in. Not asked in his recent trial, likely gets back but should be running on strongly.
How to play it: Duenna each-way
Odds & Evens: Evens

Race 4 – 2:35PM EXCEEDANCE NEW TO VINERY HANDICAP (1250m)

6. Darleb is very close to a city win after a couple of strong placings at his past two starts. Tightened up at Canterbury when beaten a length then swamped late by a promising type at Warwick Farm after cutting the corner. Should take holding out.
Dangers: 11. Temple Run raced three deep and made a move on the turn before the winner cut up inside him at Warwick Farm two weeks ago. Eligible for easier but competitive at this level and is a good chance. 7. This Is So showed a heap of promise this time last year but has been off the scene for quite a while. Can’t take a lot out of her recent trial only to say she wasn’t pressured and represents a big query here first-up. 1. Above And Beyond has been largely competitive in BM78 grade lately and comes back in class here, getting in well with the claim. Likes to race handy and on best form is one of the chances.
How to play it: Darleb win; Trifecta 6/1,7,11/1,7,11.
Odds & Evens: Evens.

Race 5 – 3:10PM SKY RACING ACTIVE HANDICAP (1800m)

10. Savigne backs up after quite a strong win at Canterbury last week where she enjoyed a good run and powered away late. Even fitter, again drawn well and on the way up against opposition largely battling. No surprise if she does right on with the job.
Dangers: 6. Picaro has the chance to find his best after two handy enough runs back in Saturday company. Gets into his preferred distance range now and there’s a lot less depth here. Go well. 2. Chocolatier contested the same race as Picaro and was quite disappointing only managing seventh. Wasn’t able to get anywhere near the lead there whereas in his previous two runs at Canterbury he was on the pace so he could easily improve quickly if he takes advantage of gate one. 11. Secretly was second-up when she worked into third behind Lando Bay at Randwick four weeks ago and gets a 1.5kg drop in weight. Takes on older horses but has that upside many others don’t so she could be competitive here.
How to play it: Savigne win; Trifecta 10/2,6,11/2,6,11.
Odds & Evens: Evens.

Race 6 – 3:45PM BOWERMANS OFFICE FURNITURE HANDICAP (1550m)

8. Le Gai Soliel looks a real up and comer ready to tackle this company after two wins this time in. Improved sharply into her second-up win at Kembla on a heavy track and expect the barrier to be no issue as she’s drawn right around the likely speed. If she is above average, she can win again.
Dangers: 3. Baanone has come back in great form and followed up an eye-catching fresh run here with a strong win at Canterbury three weeks ago. Will likely get back a bit but has a big finish and should be competitive again. 7. Galahad’s Quest may have something to say about who leads here and he was run down by Baanone two back before Savigne picked him last week. So the form around him looks good and, if he leads, he can give a sight. 4. Statuesquely has disappointed in two runs back from a spell and comes back to midweek company looking for a boost. Group 3 placed at a mile last time in so has the talent and no surprise to see her lift if she happens to find the front.
How to play it: Le Gai Soleil win; Trifecta 8/3,4,7/3,4,7.
Odds & Evens: Split.

Race 7 – 4:20PM TAB HANDICAP (1150m)

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If you can forgive 2. Sally’s Day for her shock failure at Rosehill a month ago, she has to be the horse to beat on previous form. Romped in at Wyong first-up on a soft 7 then hit the line hard behind Fituese and Aquitaine at listed level. Looks to be some speed here to suit her and can bounce back.
Dangers: 6. Meditate was first-up from a throat operation when leading and fighting on OK for second at Canterbury three weeks ago. Will be better for that run and handled all conditions. Expect her to be on the speed somewhere and giving a good account. 4. Echo Gem is a bit hit-and-miss, or at least was last time in, and resumes with a couple of synthetic trials under her belt. Runner-up to Fituese first-up last prep and split Lashes and Switched third-up but failed either side. Capable of showing up if things fall into place. 8. So Wicked is a very interesting runner first-up for Chris Waller off a pleasing trial win. Has gate one and James McDonald so betting will be significant.
How to play it: Sally’s Day each-way; trifecta 2/4,6,8/4,6,8.
Odds & Evens: Evens.

Best bets
Race 5: (10) Savigne
Race 6: (8) Ole Gai Soleil

Best value
Race 3: (14) Duenna

Tips supplied by Racing NSW.
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au

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Leicester v Crystal Palace under consideration after local coronavirus lockdown


Leicester are due to face Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium on Saturday

The Premier League has “contingency” plans for staging Leicester’s home fixture with Crystal Palace given the enforced local lockdown in the city.

Leicester are scheduled to host Palace on Saturday but a spike in coronavirus cases has seen stricter lockdown measures imposed in the city.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the game could be moved or postponed to a later date if needed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the game will go ahead.

But he did not state where and Masters said the Premier League must be “cautious and careful” in light of the UK’s first local lockdown.

Masters said: “If what is happening in Leicester, we are waiting to hear, does affect the club’s ability to host home games, either this Saturday against Crystal Palace or subsequent matches, then we have contingency to put those matches elsewhere or postpone them until a date when it is safe to do so.

“Of course contingency plans are discussed and part of our overall planning.

“I am yet to understand what the impact of the partial lockdown in Leicester is going to have on the club but clearly it demonstrates the fragile project we have on here. We cannot take it for granted.”

Leicester, third in the Premier League, travel to Everton on Wednesday before the visit of Palace.

Speaking about the coronavirus spike in the city, Hancock said Leicester had “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”.

Non-essential shops have shut, and schools will close for most pupils on Thursday. The loosening of restrictions for pubs and restaurants in England on Saturday will also not be taking place in the city.

On Monday, the Premier League announced there was one positive result for coronavirus from 2,250 tests in its latest round of testing at clubs.

Racing goes ahead in Leicester

Racing was also cleared to go ahead in Leicester on Tuesday despite the stricter lockdown measures.

An evening meeting with nine races was scheduled to take place behind closed doors from 16:40 BST.

The racecourse is about three miles from the city centre, in Oadby – which is one of the suburbs covered by the new restrictions.

The British Horseracing Authority said: “Following confirmation from local health authorities that the race meeting should go ahead, the fixture at Leicester will take place today.

“The fixture will be held behind closed doors and with the existing strict health screening and social distancing measures in place.”



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NHL: League says 26 players test positive for COVID-19



A player takes the ice before a game at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, February 12, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

June 29, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The National Hockey League (NHL) said on Monday that 26 players have tested positive for COVID-19, including 15 who reported to team facilities for “Phase 2 activities.”

Under the league’s Phase 2 plan, clubs that met safety criteria were allowed to reopen training facilities for voluntary workouts with groups of no more than six players at a time, as of June 8.

The NHL has been working toward resuming its season after it was halted in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, with an expanded 24-team playoff format in two hub cities that have yet to be determined.

The NHL said that more than 250 players reported to club facilities as of Monday and had been tested more than 1,450 times for COVID-19. The league said 11 other players “outside of the Phase 2 protocol” also tested positive.

“All Players who have tested positive have been self-isolated and are following CDC and Health Canada protocols,” the NHL said.

A flurry of positive tests among athletes have dented hopes for the return of professional sport in North America. The Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly reopened its facilities last week after briefly shutting down due to positive tests among players and some staff members.

(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Christian Radnedge)





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Harder road to hit Vic teams


Right now the rules are weighted against Victorians, since we are living in what West Aussies and Queenslanders view as the state of contagion. This presents only one problem for the NRL, owning only one team in Melbourne, but literally 10 times the trouble for the AFL.

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The Queensland government’s ruling that Victorians – and thus Victorian teams – must quarantine for 14 days if they turn up in the sunshine state has forced the AFL to move, overnight, to plans B, C, D, E, F, G and H – a moveable plan for five states and two territories.

Thus, the oft-maligned Australian Capital Territory – where, thankfully, the Giants have a formidable presence – has entered the hub picture. As of Monday, it seemed likely AFL players from Victoria would be sharing the fate of politicians and camping in Canberra.

NSW appears to be a likely solution for the travelling teams from Victoria – the Suns and Lions also expect to be sent to Sydney on their way back from Victoria – and the Northern Territory, too, suddenly looks viable as a temporary hub and AFL venue, as the AFL shifts into a plan whereby Victorian teams go in pairs, Noah’s Ark-style, to different states and territories.

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Here’s a short summary of the AFL’s problem: teams cannot leave Victoria without quarantining for 14 days if they visit, not only Perth, but Queensland, while South Australia could waver on its decision to allow Victorian teams in from July 20.

Unfortunately, the options for playing certain teams in certain places has narrowed – or disappeared – due to the fact that West Coast, Fremantle, the Crows and Port Adelaide have been bunkered down in Queensland.

That teams have already played, anywhere, reduces the options further when you need to get an average of nine games per round for another 13 weeks and you cannot cheat by allowing teams to play twice.

Melbourne, for instance, has already played the Eagles, which rules it out for a trip to Western Australia at least for the time being. The Demons were due to play Fremantle on the Gold Coast in round six, a game that doesn’t look as viable now.

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Collingwood and Geelong at least have certainty about their 21-day road trip to Perth, where they will play each other on July 17 (a seriously weird occasion), and then alternate between the Dockers and Eagles.

Brisbane also has some definite plans, given that the Lions play Port this week, then their Collingwood game at the MCG can proceed because they travel to Sydney to meet the Swans; logically, their round eight opponent will be played in Sydney.

Non-Victorian teams have long complained about inequities in the fixture, about the lighter travel load that Melbourne teams, in particular, deal with, as well as the advantage conferred on MCG tenants and Melbourne teams if they’re fortune enough to make the grand final.

While we will only know how unfair the season was with the benefit of 2020 hindsight, this season is becoming less friendly to the Victorians, who are about to discover what it’s like to be spending extended periods living out of a suitcase.

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Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid: Casemiro goal sends Real top of La Liga


Karim Benzema is the third La Liga player to reach double figures in goals and assists in all competitions this season, after Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

Real Madrid are two points clear at the top of La Liga after grinding out a victory at bottom club Espanyol.

Casemiro scored the only goal as he latched onto Karim Benzema’s brilliant no-look backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa before firing home.

The Brazilian had earlier gone close to the opener when his shot from his own half was saved by Diego Lopez.

Espanyol had several chances with Thibaut Courtois making five saves.

Sporting director Francisco Rufete took over as manager on Saturday after replacing Abelardo Fernandez – the third Espanyol boss to be sacked this season.

They put up a good fight, with Wu Lei among the players to go close, but fell just short.

Real Madrid are now only six wins – or five wins and a draw – from a second La Liga title since 2012.

City rivals Atletico can do them a favour when they visit Barca on Thursday.





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