News/ Motorsport/ Motorsports News 101 | Your Weekly Motorsports Digest

Motorsports News 101 | Your Weekly Motorsports Digest

The first month of a new year is generally taken slow. People are still finalising their New Year resolutions and are trying to wake up from the hangover of their old habits. However, the world of motorsports doesn’t seem to stop. The new year has opened with a bang! Dakar 2024 to begin with and what an amazing event that has been. Moreso for India as its name has now been etched in the history books. Even Formula E has started on a high and even though it is not coming in India, there are a lot of Indians in the paddock who are taking India’s name forward! So, without much further ado, here is the weekly digest from the motorsport world. 

1. F1 gets another street circuit | Madrid F1 Track

‘Hala Madrid’ cheers is on its way to find a new home outside the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium! F1 has announced that Madrid will get an F1 circuit from 2026 onwards. As amazing as it may sound, the hardcore fans are divided. Did F1 really need yet another street circuit? And if so, why Madrid? Spain already has Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is a very important track in F1 as it proved to be a good pre-season testing track for teams. 

And will this track stand against the perspective of reviving old tracks? But that is just left for speculation. We will only find out when the lights go out! The track however has attractive aspects to it. Twin tunnels, banked corners, private roads, public roads, 5.474km, 20-turn proposal, and an estimated qualifying lap time of around 1 minute 32 seconds…. Does that make you feel excited? 

2. Harith Noah makes history in Dakar 

Our Kerala boy Harith Noah becomes the first Indian to take victory in Dakar! Backed by TVS, Harith goes out and wins the Rally 2 class with Sherco! What’s surprising is that he was battling health issues on the first week of Dakar, however, he managed to pick up the speed in the later stages. 

Noah finished P1 in Rally 2 class and finished P11 overall. That is a huge improvement from last year when he finished P20. If you do see the highlights you will realise how difficult it might have been to achieve that feat! Now, with that said, let us shift our focus to the second Indian team that has risen to prove its mettle in Dakar 2024. 

3. Hero MotoSports rises out of the dust 

Hero MotoSports also made history as they became the first Indian team to score a podium in Dakar! And this was all down to one rider, Ross Branch! With Joaquim Rodrigues, Sebastian Buhler, and Joan Barreda Bort out of the race, it was just Branch who had to spearhead the Hero MotoSports effort. And that he did!

He finished P2 overall, just 10mins 53secs behind winner Ricky Brabec. This also turned out to be his first podium finish in Dakar which made the occasion a lot sweeter. Hopefully, this relationship becomes a lot stronger over the next rallies that are lined up in the 2024 season. 

4. All eyes on Marquez

The launch events for the MotoGP teams are underway, but it turns out that the fans are not concerned about the rest of the teams anymore. All the chatter on the internet related to MotoGP leads to just one place – Marc Marquez and Gresini Racing! 

As it should. The 6 time MotoGP world champion is finally on a championship-winning motorcycle and just to smoothen the pot, he has stood out in the pre-season testing. Finishing P4 overall in a new motorcycle is certainly not a joke. Is that an indication of what is about to come? Will the factory Ducati team feel the wrath of Marquez even though he is on a year-old motorcycle? Well you know what they say, there is only one way to find out. The lights go green for the championship on 10th March at the Lusail International Circuit! 

5. India and Formula E 

The world of Formula E started with bad news to begin the year. Hyderabad was taken out of the calendar after the recent state assembly elections in Telangana. This has resulted in Formula E Operations (FEO) giving them a formal notice for the breach of contract. In short, all hoch poch, and we are left with a two-month gap between Diriyah and Sao Paulo. 

But not to worry, there are loads of Indians in the Formula E world who will make our feelings felt! Jaguar TCS Racing finished on the podium with Nick Cassidy and fifth with Mitch Evans in the opening round in Mexico City. Edoardo Mortara and Nyck De Vries finished P13 and P15 respectively for Mahindra Racing. Given that it is not the best start they were looking for, but the drivers have proven pedigree behind them. They did finish ahead of where they had started. Lastly, Jehan Daruvala (Maserati MSG Racing) is finding his feet in the Formula E world. He finished P16 after starting a position behind and managed to finish the race, which is not a small feat in the FE world. 

As much as we want to leave you with high anticipation for the year ahead, we would like to take the time to pray for Carles Falcon who crashed and succumbed to his injuries while participating in the 2024 Dakar Rally. May you rest in peace!

TopGear Magazine July 2024