In Brief

F1: could Imola take China’s place in the 2020 grand prix calendar?

Laureus award winner Lewis Hamilton calls for more diversity in F1

Imola circuit director Roberto Marazzi has revealed that the former Formula 1 venue has submitted an application to the FIA to replace the Chinese Grand Prix in the 2020 race calendar. 

The Chinese GP on 19 April has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak and while alternative plans are being discussed there are doubts if Shanghai can be worked into the schedule later in the season

Imola last held the F1 San Marino Grand Prix in 2006 and Marazzi confirmed to Dutch publication Racingnews365 that it has put itself forward as a stand-in. 

He said: “We have indeed submitted an application to the FIA and the F1 organisation to replace the Chinese GP. We have not yet received a response. I expect it is difficult to get everything arranged.”

Autosport also reports that Imola has offered to host a round this year and while the circuit is licensed for F1 cars, and could be ready on time, president Uberto Selvatico Estense admits his “dream” may be “mission impossible”.

Estense told Autosport: “It would be very difficult to arrange it, but the track is ready. We can move very fast to host a grand prix as we did in the past. We would not be at our best, of course. But if it’s necessary, we will move on with it. 

“We’ve got the homologation for F1. The pit building is OK. I think we miss some parts of the hospitality, but we can organise it very quickly if necessary.

“It’s kind of a mission impossible. But why not? Anything is possible if Liberty wants. I’m a dreamer! I always hoped that this opportunity would come. But it’s very difficult, it’s true.”

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Lewis: F1 is facing a diversity issue

Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has called on the sport to become more diverse. 

The British driver was last night named joint winner of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award and during his acceptance speech he said: “I grew up in a sport that has really given my life meaning.

“I’m so, so grateful for what it has provided me, but I’ve grown up in a sport that has very little to no diversity and I think it’s an issue we’re continually facing. 

“It’s all of our responsibility to use our platform for that, to push for gender equality, inclusivity, for making sure we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today.

“It’s a real honour to be here and congratulations to all of the nominees. A big thank you to Mercedes-Benz, who have always been a supporter, they signed me when I was 13, and I want to also say a huge congratulations to Laureus for changing people’s lives and giving people hope.”

Hamilton shared the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award with Barcelona football star Lionel Messi. 

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