Saudi e-Prix: Portugal’s Da Costa wins Formula E season-opener

Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa ushered in a new era for Formula E by holding off reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne to win the inaugural round of the 2018-19 season in Saudi Arabia. Follow @cnnsportThe street circuit at Ad Diriyah near Riyadh saw the debut of the much-vaunted Gen2 car and a unpredictable race with the … Continue reading “Saudi e-Prix: Portugal’s Da Costa wins Formula E season-opener”

Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa ushered in a new era for Formula E by holding off reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne to win the inaugural round of the 2018-19 season in Saudi Arabia.

Follow @cnnsportThe street circuit at Ad Diriyah near Riyadh saw the debut of the much-vaunted Gen2 car and a unpredictable race with the outcome in doubt until the final turn of the 33 laps.

    Da Costa, who had claimed pole for the BMW Andretti team, held off Techeetah’s Vergne to take the checkered flag by a whisker with Jerome D’Ambrosio in third for Mahindra Racing.

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      Formula E car vs. the fastest animal 01:04Frenchman Vergne looked set to continue his dominance of the previous season in his updated car, but was given a drive through penalty for a re-charging infringement while in the lead.Da Costa reclaimed the advantage but a later safety car saw the pack close up from a restart and gave the opportunity for Vergne to carve his way back through the field from fourth.Read MoreREAD: “Welcome to Gotham” — Formula E unveils next generation ‘Batmobile’ designOnly da Costa stood in his way, but he ran out of road to complete the task to the obvious relief of the 27-year-old winner, who broke a three-year victory drought after working hard in pre-season testing.’It’s amazing, it’s been a really tough couple of months,” he said.”But I think we have work to do as these Techeetah cars are so fast,” he added.Why Felipe Massa just couldn't stay retiredVergne’s teammate Andre Lotterer was running third when he was hit by a similar infringement penalty, but was also closing fast in fifth behind New Zealand’s Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) by the finish.WATCH: Mitch Evans goes ice driving in northern Sweden”I think the car we have is incredibly fast,” said Vergne.Former F1 ace Felipe Massa made some trademark overtaking moves on his Formula E debut for Venturi, but was also hit by a drive through penalty and was relegated to 14th.Belgium’s Stoffel Vandoorne, dropped by F1 McLaren after a disappointing recent campaign, finished a lowly 17th for HWA on his Formula E debut.

        Visit CNN.com/motorsport for more news and featuresThe next round of the 12-race enlarged series takes place in Marrakesh, Morocco next month.

Why Felipe Massa just couldn’t stay retired

After 15 thrilling and intensely demanding years in Formula One, Felipe Massa hung up his racing helmet for good at the end of last season.

During his time in the sport, the Brazilian established himself as one of the most loved and exciting drivers on the grid, amassing a huge following around the globe.Visit CNN/com/sport for more news, features and videos

    With a second retirement — Massa first quit F1 in 2016, only to be lured back for another year — on the horizon, it looked as though the 37-year-old was going to enjoy some well-earned time away from the spotlight. Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaFormula E, the world’s leading all-electric racing series, officially unveiled its next generation car Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show.Hide Caption 1 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaThe Gen2, as it’s been named, will make its racing debut at the start of the 2018-19 Formula E season.Hide Caption 2 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaAfter a digital launch earlier this year, the first physical model was revealed by FIA President Jean Todt and Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag.Hide Caption 3 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaFormula E title partner ABB provided a robotic arm to lift the cover on the new design. Hide Caption 4 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaThe new car will have twice the energy storage of the current car, doubling its range. It means the end of the mid-race car swap that has been a fixture of Formula E since its debut in 2014.Hide Caption 5 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaThe Gen2 will have a top speed of 174 mph thanks to an increase in the maximum power output.Hide Caption 6 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaIt will also have a new LED strip which allows fans to follow the drivers’ race modes and tactics.Hide Caption 7 of 8 Photos: Formula E unveil next generation car in GenevaTodt said: “Formula E will continue to push the development of electric vehicle technology, and this car is an important milestone in this journey.”Hide Caption 8 of 8But no sooner had Massa climbed out of an F1 cockpit than he was signing a contract with Venturi to be its main driver for the 2019 Formula E season.Read MoreREAD: Felipe Massa races the fastest animal on earthREAD: Formula E 2019 — ‘The most competitive championship in the world'”I love to race,” Massa told CNN’s Supercharged show at the Venturi launch in Monaco. “And it was the right time to stop Formula One. “I’m really happy with my decision but I wanted to keep racing, so I think Formula E is the championship that is growing more.”I like new challenges so it’s definitely a new challenge for me — and I’m looking forward for this new experience in Formula E, especially with the Venturi team.”

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      ‘Huge asset’

      Massa’s presence for the upcoming season, which begins this weekend in Saudi Arabia, is quite the coup for Formula E.Considered one of the world’s fastest growing sports, Formula E attracted more than 300 million viewers globally to watch at least one race on TV last season, according to Forbes. An average of 27.1 million watched each individual race, a huge increase on the 18.6 million that tuned in for each race during the 2016-17 season.READ: Formula One pioneer Susie Wolff aims to electrify Formula EIts rapidly increasingly global reach is one of the main reasons high-profile drivers like Massa are scrambling to become a part of the sport.

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        Formula E car vs. the fastest animal 01:04But connections in the world of motorsport help, too, as Venturi discovered when trying to convince Massa to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on his new contract.The Monaco-based team, the brainchild of Monegasque businessman Gildo Pallanca Pastor, boasts Susie Wolff as its new team principle for the upcoming season.Wolff made her name in F1 as a test driver for Williams, in 2014 becoming the first woman to take part in a race weekend for 22 years.It was also the same year Massa joined Williams to begin his four-season stint at the British team.”But I can’t take credit for Felipe, because Gildo was already speaking to Felipe when I joined,” Wolff tells Supercharged. “So I just finished off the last negotiations. “He’s a huge asset to the team. First off, I just really like him as a person a lot, but (also) the experience he can bring having been in motorsport at such a high level for so long. “The fact that he lives in Monaco, so he’s easy to get to the office to be in the simulator. It really is for us, I believe, one of the strongest pairings in Formula E with Felipe and Edo.”

        No guarantees of success

        Venturi, co-owned by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, has endured a difficult first four seasons in Formula E.Having competed since the series’ inception in 2014, the team has only managed a best championship finish of sixth place, along with a seventh and two ninth-place finishes.Venturi are also yet to win an E-Prix, but Wolff is optimistic that can change this season.

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          RC car race part 7: Oliver Turvey vs. Shields 01:48″I’m realistic, it’s going to be a huge challenge,” Wolff admits. “We are a small team but I think that’s the beauty of Formula E, just because you’re a manufacturer doesn’t guarantee success. “I believe that we have the chance for success. If we get everything right, if we find the reliability, the speed we know that is there, I have no doubt that we can come away with some great results. “Can we string that together enough for a championship? I believe we’ve got more work to do before that’s possible, but I respect the competition massively because I know what they’re capable of, but I do believe and I wouldn’t go racing without the belief that we can achieve success with Venturi.”Despite his wealth of experience in motorsport, joining FE has been a steep learning curve for Massa.While F1 and FE may appear to share some similarities on the outside, the differences once you’re sat in the cockpit are vast.Even drivers already well acquainted with the sport will have to get to grips with the new “Gen2” cars and all the changes that come with it.

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            Formula E wraps up with the New York ePrix 23:15But Massa is hoping he can be the missing piece of the puzzle for Venturi to finally record a first E-Prix win.”It’s a new challenge for Venturi as well, to be bigger and to be more important, to be more successful and I’m happy to be part of it,” Massa said.

              “I really hope it will change. But it’s better not to say anything and just concentrate on the races, on the job, but yeah, I think it’s possible to change that number. “I will really try hard — me and Edo (Mortara, Venturi teammate) hope we can change only one time that number, but many times.”

The engineering galacticos: The stars behind Lewis Hamilton’s F1 dominance

As Lewis Hamilton stripped off to reveal his tattooed torso and be sprayed by rosewater on the Abu Dhabi podium, there was no denying who was the star of the 2019 Formula One season.

Hamilton had just romped to an 11th grand prix victory in 2018 — more than double the race wins achieved by chief rivals Sebastian Vettel — on top of sealing a fifth world title just a few weekends earlier.Hamilton was quick to share the accolades with the hundreds of Mercedes employees behind his continued dominance.

    And while technical director James Allison singled out Hamilton’s immeasurable talents, he also was keen to point out that the team was the sum of their parts.Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videosRead More”I think when I got here, I felt like I had imposter syndrome,” said Allison from the team’s Brackley headquarters as he reflected on another driver-constructors’ title double. “But I’m treated the same way as everyone else.”A lot is expected of everyone that works here but, unlike others on the grid, this is very much a team game here.”The secret to Hamilton’s success, according to technical journalist Craig Scarborough, lies in the manner in which Mercedes has assembled a galacticos of engineering brains to their operation.”Mercedes are a team of star engineers without egos,” said Scarborough of the number reason behind their ongoing dominance. “They’re all very good engineers and could be technical directors in their own right at other teams. They’ve done very well together.”Key to that assemblage was Paddy Lowe, effectively Allison’s predecessor before moving to Williams, who was vital in getting the engineering dream team together which notably includes Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis. Scarborough also argues Toto Wolff deserves praise too.”He just leaves them to do their work without interference,” he said. “It’s easy for someone like Toto to try to control the team but that would be misplaced. He keeps the engineers out of it. You don’t see them on camera or in the garage. If you try to over manage them, that’s when you have problems. He simply doesn’t do that.”

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      ‘Stars from financial people to the cleaners’

      It is a sentiment echoed by Allison, who shuns any individual praise and focuses on Mercedes’ collective effort.”To act like a primadonna would be so out of kilter with the team’s ethos,” he said. “There’s just no egos and that doesn’t mean the people are bland and automotive. There’s huge characters up and down the team.”There’s no false modesty, people will just say they’re pulling for each other. What I like is that when there are setbacks, everyone here puts up their hand to say ‘what can I do to help?'”Lewis is an absolute phenomenon and he’s a truly remarkable driver. But when we talk about the team it’s not just the driver or the nuts and bolts of the car.”Everyone plays a role: the finance people, the commercial people, the press people, the cleaners, the guys on the shop floor, everyone. This is an equal effort from everyone.”In Abu Dhabi, the victory was no more than the cherry on top of the cake as Hamilton once again dominated both qualifying and the race win.Already for Mercedes the celebrations had begun in earnest following the previous race in Mexico which had sealed the constructors’ title in a pulsating season-long battle with Ferrari.While relatively new to the team — Allison arrived in 2017 after a previous spell at Ferrari — he argues this year’s success was still the sweetest yet.”Everyone was united by the fact that this year has been a proper trial,” he said. “There was so much joy, satisfaction and relief on everyone’s faces. I’m just so glad to be a small part of it and that Toto rang me up in the first place.”In the Allison household, his son talks of two types of fun: type one and type two. Type one is fun throughout while type two is miserable while in the process of doing it but more memorable afterward.”This season was very much type two fun,” said Allison. “While you might be suffering, you can’t help but be aware of the opportunity at the end of it all. We’ve been through the ringer, we’ve been tested but we’ve not be found wanting.” Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton sprays second-placed Sebastian Vettel with champagne after winning the Abu Dhabi season-ending race, 11th of his title winning season.Hide Caption 1 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton celebrates his 10th win of the season as he takes the Brazilian GP ahead of Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen.Hide Caption 2 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton savors the moment after clinching his fifth F1 world title with fourth place behind Max Verstappen in the Mexican Grand Prix. Hide Caption 3 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonRace winner Kimi Raikkonen is flanked by second-placed Max Verstappen (far left) and Lewis Hamilton, who finished third after a thrilling US Grand Prix. Hamilton increased his title lead to 70 points over Sebastian Vettel ahead of the final three rounds of the championship. Hide Caption 4 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonRace winner Lewis Hamilton had plenty to celebrate after claiming victory in the Japanese GP at Suzuka to lead the world championship by 67 points with four rounds remaining. Hide Caption 5 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton (no 44) overtook fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas under team orders on his way to a decisive victory in the 2018 F1 title race as he extended his advantage over Sebastian Vettel to 50 points. Hide Caption 6 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton led from pole position in his famous No.44 Mercedes and took his seventh victory of the season on the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore.Hide Caption 7 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonHamilton stormed to a record-equalling fifth Italian Grand Prix victory — overtaking both Ferraris in the process.Hide Caption 8 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonLewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy on the podium after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest to extend his title lead over Sebastian Vettel to 24 points.Hide Caption 9 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonHamilton celebrates an extraordinary comeback win at the German Grand Prix to give him a 17-point championship lead as title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed outHide Caption 10 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDutch driver Max Verstappen claims a dramatic victory at the home of Red Bull Racing. But how does that impact the Drivers’ Championship?Hide Caption 11 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonMelbourne, Australia — 'Lucky' Vettel wins season opener – Sebastian Vettel took full advantage of a bizarre incident involving both cars of the American-owned Haas team to claim the opening race of the 2018 Formula One season in Australia.Hide Caption 12 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 1 – Vettel — 25 points
      Hamilton — 18 points
      Raikonnen — 15 pointsHide Caption 13 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonSakhir, Bahrain — Ferrari win soured by injured mechanic – Vettel won for the second time in as many races at the Bahrain Grand Prix. But the Italian team’s victory was overshadowed after one of its mechanics suffered a broken leg when he was hit by Kimi Raikkonen’s car during a pit stop.Hide Caption 14 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 2 – Vettel — 50 points
      Hamilton — 33 points
      Bottas — 22 pointsHide Caption 15 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonShanghai, China – An inspired Daniel Ricciardo claimed a remarkable and unexpected victory from sixth on the grid after a tactical masterstroke by his Red Bull team in Shanghai, with furious championship leader Vettel back in eighth place.Hide Caption 16 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 3 – Vettel — 54 points
      Hamilton — 45 points
      Bottas — 40 pointsHide Caption 17 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonBaku, Azerbaijan — Red Bull drivers shockingly crash as Hamilton triumphs – Lewis Hamilton was the chief beneficiary of a late puncture suffered by his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas as he clinched his first win of the season at April’s action-packed Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Hide Caption 18 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 4 – Hamilton — 70 points
      Vettel — 66 points
      Raikkonen — 48 points
      Hide Caption 19 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonBarcelona, Spain — Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two – After his unlikely victory in Azerbaijan, it was a second straight win for Hamilton as he bids for a fifth world championship — and it could not have been more comfortable.Hide Caption 20 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 5 – Hamilton — 95 points
      Vettel — 78 points
      Bottas — 57 pointsHide Caption 21 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonMonaco — Redemption for Ricciardo – Ricciardo nursed his ailing Red Bull to a remarkable victory on the streets of Monte Carlo and with it made up for his 2016 heartbreak on the same circuit.Hide Caption 22 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 6 – Hamilton — 110 points
      Vettel — 96 points
      Ricciardo — 72 pointsHide Caption 23 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonCanada — Vettel wins to take title initiative – Sebastian Vettel’s 50th career victory saw him replace Lewis Hamilton at the top of the championship standings to cap an emotional day for the Ferrari team. Hide Caption 24 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 7 – Vettel — 121 points
      Hamilton — 120 points
      Bottas — 86 pointsHide Caption 25 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonFrance — Hamilton back in the groove – Briton Lewis Hamilton won the first French Grand Prix since 2008.
      The Mercedes driver avoided the worst of a dramatic start that saw title rival Sebastian Vettel clip Valtteri Bottas. Both drivers sustained damage in the collision, forcing them to pit early them and fall to the back of the grid.Hide Caption 26 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 8 – Hamilton — 145 points
      Vettel — 131 points
      Ricciardo — 96 pointsHide Caption 27 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonAustria — Verstappen wins after Mercedes meltdown – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won a dramatic Austrian Grand Prix as hitherto championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, were forced to retire. Hide Caption 28 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 9 – Vettel – 146 points
      Hamilton – 145 points
      Raikkonen – 101 pointsHide Caption 29 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonBritain — Vettel wins despite Hamilton fightback – Home favorite Lewis Hamilton was denied a sixth victory at the British Grand Prix as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took control of the championship at SilverstoneHide Caption 30 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 10 – Vettel – 171Hamilton – 163Raikkonen – 116Hide Caption 31 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonGermany — Advantage Hamilton as Vettel crashes out – Hamilton fought back from 14th on the grid to claim an astonishing victory as Vettel crashed out at Hockenheim.Hide Caption 32 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 11 – Hamilton – 188
      Vettel – 171
      Raikkonen – 131Hide Caption 33 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonHungary — Hamilton extends title lead with 'beautiful' win – Hamilton went into F1’s summer break with a season-high 24-point advantage in the title race over Vettel after winning at the Hungaroring. Hide Caption 34 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 11 – Hamilton — 213 points
      Vettel — 189 points
      Raikkonen — 146 pointsHide Caption 35 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonBelgium — Vettel wins after spectacular crash – Fernando Alonso’s car was launched over the top of Charles Leclerc on the opening corner of the Belgian Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel went on to win at Spa to cut Lewis Hamilton’s lead at the top of the Driver Standings to 17 points.Hide Caption 36 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonDrivers' title race after round 12 – Hamilton — 231Vettel — 214Raikkonen – 146Hide Caption 37 of 38 Photos: Story of the F1 seasonFerrari’s sea of fans — the ‘Tifosi’ — hold up a flag making fun of Lewis Hamilton, but he has the last laugh, winning the Italian Grand Prix for the fifth timeHide Caption 38 of 38

      ‘Still the best engine in F1’

      At the heart of Hamilton and Mercedes’ speed is the engine, which has long set the benchmark in Formula 1.For a period this year, Ferrari looked to have the quicker power unit only for Mercedes to claw back the advantage throughout the latter part of the season.”The power unit is probably still the de facto best engine in F1 but there’s also the reliability and how much performance they get out of it in qualifying,” said Scarborough. “Because in truth, it’s not an exceptional-looking chassis compared to their rivals.”At the heart of the car is a longer wheelbase than both Ferrari and Red Bull, and a far lower rake — effectively the ride height of the car from the front to the rear. It is such a design approach that has brought anomalies at certain tracks but has been key to their dominance at other circuits.For Allison, the stability in its engineers in particular has given the team a “good base to right wrongs.”

        Looking ahead to 2019, Scarborough believes Mercedes are once again the team to beat, although Allison won’t say so publicly even if he agrees.”It’s entirely presumptuous to say we’re the team to be beat,” he said, “and Ferrari and Red Bull will be out for our blood. What I will say is that this team is where I’ve felt most energized by a good result. There are talented people at every layer and I hope I keep doing this for as long as they’ll have me here.”

Felipe Massa races the fastest animal on earth ahead of Formula E debut

Veteran driver Felipe Massa has been getting fans in a flap ahead of his Formula E debut.

Ahead of his first appearance in the all-electric race series, the 37-year-old was tested against the fastest animal on the planet — a peregrine falcon.

    The bird can reach speeds in excess of 217 mph when diving on its prey, a touch faster than a Formula E car.

    Before making his @FIAformulaE debut, @MassaFelipe19 raced against a peregrine falcon — the fastest animal on earth — in his new drive https://t.co/fuGG0Z2Ra9 pic.twitter.com/hMZjlsnQSi

    — CNN Sport (@cnnsport) December 10, 2018

    But could Massa hold it off to secure his first win in an electric vehicle? Visit CNN/com/sport for more news, features and videosRead More

    The winner?

    Chasing a lure attached to the back of the new-look Gen2 car, the falcon almost kept up with the Brazilian but Massa did enough to fly ahead. “It was an incredible experience for me to race against the fastest member of the animal kingdom — it’s not something I will forget in a hurry,” he said. This isn’t the first time Formula E has tested their machines against the animal kingdom’s fastest beasts. Earlier this year, Jean-ร‰ric Vergne climbed behind the wheel for a race against a cheetah in South Africa.Felipe Massa raced a peregrine falcon ahead of his Formula E debut.Fans wanted to see more, so the race against the falcon was organized in Saudi Arabia. “I like the fact that this idea came from the fans, and Formula E listened and accepted the challenge,” Massa said after winning the race.READ: Formula E 2019 — ‘The most competitive championship in the world’

    Formula E debut

    Massa announced his decision to join Formula E team Venturi earlier this year and will make his debut at the Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to returning to Ad Diriyah and to start racing. It’ll be my first race in Formula E and I’m eager to get behind the wheel again,” Massa said. “I’ve missed racing and this series has shown to be one of the most competitive out there.” Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement A year after calling time on his long and storied Formula One career, veteran driver Felipe Massa is returning to the track in Formula E. The Brazilian is set to join Formula E team Venturi in the all-electric series for the 2018/19 season.Hide Caption 1 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Having spent his formative years racing karts in his native Brazil, Massa got his big break in Formula One with Swiss-based Team Sauber, making his debut in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix and taking his first F1 points just one race later in Malaysia. Hide Caption 2 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Switching to Ferrari in 2006, Massa replaced Honda-bound compatriot Rubens Barrichello and enjoyed his maiden podium with a third-place finish at the European Grand Prix. He followed that up with second places in the United States and Germany, partnering the legendary Michael Schumacher in the German’s last ever championship campaign in the iconic red. Hide Caption 3 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement And that elusive first Formula 1 victory came soon after, as Massa took the plaudits in Turkey after his maiden pole position. Ferrari retained the Brazilian after a series of other impressive performances.Hide Caption 4 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement He would go on to enjoy his most successful period on the track with Ferarri, as the Brazilian clocked up 11 race wins and 36 podiums. Just a single point separated Massa from the championship in 2008 as he pushed McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton (right) all the way. Hide Caption 5 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement But the Brazilian was victim of a terrible accident in the summer of 2009, careering off the circuit in qualifying for the Hungary Grand Prix at 200kph (125mph) after being struck on the head by a loose spring from the car of Brawn GP driver Barrichello. Massa suffered a fractured skull and spent several days in a medically-induced coma.Hide Caption 6 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Massa valiantly returned to the track in 2010 alongside new teammate Fernando Alonso, and podium finishes in both Bahrain and Australia suggested he was ready to put the trauma of his accident behind him. Hide Caption 7 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement However, as the season developed, Alonso increasingly looked the more consistent performer — culminating in Massa infamously being forced to move aside for his teammate at the 2010 German Grand Prix.Hide Caption 8 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Speculation Massa would lose his drive with Ferrari was quelled with impressive performances in the back-end of 2012, but the following season a number of accidents — including two in Monaco — slowed any building momentum for the Brazilian. Hide Caption 9 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement And Massa was eventually replaced by Kimi Raikkonen in 2014, prompting the Brazilian to make the switch to Williams. Despite a less competitive car, he has continued to perform well — scoring a number of further podiums and finishing sixth in the standings. Hide Caption 10 of 10

      Winner of 11 grands prix over the course of a storied 15-year F1 career, Massa is one of a number of drivers to make the switch to Formula E since its inception five years ago. The all-electric racing series champions the development of electric-powered, sustainable vehicles worldwide. It consists of 10 teams and 20 drivers, visiting 11 cities over seven months.

Formula E 2019: ‘The most competitive championship in the world’

Now entering its fifth season, Formula E feels a world away from the sport that first appeared for its inaugural championship in 2014.

The “Generation 2” cars boast a new, striking design and, with 85% more energy, now drive faster and for longer than ever before.Visit CNN/com/sport for more news, features and videos

    Gone are the car swaps half way through a race, while the races themselves will now take place within a 45-minute time limit.Mitch Evans, a driver for Jaguar, estimates there will be an extra 100 horsepower at the racers’ disposal, creating significantly more down force and really bringing into play, for the first time, tire management strategies.Read MoreREAD: Felipe Massa powered by thrill of the competition in Formula EREAD: Formula One pioneer aims to electrify Formula ENelson Piquet Jr., Evans’ teammate, won the inaugural championship and has experienced first hand the evolution of a rapidly growing sport.”Since season one, things have changed a lot,” he told CNN. “In season one a lot of people didn’t understand it or took it a bit as a joke. It was hard to explain to people. “To be honest, I didn’t really know what the future of Formula E was in the beginning and now we’re starting season five already. “It’s the series that has the most amount of manufacturers in the world so I couldn’t be in a better place and people that don’t believe in it, I hope they start believing in it because the series is just at the beginning of what it’s going to be. “In five years from now it’s going to be hard to imagine how much further we’re going to be and how big the series is going to grow.”

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      ‘Tantalizing’

      Such is the sport’s growing popularity, drivers from championships around the world are offering themselves to join Formula E, some “for low money just because they want to be part of the series,” says Piquet Jr.This season, the most significant addition to the driver lineup is Felipe Massa, who joins after 15 years in Formula One.”The level of drivers that are attracted to the series is just so high,” Evans tells CNN. “I think it’s going to be the most competitive championship in the world in terms of the caliber of driver. “The depth of talent is just remarkable, so it’s great to be part of that.”Evans’ boss and Jaguar team principle James Barclay believes that with the quality of drivers joining, along with all the world’s top manufacturers now involved, Formula E “has gone beyond the proving itself phase.”The Formula E ‘Gen2’ car design is strikingly different.”In terms of ‘is the concept right?’ It’s without a doubt right,” he said. “The conversation has now shifted from ‘is it relevant?’ to just how quickly and excitingly Formula E is developing. “It’s a really positive time, as a championship it’s only four years old so it’s incredible to think of the viewing figures that we’re starting to see.”Forbes estimates that more than 300 million viewers globally watched at least one Formula E race on TV last season, and an average of 27.1 million watched each individual race.Those figures are a huge increasing from the 18.6 million that tuned in for each race during the 2016-17 season.”[It’s] the fastest growing form of motorsport and I think the future is incredibly exciting,” Barclay adds. “From a fan’s point of view, the prospect of all these great manufacturers with an incredibly exciting driver lineup, is really tantalizing.”What makes this upcoming season in particular so exciting, is how close the gap between the teams in first and last place is likely to be.Barclay, Evans and Piquet Jr. believe the introduction of the “Gen2” car, and all the technical changes that come with it, will act as a leveler between the teams with the most and least experience in Formula E. However, the advantage gained through the experience of those who have been in the sport for longer will still play a part.

      Race is on

      Nelson Piquet Jr. driving the new Jaguar Formula E car.Piquet Jr. is confident he can be the driver to emerge victorious from a competitive field and go one step closer to emulating his father, Nelson Piquet, who won three Formula One world championships in the 1980s. After the Brazilian’s victory in 2014, three different drivers went on to win the subsequent three championships and Piquet Jr. says the race is on to see who can become the first driver to win two world championships.”I think we’re all waiting to see who will be there first double world champion in Formula E,” he said.

        “Obviously I’m trying my best — season two and three were very hard for me because we had a car that wasn’t really quick but now they’re giving me the chance to fight to the top. “This whole project is not only for me to win a championship but for the team to win a constructor’s championship as well. My goal is to win at least three and equal my dad in world championships.”

First electric Ferrari faster than original: ‘It absolutely decimated it’

Purists may be horrified by the thought of an electric Ferrari, but can speed win them over?

After thousands of hours of restoring and modernizing one of Ferrari’s luxury sports car, Californian Eric Hutchison accomplished the unthinkable and created the very first — and, as it turns out, fastest — electric 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS.

    California-based company Electric GT turn 1978 Ferrari 308 into an electric car. “I really was dying to know how this 308 compared to a stock 308,” Hutchison, of electric car conversion specialist Electric GT, tells CNN Supercharged.”We had a professional driver drive both cars in a timed environment on the same track — about a mile and a half — and the professional driver did that lap in 1:26 with a gas Ferrari.”Next up was Hutchison’s electric creation.Read More”The electric car absolutely decimated the gas car,” he says.”Watching the professional driver off the line, the electric car left like a 25-foot burn out as he was just gripping for traction.”The so-called 308 GTE finished the same track 10 seconds faster. The “308 GTE” was 10 seconds faster than the classic gas sports car.The opportunity for speed is what makes the car a perfect vehicle to transform, according to Hutchison.”The Ferrari makes a great candidate for conversion because when you’re converting the car to electric you’re adding power, you’re doubling the power, you’re doubling the torque,” he says.”This car was meant for speed. It might not have been engineered for this much speed, but it handles it really well. This car actually goes so much better and it feels natural with this amount of power in it.”

    ‘It was a mess’

    Hutchison found the 1978 Ferrari totally destroyed after a catastrophic engine fire — the motor and all of its electronics were irreparable. But $10,000 later, he was the owner of a Ferrari 308 shell.Hutchison says he was horrified when he brought the Ferrari 308 home from the junk yard.”When I brought the project home from the junk yard, I was completely horrified,” he says.”It had been burned up in a fuel fire, gasoline leaked on the motor. It smelled, all the rubber was melted, there was broken glass. It was frankly a mess.”It was a labor of love. Hutchison quit four times in the two years that it took to restore the vintage car, but finally after thousands of hours of stripping the car, restoring its frame and recycling the parts the team no longer needed, it was finally complete — though not without controversy.

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      First electric Ferrari: Faster than original 03:25In 2016, Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne said an electric Ferrari would be “obscene.” What’s the point of a silent Ferrari when the aggressive sound of its engine is a crucial part of the driving experience, he argued.And while Marchionne has since changed his stance, admitting that the luxury automaker will move towards electrification by 2020, Hutchinson couldn’t wait that long.”Converting what is historically a gas car with a big roar to all electric is extremely polarizing in public,” Hutchison says.”I have been shamed, told, ‘what the heck have you been doing?,’ or ‘why did you do that project?’ “There’s always going to be the purists, and then there’s going to be the new wave of electric performance, and the one car that polarizes it more than anything is nothing but a Ferrari.”

      ‘Phenomenal’ driving experience

      The roar of Hutchison’s car, which has three batteries — one in the front and two in an L-shaped configuration where the gas tanks used to sit — has been replaced by a quieter electric hum.”There’s something very calming about sitting in a car when it’s not making any engine noise,” he explains. “You put your foot down on the pedal in this car, it elicits fear, it’s scary, it launches, it explodes and that there’s no noise and then you put your foot down and you hear your tires ripping.

      The adrenaline of getting in an electric car with this much power on a Ferrari frame is phenomenal. Indescribable.

      Eric Hutchison, electric Ferrari creator

      “The adrenaline of getting in an electric car with this much power on a Ferrari frame is phenomenal. Indescribable.”But is it comparable to an original Ferrari?”Not by any means,” Hutchison admits. “It’s a whole different experience.”The association with noise and shifting is an automotive experience … the symphony changes tremendously and the car — the feeling, the motors — sound much more like a jet engine when they fire up.”So there are other noises that come with the change and if you compare it to what a Ferrari has sounded like forever, of course, it’s not a Ferrari engine.” Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 125-S, 1947 – The first ever Ferrari was fired up and left the Maranello factory gates 70 years ago. What followed would reshape motorsport history.Hide Caption 1 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 125-S side view, 1947 – That car, the 125-S, boasted a 1.5-liter V12 capable of producing around 118bhp — a far cry from the speed machines of today. Hide Caption 2 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinEnzo Ferrari, 1920 – Born in 1898 on the outskirts of Modena — known for “fast cars and slow food” — the company’s founder Enzo Ferrari devoted his entire life to the pursuit of speed. The Italian is pictured here as a young man sitting in an Alfa Romeo 40-60 HP Racing Type.Hide Caption 3 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari factory, 1947 – Much has changed at the Maranello factory since this day in 1947, but the iconic factory gates remain much the same. Hide Caption 4 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 125 F1, 1949 – The 125 F1, driven here by Peter Whitehead, was Ferrari’s first Formula One car. The Italian marque has since accumulated over 5,000 races victories across various classes.Hide Caption 5 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinEnzo Ferrari, 1961 – By the ’60s, Ferrari was a dominant force on the road and the track. In 1969, Enzo signed an agreement with Fiat Group giving it a 50% stake in the company. Hide Caption 6 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 275 GTB-4 – Thanks to a host of celebrity owners, the Ferrari brand was also rapidly building a reputation for elegance and style. Here, Steve McQueen stands proudly beside his Ferrari 275 GTB 4 by Scaglietti. Hide Caption 7 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari GTO, 1984 – Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, pictured picking up his Ferrari GTO at the factory, was another that added to the magnetism of the brand. Hide Caption 8 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 312T, 1979 – By the 1970s, Ferrari’s F1 cars were capable of over 500bhp. South African driver Jody Scheckter, pictured, won the 1979 World Championship.Hide Caption 9 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinWind Gallery for Aerodynamic Tests – Ferrari tested new designs using 1/3 scale models — on show at the exhibition. Hide Caption 10 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinKyalami Circuit, 1997 – As the turn of the millennium approached, what had started with Enzo Ferrari facilitating gentlemen racing their cars had evolved into a global phenomenon. Here, racing enthusiasts gather at South Africa’s Kyalami Circuit to celebrate Ferrari 50th Anniversary.Hide Caption 11 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari 250 GTO, – The 1962 Ferrari 250-GTO is most expensive car ever sold at auction, having fetched over $38,000,000. Here a selection of the highly coveted vehicles gather on the model’s 20th Anniversary at the Pierre Bardinon estate in France. Hide Caption 12 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari World, Abu Dhabi, 2010 – An expansive Ferrari-branded amusement park, home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, opened its doors in 2010.Hide Caption 13 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the Skin Ferrari J50, 2016 – “Ferrari’s story has been one of the great adventures of the industrial age,” says, Andrew Nahum, curator of the exhibition. Hide Caption 14 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari J50, 2016 – “Ferrari uses the subtle and often unseen techniques of automobile design but with the utmost care and precision,” adds Nahum. “The exhibition provides an insight into the history and practice of the whole private world of automotive design.”Hide Caption 15 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinFerrari pit stop, 2017 Chinese GP – The Ferrari Under the Skin exhibition opens on 15 November 2017 and will run until April 2018.Hide Caption 16 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinIt will feature insight into the life of Enzo Ferrari, unique cars and rarely seen documents — all illustrating just how far the manufacturer has come. Hide Caption 17 of 18 Photos: Ferrari Under the SkinWhat’s your favorite Ferrari of all time? Have your say on CNN Sport’s Facebook pageHide Caption 18 of 18After completing work on the car, Hutchison put it up for sale with classic car auctioneer Barrett Jackson.”The most satisfying part of the experience is having someone else share the experience of the electric car,” Hutchinson explains. “A classic car that’s 40 years old, it’s going to go for 40 more years to share that, to drive it, and to show that elsewhere to other people. “The GTE’s new owner, Drew Gill, was ecstatic to find out the sports car was electric.”I didn’t know that it was electric when I was bidding on it,” he reveals.”I just thought it was in pristine condition and something that you can drive.”It was only when Gill won the auction after bidding $77,000 that he learned of its unconventional engine.”It wasn’t making any noise but it was moving and then we sat in the post-bid section where we were discussing the car and I found out there that it was electric and I was even more amped.”Being from California, electric right now is the way to be and then the good thing about it is there’s no emissions — all you ever have to do is change brakes and change tires so it’s something that I don’t feel bad about driving.”It’s fast, it’s way better than any other electric car that you’re going to drive on the market today, and it’s a Ferrari. What else do you want out of a car?” Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model S P100D – Described as “the funnest car I’ve ever driven” by none other than Kanye West, the Tesla Model S is now being used for a new zero emissions racing series organized by Electric GT. Hide Caption 1 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model S P100D – Details of the EGT Championship were unveiled in April, with the inaugural season set to commence in the southern Spanish city of Jerez on November 3, 2018.Hide Caption 2 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Able to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 1.85 seconds, the all-electric Rimac Concept Two is one of the fastest cars ever made. Hide Caption 3 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Unveiled at March’s Geneva Motor Show, the Croatian hypercar boasts top speeds of 258mph (412kph) and is claimed to be “as capable on track as it is crossing continents.” It can travel a quarter of a mile — from standstill — in just 9.1 seconds. Hide Caption 4 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Designers claim the Concept Two has a range of over 400 miles (650km.) With facial recognition in lieu of a traditional key, it’s one of numerous electric supercar concepts lighting up 2018.Hide Caption 5 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureAston Martin Lagonda – Offering a “new kind of luxury mobility,” the interior design of the Aston Martin Lagonda Vision was overseen by Savile Row tailors. Hide Caption 6 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureAston Martin Lagonda – As well as lush carpets of silk and cashmere, the self-driving car boasts front seats that rotate 180 degrees to facilitate face-to-face conversation on the move. Hide Caption 7 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Designed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the new Lamborghini concept is like nothing else on the road. Hide Caption 8 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Italian for “Third Millennium,” the Terzo Millenio would not look out of place in a sci-fi movie. Hide Caption 9 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Stefano Domenicali, Lamborghini CEO and Chairman, said the project “intends to write an important page in the future of super sports cars.”Hide Caption 10 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureLVCHI Auto Venere – All-electric four-seater saloon from China, the LVCHI Auto Venere claims to have a range of 403 miles (650km).Hide Caption 11 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureLVCHI Auto Venere – It’s longer than a Range Rover but that doesn’t stop it shifting. The Auto Venere can reportedly accelerate from 0-100kph (62mph) in 2.7 seconds, delivering a top speed of 168mph (270kph). Hide Caption 12 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureRENAULT EZ-GO – Designed to transport up to to six passengers simultaneously, the EZ-GO concept is Renault’s “vision of shared urban mobility.” Hide Caption 13 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureRENAULT EZ-GO – The shared, electric driverless vehicle has been “built for the city” and has level four autonomous technology, meaning it would be able to handle all routine circumstances on recognizable roads. Hide Caption 14 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureNissan IMx KURO – The days of the steering wheel may soon be over. Most controls aboard the IMx Kuro can be controlled via hand gestures and eye movements, according to the Japanese manufacturer.Hide Caption 15 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureNissan IMx KURO – Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology enables the KURO to interpret signals from the human brain, speeding up reaction times and paving the way for cars that learn from each other. Should the driver wish to sit back and let the car do the work, its seats recline and the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard.Hide Caption 16 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureVolkswagen I.D. Vizzion – Expected to hit the roads by “2022 at the latest,” the I.D. Vizzion is also designed to be used predominantly with voice and gesture. Hide Caption 17 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureVolkswagen I.D. Vizzion – The car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is said to boast a range of 413 miles (665km) between charges and level five autonomous driving — meaning it can handle any situation a human could negotiate. Hide Caption 18 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureJaguar I-Pace – Capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, the first ever all-electric Jaguar has 395bhp and a range of 298 miles. Hide Caption 19 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureJaguar I-Pace – “Every Jaguar feels like no other car on the road,” says a statement from the iconic British manufacturer. “Moving to all-electric power doesn’t change this.”Hide Caption 20 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureElextra – With a “revolutionary” four-wheel drive powertrain developing 671bhp, the Elextra will reportedly move from standstill to 62mph (100 kph) in less than 2.3 seconds.Hide Caption 21 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureElextra – The Swiss-German built four-door car will have its top speed limited to 155mph (250 kph) but it boasts a range of over 600km on a single charge.
      Hide Caption 22 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureHyundai Le Fil Rouge – Hyunda claim the Le Fil Rouge adheres to the golden ratio — a mathematical pattern found in nature — culminating in a “sensuous sportiness.” Hide Caption 23 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureHyundai Le Fil Rouge – French for “common thread,” Hyundai claim Le Fil Rouge is a car that connects Hyundai’s past, present and future designs. Hide Caption 24 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureElectra Meccanica Solo – This one-seater offering might not be the fastest — boasting estimated top speeds of just 82mph (130kph) — but the diminutive three wheeler will zip you around the city where few other cars can go for just $15,500. Hide Caption 25 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model X – Described as the “safest SUV ever,” the new Model X seats seven but can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds. Hide Caption 26 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureBMW i Vision Dynamics – An amalgamation of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, the i Vision Dynamics concept has a range of 373 miles and accelerates from 0-62mph in four seconds. Hide Caption 27 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureMini Electric Concept Car – Expect to see all-electric Minis on the roads by 2019, marking the 60th anniversary of the legendary marque’s first car. Hide Caption 28 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureMaruti Suzuki Electric e-Survivor – A four-wheel drive SUV concept from India, the futuristic looking e-Survivor will be powered by dual electric motors on each wheel and be equipped for autonomous travel. Hide Caption 29 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – Designed for track use only, the Chinese single-seat Techrules Ren RS can be configured with up to six electric motors, delivering up to 1,287bhp.Hide Caption 30 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – That lets it travel from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in three seconds with a max speed of 205mph (330kph). Hide Caption 31 of 32 Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – What electric supercar concepts have you found most exciting in 2018? Have your say on CNN Sport’s Facebook page. Hide Caption 32 of 32

      The future of older cars

      Hutchison believes the future of cars will involve combining newer technology with older, classic vehicles.”The amount of interest is snowballing astronomically,” he says.”The conversion of classic cars and the public acceptance of them is something that’s very front end.The electric Ferrari now has a new owner, but he’s since revealed he had no idea it was electric when he bought it.”You drive a Volkswagen bus that can out-accelerate a 458 Ferrari, it blows you away. So the more people who experience it, the more it’s going to happen.”

        The opportunities are endless, Hutchison says.”I can’t wait to see what happens with classic cars and electric conversions,” he says. “It’s exciting times.”

Lewis Hamilton clarifies India ‘poor place’ comments

Lewis Hamilton has clarified his comments on Indian poverty after some of his social media followers were “upset.”

In an interview with the BBC, the five-time world champion said he felt “conflicted” attending the Indian Grand Prix, which ran on the Formula One calendar from 2011 to 2013.Visit cnn.com/sport for more news and videos

    “I’ve been to India before to a race which was strange because India was such a poor place yet we had this massive, beautiful grand prix track made in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “I felt very conflicted when I went to that grand prix.”Read MoreREAD: Can legendary Formula One name fire again? READ: Max Verstappen ordered to do ‘public service’

    Please read ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณโค๏ธ pic.twitter.com/UtXRvcP74A

    — Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) November 15, 2018

    That led to some fans criticizing the British driver for his remarks, with one Twitter using writing: “My country is a bit strange as we have the mix of all cultures. “My country is a bit strange as have the world’s largest democracy. But Lewis Hamilton off all these, we are not ‘poor country’ as it seems to you.”

    My country is a bit strange as we have the mix of all cultures.
    My country is a bit strange as have the world's largest democracy.
    But @LewisHamilton off all these, we are not "poor country" as it seems to you.
    P.S
    You and @MercedesAMGF1 are still my favhttps://t.co/wxxtpj7pKO

    — Aakash (@AnEmpyrean) November 14, 2018

    Another wrote: “No Lewis Hamilton, you are wrong. F1 needs to go to new countries to popularize the sport. “I think it’s better you stick to racing and let the sponsors, marketing and branding teams for Formula 1 handle the race circuits. FYI F1 is hugely popular in India.”

    No Lewis Hamilton, you are wrong. F1 needs to go to new countries to popularize the sport. I think it’s better you stick to racing and let the sponsors, marketing and branding teams for Formula 1 handle the race circuits. FYI F1 is hugely popular in India. #F1 @F1

    — Prem Mohanty (@philipbkk) November 14, 2018

    The Buddh International Circuit hosted just three grands prix before it was removed from the F1 schedule following a tax dispute.About 60 percent of India’s nearly 1.3 billion people live on less than $3.10 a day, the World Bank’s median poverty line, according to the bank. And 21 percent– or more than 250 million people — survive on less than $2 a day. In India, the top 1 percent of the population owns 58 per cent of the country’s wealth.”Hey everyone, I noticed some people are upset with my comment on India,” Hamilton posted on his social media accounts. “First off, India is one of the most beautiful places in the world. “The culture there is incredible. I have visited and always had an amazing time. However, whilst it’s the fastest growing economy, it also has a lot of poverty.”

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      Lewis Hamilton reflects on first world title 02:52Hamilton said it “felt strange to drive past homeless people then arrive in a huge arena where money was not an issue.”India spent an estimated $400 million to bring Formula One to the country, building a brand new track and 120,000-seat arena in 2011.”They spent hundreds of millions on that track that is now never used,” Hamilton said.

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        Valtteri Bottas: Finland’s Formula One hero 22:48″That money could have been spent on schools or homes for those in need.”When we did have the race, nobody came because it was too expensive most likely, or no interest. However, I have met some amazing Indian fans.”But while there were some who criticized the 33-year-old, many others agreed with his comments.

          “I knew … Nothing wrong in there! I’m from India as well and what you said was correct,” wrote one fan.

          ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ I knew.. Nothing wrong in there! I’m from India as well and what you said was correct.

          — Abhay #TeamLH (@Abhay_21k) November 15, 2018

          “Totally true!” wrote another. “Being from India myself I totally agree with what you’ve said. But for interest to flourish here, races should be conducted here. Personally a big fan.”

          Totally true! Being from india myself I totally agree with what you’ve said . But for interest to flourish here , races should be conducted here. Personally a big fan @LewisHamilton

          — Jainish Sethia (@jainish001) November 15, 2018

Max Verstappen: Formula One’s rising star sparks Dutch adoration

Something unusual happened in the Netherlands this year.

After a six-year reign as the country’s favorite sports star, four-time Olympic speed skating champion Sven Kramer was upstaged by a young and feisty race car driver.Max Verstappen, the super-fast, straight-talking Formula One prodigy, has upstaged his illustrious counterpart — according to a biennial poll by the Hendrik Beerda Brand Consultancy in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam.

    Visit CNN.com/sport for more news and videosThat’s no mean feat in a country obsessed with soccer and speed skating.Read More”The Dutch see Verstappen as a huge success story, performing at a level that we haven’t seen for a long time,” Hendrik Beerda told CNN.

    History maker

    Since making his F1 debut in 2015 at the age of 17, the supremely talented son of former racer Jos Verstappen has taken the sport — and his country — by storm. At the age of 18, Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix in his first outing for the Red Bull Racing team, becoming not only the sport’s youngest ever race winner but also the first Dutchman to claim an F1 victory. Verstappen has since taken the checkered flag on four further occasions, including this year’s races in Austria and Mexico.Verstappen celebrates after the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. Although Verstappen’s aggressive racing style has at times led to clashes with other drivers, his never-say-die attitude has earned him the respect of Dutch fans. “Verstappen is regarded as the big international sports hero, and the admiration for his courage and innovative style is unsurpassed,” said Beerda.Verstappen is seen as “confident, unique, non-conformist and a bit wild,” he added. “For that reason,” explained Beerda, “you could say he is more admired than loved.”

    Dutch Grand Prix?

    With “Max mania” sweeping the Netherlands, a country roughly twice the size of New Jersey with a population of 17 million, it is no wonder F1’s owner Liberty Media is considering bringing back the Dutch Grand Prix.”We are very interested in racing in Holland,” Sean Bratches, the sport’s commercial managing director, told Reuters this week. The Dutch Grand Prix was staged at Circuit Zandvoort, located in the seaside resort of Zandvoort, west of Amsterdam, between 1952 and 1985. In 2016, the race track was bought by Chapman Andretti partners, a group co-founded by Prince Bernhard van Oranje — a race car driving, entrepreneurial cousin of Dutch King Willem-Alexander.In May, an exhibition event with Verstappen and other Red Bull drivers at Zandvoort attracted more than 110,000 fans.”We are having productive conversations there and I am cautiously optimistic we can do something to surprise and delight fans in that territory and take advantage of the Max factor,” said Bratches.

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      ‘New sporting hero’

      Verstappen’s meteoric rise coincided with the disappointing performance of the Dutch soccer team, which failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championships and this year’s World Cup. The Dutch team, known as “Oranje,” has historically been a force to be reckoned with on the global stage, winning the 1988 European Championships and reaching the World Cup final on three occasions — most recently in 2010.Its recent failures have contributed to Verstappen’s popularity. “There was space for a new sporting hero,” said Beerda.Follow @cnnsport

      Son of Jos ‘The Boss’

      Born in Hasselt, Belgium, Verstappen has racing blood in his veins. He is the son of Jos “The Boss” Verstappen, who competed in F1 between 1994 and 2003 for teams including Benetton, Tyrell and Minardi. Verstappen’s mother, Sophie Kumpen, comes from a wealthy family of Belgian entrepreneurs with a passion for motor racing. Sophie was a top karting racer herself, competing against former F1 drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli until she married Jos. Anthony Kumpen, a two-time Euro NASCAR Champion, is one of Max’s uncles. After their divorce in 2006, the Verstappens decided Sophie would look after their daughter, Victoria, while Max would live with his father on the Dutch-Belgian border so he could help him in his racing career.Max Verstappen with his father, Jos, at the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix. In a rare interview with Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws in 2016, Kumpen described that time as “a very tough period.” At the age of four, Max was given a kart, and promptly won almost every race he entered. While Jos guided his son on the European karting circuit, where he became the European and world karting champion in 2012, his mother helped him stay grounded.Following her divorce, Sophie worked at the Public Centre for Social Welfare in Belgium, and she made a point of sharing her experiences with her superstar son, who is worth $17 million according to Quote Magazine in the Netherlands. “I see a lot of poverty,” Kumpen told Het Laatste Nieuws. “I see the underbelly of society. I think it is good I can show Max…I want him to know that there is a whole different world out there besides his own. It is good to keep him grounded.”

      Orange Army

      Although the now 21-year-old Max Verstappen was born and raised in Belgium, and now lives in Monaco, there was never any doubt in his mind he would eventually race under the Dutch flag. His choice to compete for the Netherlands also made commercial sense.Verstappen has become so popular, he now has his very own “Max Verstappen Stand” at race venues in Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Germany, where thousands of orange-clad and beer-swigging Dutch fans come to sing and cheer on their countryman.

      Amazed to see so many Orange fans! Here at the track and at the Max Verstappen Village. Goosebumps! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป Thank you all! ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป #OrangeArmy #MaxVerstappenVillage #AustrianGP ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น pic.twitter.com/IuV6lLkyj0

      — Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) June 30, 2018

      Last year, more than 60,000 Orange fans traveled to Belgium to see Verstappen race at Spa-Francorchamps. This season, the first “Max Verstappen Village,” including a campsite, a restaurant and a huge party tent, was built on a piece of farmland in Spielberg, a stone’s throw from the Red Bull Ring where the Austrian GP is held.It attracted over 4,500 Dutch fan and there are plans for similar villages, not only at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix but also the British race at Silverstone. “It’s incredible to see how much orange came out here, and especially when I was in the ‘Max Verstappen Village,'” Motorsport.com quoted Verstappen as saying after he visited the site shortly before winning this year’s race in Austria.”When I walked onto the stage, it just gave me goosebumps. Really crazy, but a lot of fun.”

      TV ratings

      Verstappen’s popularity is not only boosting the coffers of race organizers, it is also big business for broadcasters in the Netherlands.Although global TV ratings for F1 have dropped by more than 40% over the past decade, according to a report in The Independent newspaper in June, Dutch viewers flock to their TV sets every time Verstappen takes to the track.Max Verstappen is worth โ‚ฌ15 million. Last month, some 1.9 million viewers, or about 11% of the country, saw Verstappen repeat his 2017 win at the Grand Prix of Mexico. Earlier this month, F1 announced it had extended a deal with Dutch broadcaster Ziggo Sport by three years, from 2019.

        “Formula One in the Netherlands has a long and rich history and thanks particularly to Max Verstappen it is enjoying another significant growth period,” Ian Holmes, F1’s director of media rights, said in a press release. “The ‘Orange Army’ descending on Spa and Spielberg has resonated around the world and more and more Dutch fans are engaging with the sport like never before.”

‘Formula E has advantages over F1,’ says former F1 champion Nico Rosberg

For former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg, it’s undeniable that respect for electric motorsport is growing.

Formula E, he says, represents the future of mobility and despite what all-electric racing critics had predicted — it’s just as entertaining to watch.

    .@JeanEricVergne wins the 2018 Qatar Airways #ParisEPrix, @LucasdiGrassi second but @sambirdracing finishes third with three wheels! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ pic.twitter.com/Il7rMgUJod

    — ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) April 28, 2018

    “You never know what to expect,” Rosberg told CNN’s Supercharged. “Last time (in Paris, Sam Bird) — who finished third — arrived with three tires of the four! He finished the race in three tires. I mean, that’s pretty impressive.”Then there’s John Eric Vergne, who managed to take the provisional pole position in Hong Kong back in December despite driving backwards over the finish line. “That’s all the things you need to see,” explained Rosberg, who was crowned F1 world champion in 2016 before retiring. “It’s great how Formula E has become such an entertaining sport to watch and in many ways it has some advantages over Formula One because it is the unexpected.”Read MoreIn fact, even Rosberg’s father Keke, who was also an F1 world champion in 1982, has embraced the change that comes with Formula E.”He is an absolute petrol head. In the beginning he was like ‘who is going to watch e-mobility Formula E, who needs that?’ and then the other day I caught him — he set the alarm to watch the Formula E race start!”So this is it, that is the biggest sign that the category is established within the hardcore racing world.”

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      The Gen2: Formula E’s F22-inspired race car 00:55It’s been a while since fans have seen the German on the track. But for the first time since his shock retirement at the age of 31, he was back behind the wheel to test drive Formula E’s new, futuristic Gen2 car.READ: “Welcome to Gotham” — Formula E unveils next generation ‘Batmobile’ designFrom the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie, Rosberg sped through the streets of Berlin showcasing the ultramodern design and aggressive aesthetic.It’s no surprise that Rosberg was keen to see experience the car at close quarters. Last month, it was announced he’d become an investor and shareholder in Formula E.”I did a donut as well in the middle of the city — that was cool,” Rosberg chuffed.Rosberg also took the electric vehicle through its paces on Tempelhof Airport’s circuit. Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinFormer Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg treated fans at the Berlin E-Prix with the first public demonstration of the futuristic Gen 2 car. It will be raced in the all-electric Formula E series for its fifth season, which starts later this year.Hide Caption 1 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinRosberg took the car around the streets of Berlin — from the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie — and even put it through its paces at Tempelhof Airport circuit.Hide Caption 2 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinFormula E says the Gen2 car “boasts a futuristic new-look for Formula E, but also shows a clear jump in performance over a race distance and almost double the engine storage capacity.”Hide Caption 3 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in Berlin”It is a huge step in technology and innovation,” Rosberg told CNN’s Superchaged. “It was exciting to drive through the city — through my capital city — past the landmarks, and I did a donut as well in the middle of the city, so that was cool.”Hide Caption 4 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinSince retiring in 2016, Rosberg has become an investor and shareholder in Formula E.Hide Caption 5 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinIt was Rosberg’s first public appearance since winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Mercedes — which will be joining the Formula E grid for the 2019-20 season, adding to speculation that Rosberg could be returning to the track — but he was quick to shut down rumors.Hide Caption 6 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinViewers will be able to watch the Gen2’s official debut when the fifth Formula E season begins in Saudi Arabia later this year.Hide Caption 7 of 7The most significant development in Formula E’s Gen2 car is that it now has twice as much energy storage capacity — meaning drivers will no longer have to make a mid-race car swap as they have done since the sport first launched in 2014. It was Rosberg’s first public appearance since winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Mercedes — which will be joining the Formula E grid during the 2019-20 season, adding to speculation Rosberg might return to competitive racing.There was speculation Rosberg might return to racing but he was quick to shut the rumors down.But he was quick to deny those rumors, telling CNN’s Nikki Shields that he has no ambitions getting back on the grid. “When I finished F1 it was a blank sheet of paper and I started exploring, looking at things, and I saw that there was a huge potential in the mobility space to really have a big impact on our world and Formula E is the pinnacle of that.”I am very happy with where I am at the moment so my thoughts have not gone into any different opportunities and it’s great to be here and supporting in the role that I am in.”

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        F1: Nico Rosberg on rivalries, relief & retirement 03:40However, Rosberg couldn’t contain his excitement following his laps on Tempelhof Airport’s circuit.”That was massively exciting,” he told Supercharged.”It was a great, special experience for me. A lot of memories came back and just being in that space again — (it was) really nice.”

          Visit CNN.com/motorsport for more news and featuresThe first opportunity to see the Gen2 in race action will come when Formula E’s fifth season beings in Saudi Arabia later this year.

Felipe Massa powered by thrill of the competition in Formula E

He competed in 269 Formula One races, won 11 of them, and for a few seconds at the end of the 2008 season it looked like he was about to become world champion.

Now, Felipe Massa is taking on a new challenge in Formula E.The 37-year-old Brazilian, who left F1 at the end of the 2017 season, has signed to race for the Venturi team and will make his debut in the all-electric championship when its fifth season begins later this year.

    He was on hand in Zurich and New York for the final two rounds of the 2017-18 season and has tested the Gen2 car, a leap forward for all-electric race cars that will be introduced to FE from next season. “I was always interested in maybe being in Formula E as I said many times when I was still racing in F1,” explained Massa. “So I did a test a year and a half ago for Jaguar, but then I carried on for another year [in F1 in 2017].”

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      Susie Wolff: From driver to Venturi principal 04:43Read MoreREAD: F1 pioneer makes electrifying career changeBut Massa ultimately decided FE would be the next stop in a long career which has included eight years with Ferrari and four more at Williams.”The thing that I miss most is the competition,” says Massa, who enjoyed 15 seasons racing in F1, a more glamorous and storied form of motorsport but one which has been criticized for a lack of overtaking in races.That is one criticism that could not be leveled against FE during its first four seasons. “When you’re talking about proper competition, I think Formula E has good competition,” he adds.Indeed, Massa says it is that close competition that led him to chose FE over the World Endurance Championship, where his former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso enjoyed success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with Toyota Gazoo Racing — which dominated the classification. “I’m not really a big fan of a championship that maybe has [only] one team racing — like maybe LMP1, which I think is maybe the best car after F1 to race,” Massa says. “This is something that I was not really interested in. All the ideas around [FE], after I finished my career in F1 — it is interesting.”Thanks to his F1 success, and running Lewis Hamilton so close to that world title in 2008, Massa is arguably the most high-profile driver so far to join FE’s ranks. Jacques Villeneuve trumps his success status thanks to his 1997 world championship triumph, but Massa is probably a more recognizable name among the younger fans that FE is aiming to attract.But, at Venturi, Massa has picked a tough place to begin his FE adventure. The team has not won a race in the four seasons held so far and finished seventh in the recently concluded 2017-18 championship, with Maro Engel, who ended the season 12th, the best-placed of its racers in the drivers’ standings. Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinFormer Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg treated fans at the Berlin E-Prix with the first public demonstration of the futuristic Gen 2 car. It will be raced in the all-electric Formula E series for its fifth season, which starts later this year.Hide Caption 1 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinRosberg took the car around the streets of Berlin — from the Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie — and even put it through its paces at Tempelhof Airport circuit.Hide Caption 2 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinFormula E says the Gen2 car “boasts a futuristic new-look for Formula E, but also shows a clear jump in performance over a race distance and almost double the engine storage capacity.”Hide Caption 3 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in Berlin”It is a huge step in technology and innovation,” Rosberg told CNN’s Superchaged. “It was exciting to drive through the city — through my capital city — past the landmarks, and I did a donut as well in the middle of the city, so that was cool.”Hide Caption 4 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinSince retiring in 2016, Rosberg has become an investor and shareholder in Formula E.Hide Caption 5 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinIt was Rosberg’s first public appearance since winning the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Mercedes — which will be joining the Formula E grid for the 2019-20 season, adding to speculation that Rosberg could be returning to the track — but he was quick to shut down rumors.Hide Caption 6 of 7 Photos: Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg takes Formula E Gen2 car for a spin in BerlinViewers will be able to watch the Gen2’s official debut when the fifth Formula E season begins in Saudi Arabia later this year.Hide Caption 7 of 7READ: Why FE is the most exciting motorsportHe will work together will new Venturi team boss Susie Wolff — his former Williams teammate — and is nevertheless confident heading into his new challenge.”When it is a new season, a new car, it’s a big change for everybody, so it is impossible to say who is going to win the championship next year,” he says. “But if you see everything that the team is preparing, it’s quite interesting and I really hope that we can have a competitive car. “It’s true that Venturi have never won a race, but they were very close to winning [last] season and they’ve managed some very good results as well.”Massa is already making his mark at Venturi, with team technical director Franck Baldet, saying he is “a very open-minded colleague”.”He’s learning as much as possible how to manage the energy, because it’s different compared to F1,” added Baldet. “[But] his background in F1 is also helping us, so we are in a situation where we are all learning from each other and we are making big progress.”But FE is a famously tough category — Villeneuve lasted all of three events — and its unpredictable nature and street circuit settings means there is little margin for error. For season five, new brake-by-wire technology may make braking easier and perhaps reduce the number of driver errors, but Massa will still be four seasons behind many of his opponents in terms of race experience. Crucially, however, he accepts that he and Venturi may not achieve instant success. Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement A year after calling time on his long and storied Formula One career, veteran driver Felipe Massa is returning to the track in Formula E. The Brazilian is set to join Formula E team Venturi in the all-electric series for the 2018/19 season.Hide Caption 1 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Having spent his formative years racing karts in his native Brazil, Massa got his big break in Formula One with Swiss-based Team Sauber, making his debut in the 2002 Australian Grand Prix and taking his first F1 points just one race later in Malaysia. Hide Caption 2 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Switching to Ferrari in 2006, Massa replaced Honda-bound compatriot Rubens Barrichello and enjoyed his maiden podium with a third-place finish at the European Grand Prix. He followed that up with second places in the United States and Germany, partnering the legendary Michael Schumacher in the German’s last ever championship campaign in the iconic red. Hide Caption 3 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement And that elusive first Formula 1 victory came soon after, as Massa took the plaudits in Turkey after his maiden pole position. Ferrari retained the Brazilian after a series of other impressive performances.Hide Caption 4 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement He would go on to enjoy his most successful period on the track with Ferarri, as the Brazilian clocked up 11 race wins and 36 podiums. Just a single point separated Massa from the championship in 2008 as he pushed McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton (right) all the way. Hide Caption 5 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement But the Brazilian was victim of a terrible accident in the summer of 2009, careering off the circuit in qualifying for the Hungary Grand Prix at 200kph (125mph) after being struck on the head by a loose spring from the car of Brawn GP driver Barrichello. Massa suffered a fractured skull and spent several days in a medically-induced coma.Hide Caption 6 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Massa valiantly returned to the track in 2010 alongside new teammate Fernando Alonso, and podium finishes in both Bahrain and Australia suggested he was ready to put the trauma of his accident behind him. Hide Caption 7 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement However, as the season developed, Alonso increasingly looked the more consistent performer — culminating in Massa infamously being forced to move aside for his teammate at the 2010 German Grand Prix.Hide Caption 8 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement Speculation Massa would lose his drive with Ferrari was quelled with impressive performances in the back-end of 2012, but the following season a number of accidents — including two in Monaco — slowed any building momentum for the Brazilian. Hide Caption 9 of 10 Photos: Brazilian announces F1 retirement And Massa was eventually replaced by Kimi Raikkonen in 2014, prompting the Brazilian to make the switch to Williams. Despite a less competitive car, he has continued to perform well — scoring a number of further podiums and finishing sixth in the standings. Hide Caption 10 of 10″It can be, it can be,” he says when asked if factory FE teams such as Audi, Nissan and in the future Porsche and Mercedes could be too strong for Venturi. “But the team that is winning this championship [Techeetah, which took Jean-Eric Vergne to the season four title] is not a big team,” he adds. “That’s the only difference in Formula E from other championships — it’s more unpredictable. You never know — when everything is new things can happen in the right way, or may be less than what you expected — it’s true, but let’s see.

        “My goal is to be competitive, the best as I can give. My goal never changes in whole my career.”And this is an encouraging stance. Massa is entering FE because he wants to win, not to simply bank pay checks and make up the numbers.