Formula E showing sustainability is way forward with net zero Diriyah E-Prix

Formula E showing sustainability is way forward with net zero Diriyah E-Prix
Julia Palle, Sustainability Director at Formula E, believes electrification is the way forward for motorsports. (Formula E)
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Updated 28 January 2022

Formula E showing sustainability is way forward with net zero Diriyah E-Prix

Formula E showing sustainability is way forward with net zero Diriyah E-Prix
  • Sport setting trends others will follow on, off track: Formula E sustainability director, Julia Palle

Year on year, the profile of Formula E continues to grow.

And with Season 8 of the electric car series set to get underway with a double-header of night races in Riyadh, environmental sustainability will, more than ever before, be at the heart of the 2022 Diriyah E-Prix, a carbon net zero event.

Formula E sustainability director, Julia Palle, said: “Sustainability is this huge wave that is coming and really changing the way we are approaching sport.

“We’ve always had this view that sports were bringing something more to fans in the world than entertainment per se. And certainly, that’s why Formula E has been created.”

As a sport whose mission is to, in Palle’s words, “advance electrification,” Formula E has been setting the standards for others to follow.

“It’s really a way to showcase sustainable lifestyles. And as you’ve seen, there are a lot of other sports that are little by little taking the example, following the leadership that Formula E has been trendsetting for eight years now.

“You’ve seen the first Premier League game that was net zero carbon a couple of months ago, and a few other sports that have followed the lead, either in terms of net zero or strong initiatives regarding gender,” she added.

Last year’s Diriyah E-Prix launched Season 7 of Formula E with a double-header of night races for the first time, notably under new state-of-the-art LED floodlights. This year’s races will look to take it up a level or two.

Palle said: “We’ve decided to build on this kind of innovative approach to LED lighting. This year, the entire race is going to be powered by renewable energy.

“There’s another important thing, which is the fact that we work with a local charity each year, which is always the same, it’s the Society for Autism families. This is something that we always work closely on with the government, and what is important is that they’ve chosen us as the sport to develop this partnership.

“One of the beauties of the sport is that we have no noise pollution. So, we are able to be a family event that brings on different types of people, including people that suffer from autism, having a great day with us, including sharing something really special with their families.

“So, there’s much more to it than the environmental side, it’s also the social impact that we create,” she added.

Palle pointed out that every aspect of the Diriyah E-Prix had a sustainability obligation, from VIP hospitality areas to the stands and waste recycling outlets.

Formula E hopes its holistic approach to the event will have an influence on the lifestyles of its fans and beyond.

“We’ve actually done lots of studies and the good thing is that all sports are basically raising awareness, and inviting people to live more sustainable lifestyles,” Palle said.

“So, for example, on our events, you will see some vegetarian and vegan options, because we know that a less intensive meat diet is something that is better for your health, and also better for the planet.

“Waste recycling constantly, a very careful approach to the use of plastic, and this year we will have this partnership with Aquafina (brand of purified bottled water), and it’s clearly marked up that all the bottles will be recycled, again, locally. It’s really good, like trying to showcase some simple initiatives that the public can take,” she added.

Formula E has just launched No Turning Back, a season-long campaign setting the tone for the championship’s journey into a new era ahead of the Season 9 debut of the Gen3, the sport’s fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient racing car yet.

Palle said: “No Turning Back’s messaging is literally about the fact that the future is electric, the way forward is electric. You see that in every country and city of the world that electrification is the biggest trend. Governments are taking legislation to basically ban the sale of anything that is not electric.”

The sustainability director is also involved in Extreme E, the all-electric SUV rally series that, similar to Formula E, has been spreading the sustainability message beyond its sporting boundaries.

“So really, the future in terms of mobility is electric. And I would extend that and say that the future is living sustainable lifestyles that are really exciting and that’s what Formula E or Extreme E are, showcasing that the future is promising and exciting and not showcasing that the future is doom and gloom. We have technological solutions, and we work with partners and experts in their field,” she added.

Season 8 of Formula E may be about to start but already there is excitement at what Season 9 will bring.

Palle said: “Gen3 is the pinnacle of racing performance and sustainability, and probably that’s the best way to sum up what the championship is all about. Gen3 is going to be super-light, super-fast, it’s going to create half of the energy it needs for the race during the race.

“But also, it’s been built with sustainability at its heart. All suppliers that are integrating the different parts, the tires, the batteries, and the chassis, have basically been given strong sustainability key performance indicators that they will have to deliver on.

“All the tires are going to be recycled, they’re going to be made at least by 30 percent of sustainable material. The batteries are going to be recycled. It’s something that has never been seen in the sport. It’s what the future of motorsport can look like, and not just should look like, because we’re doing it so we’re proving it’s possible,” she added.

And is Formula E increasingly becoming a championship that the best drivers and carmakers will turn to?

“One of our latest announcements speaks for itself. Maserati, the first Italian brand, are joining the championship and there are really high-performance cars that are capturing the imagination of any driver.

“It’s justifying the interest that manufacturers have for us, but also really showcasing that the platform is highly relevant for whichever type of car you’re producing.

“And certainly, that goes with the kind of drivers that you want to attract. We have an amazing lineup of drivers, with a couple drivers that are completely new coming from really prestigious backgrounds and carriers that are certainly going to continue to elevate the sport,” Palle said.


Portugal stepping out of Ronaldo’s long shadow at World Cup

Portugal stepping out of Ronaldo’s long shadow at World Cup
Updated 29 sec ago

Portugal stepping out of Ronaldo’s long shadow at World Cup

Portugal stepping out of Ronaldo’s long shadow at World Cup
  • A future without the country’s greatest ever player could be a daunting prospect to the up-and-coming generation of Portugal internationals
DOHA: To Bruno Fernandes, World Cup teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is the most famous athlete in sports.
Joao Felix has described Ronaldo as “irreplaceable.”
Gonçalo Ramos, Portugal’s new 21-year-old star, has never known his national team without Ronaldo involved in it.
A future without the country’s greatest ever player could be a daunting prospect to the up-and-coming generation of Portugal internationals.
They aren’t showing it at the World Cup.
In fact, they showed they might even be liberated by stepping out of Ronaldo’s long shadow given the way Portugal demolished Switzerland 6-1 in the round of 16 on Tuesday.
Turns out there is life after the five-time world player of the year, even if that is hard for some to imagine.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos wanted a team “playing with a lot of fluidity” against Switzerland and that invariably meant leaving the 37-year-old Ronaldo — the player with more goals (118) than anyone in men’s international football — on the bench. It was a big call and it couldn’t have gone better, at least against Switzerland.
It’s a call that Erik ten Hag has made at Manchester United this season, preferring to have more mobile players in his front four than an undoubted goal machine whose movement is no longer what it was.
It took until the round of 16 for Santos to make that move at the World Cup, with his convictions strengthened by his obvious unhappiness at Ronaldo’s attitude after being substituted in the group game against South Korea.
The Portuguese football federation insisted Thursday that Ronaldo was dedicated to the team, saying he had built up a “unique track record every day” of service for his country and had an “unquestionable degree of commitment to the national team.”
That won’t necessarily guarantee him starts in the future.
Against Switzerland, Ramos — who came in for Ronaldo, to the shock of many, and scored a hat trick on his debut — stretched the opposition defense more than Ronaldo typically does. It gave Felix, playing just behind Ramos, more space to work in and he produced one of his best performances for Portugal.
It couldn’t be further from the Felix that seems so constrained under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid, working as hard on his defensive discipline and keeping team shape as what he offers in attack.
Santos went through the attributes of the three strikers in his squad — Ronaldo, Ramos and Andre Silva — and said that while Ronaldo is a player “who is more fixed and plays in a more determined area,” Ramos is “more dynamic.”
So dropping Ronaldo requires a shift in game plan. It might have worked against Switzerland, but will it work against Morocco?
Looking to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semifinals, Morocco is expected to defend deep against Portugal and play on the counterattack. Santos has to make the call whether this is more of a game for Ronaldo — one of football’s greatest ever players — or to stick with the player who just had the game of his life.
It’s not a bad situation to be in, and leaves Portugal as a very dangerous proposition either way.

Spain sack Luis Enrique after World Cup flop

Spain sack Luis Enrique after World Cup flop
Spain's coach Luis Enrique (R) hugs assistant coach Aitor Unzue upon their arrival with some members of Spain team. AFP
Updated 6 min 54 sec ago

Spain sack Luis Enrique after World Cup flop

Spain sack Luis Enrique after World Cup flop
  • The federation said they wanted to thank Luis Enrique and his staff for their work, but had decided to start a “new project”

DOHA: Spain sacked coach Luis Enrique on Thursday after the 2010 champions were dumped out of the World Cup by Morocco at the last-16 stage earlier this week.
“Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision,” the Spanish FA said in a statement.
The federation said they wanted to thank Luis Enrique and his staff for their work, but had decided to start a “new project.”
“The sporting direction of the RFEF has given the president a report, in which it was determined that a new project should start for the national team, with the objective of continuing the growth achieved in the last few years thanks to Luis Enrique and his colleagues,” added the RFEF.
Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game in Qatar but suffered a shock defeat by Japan that resulted in a second-place finish in Group E.
Spain were strong favorites to beat Morocco in the first knockout round but lost 3-0 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 following extra-time.
“We dominated the game but we lacked a goal,” lamented Luis Enrique after the game.
“We could have been more effective in the final third, but I am more than satisfied with what my players did.
“They represented perfectly what my idea of football is.”
Spain last lifted a major trophy a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they have not won a single knockout game at the World Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010.
Luis Enrique took over in 2018 after Spain’s disappointing Russia World Cup showing, and led La Roja to the semifinals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.


Matteo Berrettini targets return to world top 10 with Diriyah Tennis Cup campaign

Matteo Berrettini targets return to world top 10 with Diriyah Tennis Cup campaign
Updated 08 December 2022

Matteo Berrettini targets return to world top 10 with Diriyah Tennis Cup campaign

Matteo Berrettini targets return to world top 10 with Diriyah Tennis Cup campaign
  • ‘I’m ready to compete again,’ Italian star says, looking back on injury-plagued year

After a stop-start 2022 campaign that saw Matteo Berrettini miss two of the four tennis grand slams due to injuries and illness, the Italian is hoping he enjoys a healthier 2023 as he targets a return to the world’s top 10.

Berrettini, who is in Saudi Arabia this week competing in the Diriyah Tennis Cup, was ranked a career-high No.6 early this season after reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

A right-hand injury that required surgery ruled him out of the entire clay season before he made an impressive return to the tour, winning back-to-back grass-court titles in Stuttgart and London. Bad luck struck again, however, as he tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of Wimbledon and the 26-year-old sat out the action, knowing he was considered one of the favorites for the title.

Last month, a foot problem he picked up in Naples stopped him from playing singles for Italy in the Davis Cup finals, where he took part in just one doubles match before wrapping up his season.

“Mentally, it was really tough,” Berrettini told Arab News, reflecting on his 2022 campaign.

“I was at my best ranking, I was playing good, I had a good run in Australia, clay season was coming and grass season was coming, which are the ones I love the most, and then that injury happened so it was tough to deal with that.

“At the same time I tried to take that time in order to come back stronger, with more energy. Because, obviously, the tour can be really tiring in some ways, so I was like, OK, I have to stop and get surgery, but I’m going to try to use this time to get better, to maybe do something I wouldn’t able to do when I’m on tour. Just invest some time to do stuff I never had the time to do and I helped myself like that.

“It worked out because when I came back I was feeling ready, I was feeling good. Obviously after I got COVID in Wimbledon everything went a little bit downhill, but it’s ups and downs and, hopefully, next year there are going to be more ups.”

Berrettini admits it is tough getting back to being fully focused on tennis, and not spending too much time worrying about his body and his physical problems.

He said that he is feeling better and is “ready to compete” with an eye on having another strong run in Australia next month.

The Rome native explains how he tries to bring an intensity to his practice sessions to mimic match conditions in order to regain that match toughness he was lacking while dealing with injuries. He believes a healthier body can help relieve some of the pressure he has been feeling at tournaments lately.

“In general, I would like to be healthier. I played I don’t know how many tournaments this year and I felt like each tournament I played I had to perform and get points, otherwise my ranking would drop even more and having that kind of pressure is not easy to deal with,” said Berrettini.  

“So being healthy would mean also to be less stressed about that, so that’s one of the goals for sure (in 2023). Obviously I’d like to come back to the top 10, because I think the tennis is there, I just have to be more consistent.”

A former Wimbledon finalist with a devastating serve and forehand combination, Berrettini has shown great consistency at the grand slams over the last few years. He has made at least the quarterfinals in each of his last five major appearances, losing to Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in four of them.

The men’s game is going through a generational change right now and players such as Berrettini are no longer focused only on chasing Djokovic and Nadal at the biggest events. The current world No.1 is Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz and Berrettini senses a shift in mentality on tour now that a 19-year-old is at the helm.

“It feels unbelievable if you think about it, what he achieved in such a short time,” Berrettini said of Alcaraz.

“I remember playing him in Australia at the beginning of the year and I played him Rio as well, and I felt he is a great player but what he did is still impressive for his age. The physicality he already has and everything, also mentally it’s not easy to deal with everything that he dealt with, so it’s impressive.

“At the same time we know that tennis it’s really tough, but it’s not impossible, we all know we can play our best tennis, I have to say it was a weird year with Novak not playing most of the slams, it was kind of a little weird. But Carlos deserves the world No.1 and I think everybody now is like, OK, he did it, yeah maybe it changed (our mentality) a little bit, it’s like maybe we can do it as well.

“Before world No.1 was Novak and Rafa, Daniil (Medvedev) already did it, which was impressive, but now, even Casper (Ruud) had the chance to be No.1 after the US Open.”

Away from the court, Berrettini has had an eventful year, full of new experiences. He became one of the faces of the fashion label Boss, alongside TikTok star Khaby Lame and supermodel Hailey Bieber. He attended the Cannes Film Festival and has been followed by cameras all year as one of the protagonists of the Netflix tennis docu-series that will be released early next season.

“It’s been fun,” he said of being part of the Netflix project.

“At the beginning I was like, what is this? Obviously when you win it’s always easy to have people around you and stuff but then when you lose, it’s tougher, you want to be by yourself, you don’t want to be bothered. But I was like, if I’m going to do this, I want to do it the right way. And that’s what I tried to do. I think it’s going to be really interesting to show people behind-the-scenes the stuff you don’t usually see.”

Berrettini lost his Diriyah Tennis Cup opener on Thursday to Stan Wawrinka. The Italian kicks off his 2023 campaign by representing Italy in the United Cup mixed team event in Brisbane, Australia, starting Dec. 29.


England’s Sterling to return to Qatar

England’s Sterling to return to Qatar
England's Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring past Iran's goalkeeper during Qatar World Cup Group B match. AFP
Updated 08 December 2022

England’s Sterling to return to Qatar

England’s Sterling to return to Qatar
  • The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad

DOHA: England forward Raheem Sterling is to return to the World Cup in Qatar on Friday after spending time in England following a robbery at his home, England’s Football Association said on Thursday.
“Raheem Sterling will return to England’s World Cup base in Qatar. The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday ahead of the quarter-final with France,” the FA said in a statement.
Sterling did not feature in England’s squad for the 3-0 win against Senegal with Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka playing either side of striker Harry Kane.
It would be a surprise should Sterling be picked to start against France although his return does increase manager Gareth Southgate’s options from the bench.
British media reports had said that Sterling’s home was broken into by armed intruders while his family were in the property on Saturday night.
However, Surrey Police later said that no-one was at home at the time of the burglary and no threats of violence were involved.
The police said the house’s occupants were away on an ‘international trip’ and discovered on their return that a number of items of jewelry, including watches, had been stolen.
Southgate had been supportive of Sterling’s decision to leave the camp and return to England.
“At the moment clearly the priority is for him to be with his family. We’re going to support that and leave him to have as much time as he needs,” he had said.
Sterling has been a key player for England during Southgate’s six years in charge.
The 28-year-old has 20 goals in 81 caps for his country, including one at the 2022 World Cup in a 6-2 victory over Iran.


The evolving role of the substitute in cricket

The evolving role of the substitute in cricket
Updated 08 December 2022

The evolving role of the substitute in cricket

The evolving role of the substitute in cricket
  • As the sport’s franchises continue to grow, the role of the ‘12th player’ has taken on more importance

If evidence is needed of cricket’s attempts to ape the commercial march of football, then the decision of the Board for Control of Cricket in India, or BCCI, to introduce a tactical substitute system into the Indian Premier League, known as the IPL, in 2023 is an example. However, it has taken years to arrive at this position.

Substitutes were introduced in professional football for the qualifying rounds of the 1954 World Cup, although it was not until 1970 that they were allowed in the finals, despite having been added to the Laws of the Game in 1958. Many countries adopted the measure during the 1950s but English football authorities dragged their feet and it was not until 1965 that the first substitution was made in the English league. In 2022-23, five substitutes are allowed, whilst, in 2021, trials took place relating to substitutes for players suspected to have suffered concussion during a match.

The same concern has been taken seriously in cricket. In July 2019, the International Cricket Council, or ICC, announced a provision for concussion-substitution in Test cricket. If a player suffers concussion and becomes unfit to take any further part in the match, a like-for-like substitute is allowed to play. There are restrictions. If a specialist batter is injured and there is no specialist batter in the squad, but an all-rounder is available, then that player is only allowed to bat. A specialist bowler cannot substitute for a specialist batter. The first call on the provision occurred soon after its introduction. In August 2019, a specialist Australian batter was concussed in a Test with England at Lords and was replaced with a like-for-like substitute.

Prior to this sensible concussion provision, any injury incurred by a player during a match, sufficient to lead to him or her to leave the field either for the remainder of the match or for a shorter time, triggered the use of the “12th player.” Traditionally, this was the player, or one of the players, who was not selected in the starting lineup. Given that the player may not be happy to be omitted, there was no guarantee that the duties would be conducted with good grace and efficiency. One very famous player, who was not selected for the starting 11 when first picked for his country, is rumored to have paid someone else to perform his duties.

Since the 12th player is not permitted to either bat or bowl in the match, the duties are mostly unglamorous. They involve taking out replacement equipment, including bats, messages from coach and/or captain, drinks, ensuring that the team bath has been run to proper temperature, that drinks have been procured for consumption at the end of the day’s play, and sympathizing with a colleague who has been dismissed harshly or cheaply. One legend of the game is rumored to have had a permanent 12th man one season when captaining a county side because he was concerned with horse racing. The messages exchanged in the middle were mainly about the results of a race and which horse to select for another race.

On occasion, fate strikes a 12th player. This could be a catch or an outstanding or calamitous piece of fielding. One famous example occurred at Trent Bridge, Nottingham in 2005, when England’s substitute fielder pounced on the ball at cover, threw down the stumps, to leave a well-set Australian captain out of his ground. The moment irked the Australian for years, even more so as it was a decisive one in the game.

In recent years, there has been a tendency for the 12th player to be someone on the fringe of the team, so as to provide him or her with a taste of the action. In addition, some of the tasks have changed. Formal, timed, drinks breaks are now common, communal baths are less common, and additional ways of communicating messages exist. The BCCI’s proposal for IPL 2023 will go beyond the role of the 12th player as a partial substitute, effectively severing their traditional link as a substitute fielder.

Although the details of the BCCI’s scheme have not yet been revealed, it is thought likely to follow the lines of the Impact Player system used in the 2022 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 competition. At the toss, each team was able to name four substitutes, one of whom could replace any member of the starting team at any point before the end of the 14th over of either innings. The player was able to replace someone who had already been dismissed and bat, as long as no more than 11 players batted. Alternatively, a bowler who had already delivered some overs, could be replaced, with the substitute allowed a full quota of four overs.

There have been previous experiments with substitute systems. Super subs were introduced into one-day internationals, or ODIs, by the ICC in 2005. Under this, a substitute, who had to be named prior to the toss, was a direct replacement for another player. If the original player had been dismissed, the substitute could not bat and could only bowl the number of overs that the original player had not delivered. The system proved to be unpopular with players. It was judged that sides who were already advantaged by winning the toss also benefitted from using their substitute to far greater effect. The experiment was ended in March 2006.

Australia’s Big Bash League experimented with an X Factor system in 2020, whereby teams were able to substitute a member of the starting team after 10 overs of the first innings if the player had not already batted or bowled more than one over. Utilization of the substitute system has been infrequent, suggesting a lack of traction. It has been dropped for the 2022/23 tournament. This flies in the face of the BCCI’s direction of travel and may represent a divergence in T20 innovation philosophy between boards, players and viewers in different countries. It will be fascinating to follow how this plays out in the forthcoming global evolution of T20 franchise cricket.