Bottas wants ‘harsh’ Red Bull penalty for budget cap breach

Bottas wants ‘harsh’ Red Bull penalty for budget cap breach
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas speaks during a press conference at the Formula One United States Grand Prix preview day at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. (AFP)
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Updated 21 October 2022

Bottas wants ‘harsh’ Red Bull penalty for budget cap breach

Bottas wants ‘harsh’ Red Bull penalty for budget cap breach
  • F1’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) found Red Bull committed a “minor” breach of the $145 million spending cap after an exhaustive investigation

AUSTIN, Texas: Valtteri Bottas led the way on Thursday as some of Formula One’s leading drivers called for Red Bull to be punished severely for breaching the sport’s budget cap last year.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, and a likely Red Bull news conference on Friday, the former Mercedes driver, now with Alfa Romeo, said he hoped for a harsh penalty that hurt.

“I personally hope it’s going to be a strict and harsh penalty because it shouldn’t happen — the rules are the rules,” Bottas told a scheduled official news conference.

“It shouldn’t be any different with the penalty. Let’s hope it’s a penalty that hurts them.”

Bottas was teammate to seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton when he was beaten on the last lap of the controversial season-ending 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

“I was in the fight with them for the constructors’ title,” said the Finn. “Yes, we got that, but not the drivers’ — we lost by a few points. A few millions can make a big difference.”

F1’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) found Red Bull committed a “minor” breach of the $145 million spending cap after an exhaustive investigation, it announced earlier this month. The breach, it was explained, was less than five percent of the limit, estimated to be $7.25 million.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz backed Bottas.

He said: “I think every team and every driver wants clarity and fairness. We all know how much one, two, three or four million can make to car development and speed.

“That’s why, years ago, the top three were spending $350 million and now we spend $145 million.”

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez defended his team as they seek, this weekend, to clinch their first constructors’ title since 2013, two weeks after Verstappen completed his runaway second drivers’ championship triumph in Japan.

“We believe we are in line and we believe that everything will come up in the right situation,” he said. “I will leave it down to my team to solve that with the FIA.

“At the end of the day, there are always teams that want to take performance out of you, especially if you are winning — that’s part of the sport.”

While the drivers made public comments, paddock observers and team sources claimed the team were considering an offer from the FIA to accept a proposed punishment, as part of an “accepted breach agreement,” a scenario likely to be explained by the team at an informal news briefing ahead of practice on Friday.

Red Bull has expressed surprise and disappointment at the charges made against them and is expected to argue that the overspend was not used to improve car development.

The team has to decide between accepting the FIA offer or taking legal action and taking the case before a judiciary panel which could result in heavier sanctions.

The possible penalties include a fine, a reduced budget cap, wind tunnel testing restrictions and points deductions, which if applied retrospectively could strip Verstappen of his 2021 championship.

“I just hope that if there is a penalty, it is important to take away the appetite for overspending two or three million on next year’s car because you think it is worth it,” added Sainz. “It needs to be clear for everyone.”
 


Messi hits winner as PSG come from behind to beat Toulouse

Messi hits winner as PSG come from behind to beat Toulouse
Updated 7 sec ago

Messi hits winner as PSG come from behind to beat Toulouse

Messi hits winner as PSG come from behind to beat Toulouse
PARIS: Lionel Messi scored a superb second-half winner as a Paris Saint-Germain side missing the injured Kylian Mbappe and Neymar came from behind to beat Toulouse 2-1 on Saturday and consolidate their lead at the top of Ligue 1.
Dutch midfielder Branco van den Boomen gave mid-table Toulouse the lead at the Parc des Princes from a 20th-minute free-kick, only for Achraf Hakimi to curl in the equalizer with half-time approaching.
Messi then put PSG in front just before the hour mark with a glorious first-time strike on his left foot low into the corner of the net from just outside the area.
It was Messi’s 10th Ligue 1 goal of the season and his 15th for his club this campaign, as the World Cup winner stepped up in the absence of PSG’s two other superstar attackers.
The Qatar-owned club are now eight points clear at the top of the table from Marseille, who play Nice on Sunday and then host PSG in the French Cup last 16 in midweek.
Mbappe will miss that game and the Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich on February 14 after being ruled out for three weeks with a thigh injury suffered in the 3-1 win at Montpellier last Wednesday.
Neymar missed a second successive game here with an apparently minor adductor problem, meaning it was left to Messi to lead the attack alongside the 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike with support from Vitinha and Carlos Soler.
But Christophe Galtier’s side have other injury issues, with Sergio Ramos unable to play and Renato Sanches forced to come off in tears just 12 minutes into the game.
The Portuguese midfielder was starting for just the fifth time since joining from Lille at the start of the season.
He was replaced by teenage defender El Chadaille Bitshiabu, with Danilo Pereira moving up into the midfield, and the substitute was partly responsible when PSG fell behind.
Bitshiabu was booked for bringing down Zakaria Aboukhlal 25 meters from goal, and Van den Boomen sent the resulting free-kick low into the left corner of the net with Gianluigi Donnarumma beaten.
Messi hit the post from a corner and Toulouse had another goal disallowed for offside before the home side drew level seven minutes from half-time as Hakimi collected a Carlos Soler pass, cut in from the right flank and curled a shot on his left foot into the far corner from 20 meters.
Hakimi then turned provider as he set up Messi to make it 2-1 on 58 minutes and the outcome was rarely in doubt after that with PSG — who have had some recent wobbles — deserved winners.
Substitute Mikkel Desler did force a good save from Donnarumma deep into injury time before Messi hit the post again right at the death.
Lyon visit Troyes later before fifth-placed Rennes host Lille looking for an 11th consecutive home league win.

Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram ‘looking forward’ to launching Saudi cricket league

Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram ‘looking forward’ to launching Saudi cricket league
Updated 10 min ago

Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram ‘looking forward’ to launching Saudi cricket league

Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram ‘looking forward’ to launching Saudi cricket league
  • Former Pakistani pacer meets chief of Kingdom’s cricket federation to discuss future of the sport
  • Top PCB official says his country is ready to share its cricketing expertise with players in the Kingdom

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan cricket captain Wasim Akram has said he is “looking forward” to launching a cricket league in Saudi Arabia following his trip to Riyadh this week.
The Pakistani pacer issued the statement after meeting Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation Chairman Prince Saud bin Mishal to discuss the future of the sport in the Kingdom.
Akram’s visit follows a recent strengthening of cricket ties between the two countries.
Last month, Javed Afridi, who owns Pakistan Super League franchise Peshawar Zalmi, announced that his team will play exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi also said last month that the South Asian country is willing to share its expertise in the sport with the Kingdom, where cricket’s popularity is growing rapidly.
“What a trip to Riyadh,” Akram wrote in a Facebook post this week. “Had a great meeting with H.H. Saud (bin) Mishal, talked about cricket in Saudi Arabia, and so looking forward to (starting) a Saudi league insha Allah very soon.”
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have strong economic, defense and cultural ties.
Last month, Pakistan women’s football team were runners-up in a four-nation tournament in the Kingdom.
Since its establishment in 2020, the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation has launched a series of major initiatives, including a national championship, a corporate tournament, a league for expatriate workers, and social programs in several cities.
The ruling body oversees 15 official associations representing the sport in nine regions, and has announced plans to set up additional associations in the remaining regions to ensure cricket is played across the Kingdom.
 


Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top
Updated 04 February 2023

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top
  • Six months after a shock diagnosis which saw him miss the entire first half of the season, Haller finally opened his account for the club he joined last summer
  • The Ivory Coast international's second-half header prompted wild celebrations among his team mates

BERLIN: Sebastien Haller crowned his recent return from testicular cancer with an emotional goal for Borussia Dortmund Saturday, as Union Berlin knocked Bayern Munich off the top of the Bundesliga with a dramatic late win over Mainz.
Six months after a shock diagnosis which saw him miss the entire first half of the season, Haller finally opened his account for the club he joined last summer.
The Ivory Coast international’s second-half header prompted wild celebrations among his team mates and helped Dortmund to a 5-1 win over Freiburg which kept them within two points of leaders Union.
Freiburg were reduced to ten men early in the first half after French full-back Kiliann Sildillia was booked twice in the space of two minutes.
Former Freiburg player Nico Schlotterbeck then heaped more misery onto his old club, his low snapshot beating goalkeeper Mark Flekken at the near post to give Dortmund the lead.
Schlotterbeck and Niklas Suele handed Freiburg a lifeline with some farcical defending on the stroke of half-time, allowing Lucas Hoeler to sweep in an unexpected equalizer.
Yet Karim Adeyemi wriggled his way through the Freiburg box to restore the lead with a neat finish early in the second half, before goals from Haller, Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna completed the rout.
Meanwhile in the capital, Union Berlin were working on their own fairytale as a late winner from US international Jordan Siebatcheu sent the high-flying minnows top of the table.
Former Union player Marcus Ingvartsen had canceled out Kevin Behrens’ first-half opener with a late penalty, but the Berliners rallied to claim a fourth straight win in 2023.
Eintracht Frankfurt also remained within four points of the top as France forward Randal Kolo Muani ran riot in a 3-0 win over hapless Hertha Berlin.
Having put Frankfurt ahead from the penalty spot, Kolo Muani ghosted through the Hertha back line to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark, before Aurelio Buta added a third on the stroke of full time.
RB Leipzig’s 0-0 draw at Cologne meant that Frankfurt remain a point adrift of the Champions League places in fifth.
Hertha have slumped to four straight defeats since the beginning of 2023, and are now five points adrift of safety after fellow strugglers Bochum cruised to a 5-2 win over Hoffenheim.
Philipp Hofmann gave Bochum a deserved lead with a tap-in before Philipp Foerster and Takuma Asano showed up a lifeless Hoffenheim defense to make it 3-0 by half-time.
Erhan Masovic and Moritz Broschinski added two more for Bochum after the break, with Christoph Baumgartner and Munas Dabbur grabbing consolation goals for the visitors.


Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton
Updated 04 February 2023

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton
  • Everton's first win in 11 games lifts the Toffees out of the relegation zone
  • Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table

LIVERPOOL: Arsenal fell to just a second Premier League defeat of the season as James Tarkowski’s header gave Everton the perfect start under new manager Sean Dyche in a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Everton’s first win in 11 games lifts the Toffees out of the relegation zone.
Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, but may rue a huge chance to extend their advantage as they aim for a first league title since 2004.
Everton came into the game on a run of four league defeats at Goodison for the first time since 1958.
That disastrous form cost Frank Lampard his job and Dyche’s appointment got the desired bounce in performance.
Everton’s board again stayed away due to rising tensions between the club’s hierarchy and supporters.
Protests were planned for before and after the game for fans to voice their anger at the running of the club.
The Toffees were the only Premier League club to not make any signings in the January transfer window despite their perilous position in the table.
But the home side showed there is still enough talent available to Dyche to dig themselves out of trouble if they can harness the same level of energy and intensity on a more regular basis.
Two of Dyche’s former Burnley players were included in his first starting line-up and they combined for the only goal of the game on the hour mark as Tarkwoski headed in Dwight McNeil’s corner.
A first victory since October was no more than Everton deserved after they passed up a host of chances to go ahead before the break.
Keeping Dominic Calvert-Lewin fit will be critical to Everton’s survival hopes, but the England international showed his rustiness in front of goal in a second consecutive injury-impacted season.
Amadou Onana’s surging run and ball across the face of goal just needed a finishing touch that Calvert-Lewin could not stretch to make.
Moments later Abdoulaye Doucoure, who had been frozen out by Lampard, headed a glorious chance wide when unmarked inside the box.
It took Arsenal half an hour to even threaten Jordan Pickford’s goal, but they should have led when Eddie Nketiah fired high and wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Conor Coady then had to react quickly to turn Bukayo Saka’s volley off the line as the visitors began to find their rhythm.
But it was Calvert-Lewin who passed up another sight of goal in first half stoppage time when he headed Seamus Coleman’s cross wide.
Arsenal were brighter at the start of the second period and Martin Odegaard will feel he should have hit the target when teed up by Nketiah.
But just as the Gunners were beginning to turn the screw, their luck at the back ran out.
Tarkowski was fundamental to Dyche overachievements in keeping Burnley in the Premier League for six consecutive seasons between 2016 and 2022 and the center-back rose highest to power home McNeil’s corner on the hour mark.
Mikel Arteta’s decision to substitute three of his most consistent performers this season in Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and Odegaard will be questioned as Arsenal lacked the guile to break down the mass ranks of defense from Dyche’s men.
The full-time whistle was met with jubilant celebrations as Everton lifted themselves one point clear of the bottom three.


It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi
Updated 04 February 2023

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi
  • Vinicius was brutally chopped down in Madrid's 2-0 win over Valencia by Gabriel Paulista
  • Xavi told a news conference: "Vinicius creates so much in attack, it's normal that the opposition defence keeps a closer eye on him”

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona coach Xavi believes it is normal that defenders keep close tabs on Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior, amid controversy over rough treatment toward the Brazilian.
Vinicius was brutally chopped down in Madrid’s 2-0 win over Valencia by Gabriel Paulista, who was sent off, and no player in the division has been fouled more this season.
“Players like Ousmane (Dembele), Neymar, when he was here, or Vinicius, these players who can beat a man, opponents are a lot more aggressive to them,” Xavi told a news conference.
“They get past their marker with ease, opponents give them more attention. Vinicius creates so much in attack, it’s normal that the opposition defense keeps a closer eye on him.
“There’s a referee and a refereeing committee, they have to do their job.”
Real Madrid face Real Mallorca on Saturday and the island club’s captain Antonio Raillo said earlier this week he would not use Vinicius as an example for his son to look up to.
Raillo had previously accused Vinicius of provoking and disrespecting opponents.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said the forward did not need any special preparation for the game, despite the bad blood with Raillo.
“Vinicius will prepare for the game as normal and will try to make the difference as he always does,” Ancelotti told a news conference Saturday.
“He is focused on what he has to do, I don’t have to talk about anything with him.”
Ancelotti said his own grandchildren were all fans of Vinicius.
“My grandchildren are all for Vini, youngsters like this type of player, who has so much quality, who is spectacular with the ball,” added the coach.
“They all have Vinicius shirts, that’s the only one they want.”
Barcelona will be without their own flying winger Dembele for the next few weeks after he suffered a thigh injury last weekend against Girona.
Xavi said the team would miss the winger’s ability to take on defenders but other players could help in that regard.
“Maybe we have less dribbling ability, Ousmane is the best at taking players on in the squad,” said Xavi.
“We lose that quality which Ousmane has, which draws two defenders, giving us numerical superiority on the other side.
“But Raphinha can do it too, so can Ansu (Fati), Ferran Torres, even (Alejandro) Balde, Sergi Roberto, (Jules) Kounde.”
Balde missed Barcelona’s training session on Saturday with a fever but Xavi said club doctors told him that the defender would be ready to face Sevilla on Sunday in La Liga.