A quiet weekend for motorsport overall was given a vital injection of excitement for UK motorsport fans, as Kris Meeke became the first Briton to win a WRC stage since the late, great Colin McRae.
For the first time in thirteen years, a British driver has won a stage in the WRC. Kris Meeke took victory in Rally Argentina, beating his Citroen teammate Mads Ostberg to claim victory by 18.1 seconds. An emotional Meeke dedicated his victory to friend and mentor Colin McRae, the last British driver to win a WRC stage back in 2002. Meeke told reporters, “What can I say? It’s been an exceptionally long road. The one guy who did most for my career isn’t here – this one’s for Colin.”
McRae was sadly killed in a helicopter crash in 2007. Meeke first caught McRae’s attention back in 2002, the champion driver taking Meeke under his wing. Meeke soon entered the British Junior Championship and JWRC before making his debut in WRC in 2010. His victory in Argentina was the first for the Citroen DS3 World Rally Team since 2013, also taking place at Rally Argentina.
The company that owns and operates the Williams F1 team have announced a record loss of £34.3 million for 2014. The results come as a blow to the team, especially after their strong start to the season. In a statement, Williams said: ““The loss was driven by lower revenue and higher costs in the Formula 1 operation. More than half the reduction in revenue is due to the recognition of a one-off sponsorship payment for 2014, which had to be recognized in the 2013 financial statements. It was also the result of lower commercial rights and partnership income due to our ninth place finish in the Constructors’ Championship in 2013.”
The team believe that the stronger performance in 2014 will mean that sponsorship revenue will be much higher in 2015, leading to the team not being in any immediate financial danger. Still, with the troubles surrounding Manor, Sauber and Force India, all eyes will be on the famous racing team to see if it is just a momentary blip, or the sign of more trouble to come.
A quiet weekend on the race calendar meant a time to reflect for many. Force India’s Sergio Perez stated his belief that in a competitive car, he could compete for the title.
“It’s a very big frustration as a driver when you know that with the right car you would be winning. I am sure that if I had that (right) car, I would win races and fight for the championship. In my five years in F1 I have never had a winning car or even a car capable of being on the podium, but I made it to the podium four times. Some drivers reach the top quickly, for others it takes longer, but I hope to show my talent – whether in this car or not – and it opens the door for me to reach the top of F1.”
Jenson Button made headlines for other reasons this weekend, competing in the famous London Marathon and achieving a respectable time of 2 hours 52 minutes, breaking the three hour mark. Raising money for cancer research, Button will be hoping to be back on the grid in Spain after missing the race entirely in Bahrain.
And finally, we have a result that will raise eyebrows, as Mick Schumacher won his first Formula 4 race, leading from the front to claim victory. Son of legendary driver Michael Schumacher, Mick had performed strongly in his first two races before claiming victory in Germany this past weekend. All eyes will be on the young driver, to see if his early promise will translate to Formula One – where his father became a legend.