LONDON: A redecorated sporting bandwagon, complete with a roaring if not yet rampant Ferrari and a movie series on Netflix, embarks next weekend on an extended season of change and challenge when the Australian Grand Prix opens the 70th running of the Formula One world championship.
Two years on from Liberty Media’s takeover, and 25 since the death of Ayrton Senna, defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton goes into F1’s first race in Melbourne expecting to be out-performed by his greatest rival Sebastian Vettel.
It may not be his or the sport’s only concern.
The prospect of a messy ‘no-deal Brexit’ could upset travel logistics for the seven teams based in Britain while new technical regulations and tyres, widespread team changes including a new boss at Ferrari, the arrival of three rookies and a bloated calendar of 21 races will deliver a daunting test of durability and, maybe at times, dignity.
The season will not end until the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 1, the latest planned finish since 1963 when Jim Clark took the title for champions Lotus, winning seven of the 10 races run from Monaco in May to South Africa at Christmas.
In that year, led by John Surtees, Ferrari finished fourth, a placing that would be a huge disappointment to new chief Mattia Binotto and both Vettel and his new tyro team-mate Charles LeClerc.
The German driver’s Italian outfit impressed most in pre-season testing in Barcelona, leaving Hamilton and Mercedes, winners of the last five drivers’ and constructors’ titles, gasping to keep pace, but refusing to feel intimidated.
“We don’t mind the challenge,” said Hamilton who claimed his fourth title in five years and fifth overall last season.
“We will fight. It just mean we have to work harder, but I am really proud of what our team has done already.
“I’m not worried or disappointed. I’m incredibly encouraged and enthused that we are working as hard as we are. We have a hill to climb, but we know how to do it.
Fawad Ch. launches lunar calendar
ISLAMABAD: Fed. Minister for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday has launched moonsighting website (pakmoonsighting.pk,) and a calendar:
According to the lunar calendar, Muslims in Pakistan will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on 5th of June (2019). Talking to NPTV he said that the website would halt the moonsighting controversy that the nation faces every year.
Pakistan among top countries where Facebook restricted most content
KARACHI: Pakistan ranked second in the list of countries where social media giant Facebook restricted maximum content.
The total content curbed in Pakistan by the platform doubled between July and December 2018, according to Facebook’s latest transparency report released on Friday.
4,174 items were restricted in Pakistan during the second half of 2018, as compared to 2,203 pieces from the first half of the year.
According to the breakdown of the content restricted in Pakistan, Facebook suspended 3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album. On Instagram, the platform restricted a total of nine items — seven posts and two accounts.
China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei-government ties
BEIJING: Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading “lies” about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government.
Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world’s two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the “specifics” of Trump’s comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on “mutual respect”.
The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said.
Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.