Daren Frankish (Europe) published by the United States Press Agency

    25/06/2017

Valtteri fights back to the podium, Lewis claims P5 in dramatic Azerbaijan Grand Prix

  • Valtteri fought back from P20 on Lap 1 to snatch P2 on the finish line at the Baku City Circuit
  • Lewis came home in P5, after a pit stop for a loose headrest dropped him from the lead
  • Lewis (139 points) trails Sebastian Vettel (153 points) by 14 points in the Drivers' Championship, with Valtteri (111 points) a further 28 points back in P3
  • Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (250 points) leads the Constructors' Championship by 24 points from Ferrari (226 points) in P2
Valtteri Bottas
Today was a crazy race, especially for me. I had a puncture on the first lap after the contact with Kimi on Lap 1. I was a lap down, then had to overtake the field under the Safety Car. The second Safety Car after that really helped me out and, step by step, I moved forward from there. My main goal today was to fight for the win but that went out of the window after the first lap. I was actually last at one point, but I got my head down, gave it absolutely everything and tried to get the absolute maximum out of every single corner. We didn’t quite manage to win but P2 from where we were is a great feeling. Importantly for the team, we scored more points in the fight with Ferrari and I got some good points for myself as well.

Lewis Hamilton
It’s difficult to swallow a result like this after a strong weekend. I drove my heart out today right to the line - I gave it everything. I know the team will be devastated about the issue with the headrest, but what we have to take away from this weekend is the great performance we have shown. We all feel that pain, but it’s on me to gather my thoughts and try and lead the team through this adversity. We’ll pull together and move forwards. I’m proud of my performance and I hope we can take the speed we’ve shown this weekend forward. I definitely didn’t brake-test Sebastian. I controlled the pace under the Safety Car and, just like with the other restarts, I slowed down in the same place on the entry to T15. At that point, it is up to me to control the pace and then I felt a bump from behind. But that wasn’t the issue for me – everybody saw clearly what happened after. All the young kids in other series look up to us, as champions, to set an example and that is not the behaviour you expect to see from a multiple champion. But we know that when times get tough, true colours show, and we have managed to apply some good pressure in the last weeks. Personally, I want to do my talking on the track and win this championship in the right way. More than ever after this weekend, I believe we can.

Toto Wolff

When the winner was at one point in P17, and the guy in second was a lap down and last after lap two, then you know it's been a crazy day! Our big picture from today is that we extended our lead in the constructors' championship by 16 points and confirmed we have a very fast race car. But that isn't what people will remember. For Lewis, it was a really eventful race. With the Vettel incident, I think the FIA has made its decision during the race and we can't rewind the race now. Emotions cook high in the moment but it doesn't change the relationship between our two teams. Then he was leading after the red flag when we had the problem with the headrest and had to change it; that cost him the win but we need to investigate what exactly happened there. It is never about blame; we look at the process to see what we can improve, then go to the next race better and stronger, and this is what we will do again as a team. But we should be encouraged with the pace Lewis had. As for Valtteri, it just goes to show you can never give up. He did a sensational job from a lap down and it was the perfect finale to steal P2 on the line. But nevertheless it could have been P1 and P3 today, so we need to learn our lessons and keep pushing for the next race in Austria.

James Allison, Technical Director

It was a bittersweet race, more sweet than bitter on balance given how much worse it could have been, but it hurts to cost ourselves the win because of a detail like a loose headrest. Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, both cars were fast and had the pace to convert the promise of their qualifying positions - and in the end we still brought home a useful haul of championship points. But we now can't wait to get back out on track in a fortnight's time in order to chase the full reward that the car's pure performance deserved this weekend.

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Lewis storms to Azerbaijan Grand Prix pole, as Valtteri completes a front-row lockout Lewis claimed his 66th career pole position to move into second on the all-time pole list It is Lewis' first pole in Baku, the fifth of the 2017 season, and his seventh in 10

Lewis Hamilton
My pole lap in Montreal was pretty special, but I think this one here tops that. My first run in Q3 was actually really good, but I was a bit greedy into the last corner, locked up and cost myself time. After the red flag, there was a lot of pressure on that final lap. All weekend we’ve struggled to switch the car on over a single lap, but it was an all or nothing moment so I just gave it everything I had. Valtteri was on a great lap as well, so when I came across the line and saw that I had pole, it was such a good feeling. Even if that time had only been enough for P2 it was a lap to be proud of. We were struggling yesterday but we made a lot of changes overnight. A big thank you to the team who stayed late last night to get the car to where it is today – they did a fantastic job.

Valtteri Bottas
It’s disappointing to lose pole as that was the target today. It was looking good before the late red flag, but Lewis produced a great lap and mine just wasn’t good enough. That final run in Q3 was the first time we had tried to do a flying lap on the first lap, because of the temperatures, and I couldn’t get them to work as well as Lewis did - I just couldn’t find that grip out there. But what I’m most proud of today is the huge effort the team put in overnight to switch on the car. We were quite lost on Friday but we made some changes and turned the weekend around. Going into the race we have a fantastic starting position and I’m expecting a good fight with Lewis.

Toto Wolff
This is a fantastic qualifying performance after a tricky start to the weekend yesterday. The team did some great work overnight to put the car right in the sweet spot – and both drivers put in a strong performance. We had planned to do one long run in Q3, because that looked like the best way to get the maximum from the tyres, so the pressure was really on after the red flag with just one timed lap possible. That was the big pressure moment and both guys delivered – Valtteri found a quarter of a second then Lewis produced one of those hammer laps to take pole. Tomorrow, though, is another story again. The race pace is a bit of an unknown after some scrappy sessions yesterday, but we are in the best starting positions. Now we need to make a clean getaway then make the most of our opportunities in the race.

James Allison, Technical Director

A diva our car might be but the engineering team and drivers are gradually learning how to talk to her. This was a pretty impressive performance with both cars, and especially the performance on the last run, when we were able to set a competitive time on the first lap using tyres which have been tricky to warm up sufficiently during the rest of the weekend. This is not an easy track, and it has not been an easy weekend so far, but today’s result is a good indication of the steady progress we have made through each session. We will be aiming to build on that tomorrow.

More work to do in Baku

  • Lewis was fifth fastest in the morning session, with Valtteri in P6
  • Valtteri ended the day with the second fastest time in the afternoon session, with Lewis P10
  • Both drivers ran the Soft, SuperSoft and Medium compound tyres in FP1
  • Both drivers then used the Soft and SuperSoft in FP2

Driver

Chassis No.

FP1

FP2

Valtteri Bottas

F1 W08 EQ Power+/03

19 Laps

1:45.737

P6

32 Laps

1:43.462

P2

Lewis Hamilton

F1 W08 EQ Power+/05

16 Laps

1:45.497

P5

23 Laps

1:44.525

P10


Valtteri Bottas

Practice one was quite tricky: we were struggling with the setup of the car and it wasn’t so well balanced. Today, we needed multiple laps in a row to generate the temperatures we want for a good balance. FP1 wasn’t a happy session, but we made some changes ahead of FP2 and the car definitely felt more comfortable. We are moving in the right direction and hopefully we’ll make another step this evening. We’ll work hard and if we can find those gains we’ll be right up there fighting for pole position.

Lewis Hamilton
It was a difficult day out there. This circuit is a tough one and we had a few challenges that we tried to work through today. We’ve clearly still got lots of work to do ahead of qualifying, but Valtteri’s time in FP2 looked promising, so there is obviously pace in the car, which is encouraging. Now it’s just a case of getting our heads together tonight to work out exactly how to extract that pace across the entire weekend.

James Allison, Technical Director

It was a scrappy day punctuated every few seconds by dozens and dozens of off-track frolics. The associated yellow flags interrupted the rhythm at a circuit where it is quite challenging to get temperature into the tyres, especially the fronts, and that as much as anything dictated your position on the leader board today. However, we have work to do overnight to make the car’s handling sweeter, as both drivers were struggling to get temperature into the front tyres and, as a consequence, suffering with front locking. There is going to be a lot more lap time to come from all of the front runners as the track rubbers in and the drivers gain in confidence. It’s already close at the front, so I expect that those who work well overnight, and keep a cool head tomorrow, will be rewarded in qualifying and the race.

Terror attack Finsbury Park London - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - 19 June 2017 - Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement in Downing Street following the terror attack in Finsbury Park. This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city: the second this month and every bit as sickening as those which have come before.

USPA NEWS - 19 June 2017 - Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement in Downing Street following the terror attack in Finsbury Park. 


This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city: the second this month and every bit as sickening as those which have come before.  It was an attack that once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives – this time British Muslims as they left a mosque having broken their fast and prayed together at this sacred time of year.  Today we come together - as we have done before – to condemn this act and to state once again that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed.  The government’s Emergency Committee, COBRA, has just met and I can set out what we know about what happened, and the steps that we are taking to respond.  Just after twenty-past midnight, the Metropolitan Police received reports that a van had been driven into a crowd of people on Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park. Officers were in the immediate vicinity as the attack unfolded and responded within one minute.  Police declared it a terrorist incident within 8 minutes.  One man was pronounced dead at the scene; 8 injured were taken to 3 separate hospitals; while 2 were treated at the scene for more minor injuries.  The driver of the van - a white man aged 48 - was bravely detained by members of the public at the scene and then arrested by police.  The early assessment by the police is that the attacker acted alone.  Our thoughts and prayers this morning are with the family and friends of the man who died and those who were injured. On behalf of the people of London – and the whole country – I want to thank the police and the emergency services once again for responding as they always do with great professionalism and courage.  Extra police resources have already been deployed to reassure communities, and the police will continue to assess the security needs of Mosques and provide any additional resources needed, especially during this final week before Eid Al-Fitr, a particularly important time for the whole Muslim community.  This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship. And like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal.  It seeks to drive us apart; and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship that we share in this country.  We will not let this happen. When I stood here for the first time as Prime Minister last summer I spoke about our precious belief in the Union – not just the bond between the four nations of the United Kingdom – but the bond between all our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from.  At the heart of that bond is a belief in the fundamental freedoms and liberties that we all cherish; the freedom of speech; the freedom to live how we choose and yes, the freedom to practice religion in peace.  This morning we have seen a sickening attempt to destroy those freedoms; and to break those bonds of citizenship that define our United Kingdom.  It is a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms; and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible. As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia.  That is why this government will act to stamp out extremist and hateful ideology – both across society and on the internet, so it is denied a safe space to grow.  It is why we will be reviewing our Counter-Terrorism strategy and ensuring that police and security services have the powers they need.  And it is why we will establish a new Commission for Countering Extremism as a statutory body to help fight hatred and extremism in the same way as we have fought racism – because this extremism is every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life and we will stop at nothing to defeat it. Today’s attack falls at a difficult time in the life of this city, following on from the attack on London Bridge 2 weeks ago – and of course the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week, on which I will chair another meeting of Ministers and officials later today.  But what we have seen throughout – whether in the heroism of the ordinary citizens who fought off the attackers at London Bridge; the unbreakable resolve of the residents in Kensington; or this morning the spirit of the community that apprehended this attacker – is that this is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people.  It is home to a multitude of communities that together make London one of the greatest cities on earth.  Diverse, welcoming, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate.  These are the values that define this city.  These are the values that define this country.  These are the values that this government will uphold.  These are the values that will prevail.

Lewis leads Valtteri in stunning Silver Arrows 1-2 in Montreal 

 Lewis took his 56th career victory today – his sixth at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, and third of the 2017 season. Lewis scored his fourth career Grand Slam, claiming pole, the victory, fastest lap and leading every lap of the Grand Prix. Valtteri came home in second to secure the Silver Arrows’ first 1-2 of 2017 Lewis (129 points) closes the gap on Sebastian Vettel (141 points) to just 12 points in the Drivers' Championship, with Valtteri (93 points) a further 36 points back in P3.  Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (222 points) lead the Constructors' Championship by eight points from Ferrari (214 points) in P2.

Lewis Hamilton - 

It’s been such an incredible weekend.  I just couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone and I’m so grateful for this result. We came away from Monaco and we were scratching our heads, but we pulled together and look what we achieved. We came here with a much better understanding of the car and we delivered a real blow to the Ferraris. Valtteri did a fantastic job too and this is our first one-two finish together. We’ve scored a big load of solid points and it’s well deserved. It’s crazy to think I had my first pole and win here 10 years ago. The race actually felt very reminiscent of 2007, in terms of how it unfolded. It’s a long race here, especially when you’re out there on your own, but I knew the car would hold together and it did perfectly.  

Valtteri Bottas -

I’m so happy for us as a team to bounce back the way we did this weekend. It’s so impressive to see how the team has reacted in the last two weeks – how it’s worked and improved. I’ve never seen a group of people so determined to win and to get back on top, so to get the one-two finish today, it’s amazing. I tried my best to be aggressive and to get ahead of the Ferraris off the start and it worked, but I had a bit of a lock-up there which compromised my first stint. I lost some time behind the Red Bull and then the Force India after the stop, so we went for the Soft tyre for the second stint, but I didn’t quite have the pace. But I brought the car home for some great points.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -

 That feels absolutely great. We have finally taken a 1-2 finish and done so at a track that we expected would be difficult for us – and which certainly was for us last year. Lewis delivered a stellar performance this weekend: a pole lap that was almost scary when you watch the onboard, then a totally dominant race. Likewise, Valtteri struggled with the car yesterday but he got everything right today to complete a perfect day for our team. Ever since Monaco, the guys and girls in the factory have been flat out. There was no weekend and people working 24/7 to better understand our problems – credit goes to so many people. So to bounce back in this way shows the calibre of the group that we have in the team. But the secret to this weekend was to keep the ball flat, stay calm, analyse our problems and come up with solutions. So this is the time to keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard and take it one race at a time. We saw some encouraging signs today but we need to working in just the same way to translate them into more success in Baku.  

James Allison, Technical Director - 

 Not every Grand Prix win can deliver the same breathless cut and thrust of the race we saw one month ago in Barcelona – but this is nonetheless an extremely satisfying team result after the disappointment of Monaco a fortnight ago. We came racing back on all cylinders here and made important headway in both championships. It’s our first one-two finish of this season and will allow us to approach the next race in Baku with a spring in our step.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Lewis storms to Canadian Grand Prix pole to equal Ayrton Senna's career total. Lewis stormed to his 65th Formula 1 pole position to equal his hero Ayrton Senna's long-standing pole total. It is Lewis' sixth pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and his fourth of the 2017 season.

Lewis Hamilton
Honestly, I’m so happy. Montreal has been very good to me over the years. It was such a close battle with the Ferraris - they have been so quick this weekend. I dug down deep… It was a great lap, a sexy lap! I can't quite believe that it all came together so well. After such a tough time in Monaco, we learned from our mistakes. I owe this one to all the team back at the factories in Brackley and Brixworth. I was just shaking when I was presented with Ayrton’s helmet. For many of you, Ayrton was your favourite driver. He was mine too. To receive this and match his record is a great honour. 

Valtteri Bottas
Firstly, a big congratulations to Lewis for his 65th pole position today. It’s a great achievement to match Senna. I was really trying hard, but it was a tricky day for me. I struggled with the balance of the car and wasn’t really happy in FP3. We made some changes and the car was much better in qualifying, but then in Q3 when it came down to getting those last hundredths and tenths, the car became unstable again. I just couldn’t get that lap together. The long runs seem okay though, so once again, I’m expecting it to be very close in the race with Ferrari. It’s all about tomorrow. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
I’m very pleased indeed with how the team has worked this weekend. We have improved the car from session to session, made good decisions with the set-up and, with a sensational lap from Lewis on top, pole is the reward. We spent the first half of qualifying working out which timed lap was the optimum for tyre performance and, in the end, settled on the first timed lap. It was all on the line for Lewis in that final run, so to find three tenths was very impressive; it takes him to a very significant milestone in his career, level with Ayrton Senna in terms of pole positions, which I know means a lot to him. For Valtteri, third on the grid is a strong starting position but he wasn’t as comfortable with the car today. It was very closely matched with Ferrari and I’m sure we will see more of the same tomorrow. I am always the skeptic when it comes to making predictions – but that’s the mind-set we need to cover all the bases tonight and have a strong race. 

James Allison, Technical Director 
This is another race weekend where we knew that we were right in the fight – but had no idea if we had enough performance to put our car on pole position. What makes it such a sweet feeling is to see two immaculate laps and a really commanding performance from Lewis. Valtteri was unable to improve on his final run, but nevertheless retained a strong P3 which puts us in good stead for the Grand Prix. The feeling of being on pole is absolutely fantastic but, of course, we have it all to do again tomorrow.

UK Prime Minister statement - General election 2017 - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

UK Prime Minister statement - General election 2017 - Daren Frankish - USPA News

USPA NEWS -
The prime minister has promised to "guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days and deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union".

Theresa May's full speech: 
"I have just been to see Her Majesty the Queen, and I will now form a government – a government that can provide certainty and lead Britain forward at this critical time for our country. This government will guide the country through the crucial Brexit talks that begin in just 10 days, and deliver on the will of the British people by taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union. It will work to keep our nation safe and secure by delivering the change that I set out following the appalling attacks in Manchester and London – cracking down on the ideology of Islamist extremism and all those who support it. And giving the police and the authorities the powers they need to keep our country safe. The government I lead will put fairness and opportunity at the heart of everything we do, so that we fulfil the promise of Brexit together and – over the next 5 years – build a country in which no one and no community is left behind.  A country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared right across this United Kingdom.  What the country needs more than ever is certainty, and having secured the largest number of votes and the greatest number of seats in the general election, it is clear that only the Conservative & Unionist Party has the legitimacy and ability to provide that certainty by commanding a majority in the House of Commons. As we do, we will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Democratic Unionist Party in particular. Our 2 parties have enjoyed a strong relationship over many years, and this gives me the confidence to believe that we will be able to work together in the interests of the whole United Kingdom.  This will allow us to come together as a country and channel our energies towards a successful Brexit deal that works for everyone in this country – securing a new partnership with the EU which guarantees our long-term prosperity.  That's what people voted for last June.  That's what we will deliver.  Now let's get to work."

the first of the white elephants - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - On 19 June 1927, Rudolf Caracciola won the inaugural race for sports cars at the Nürburgring in a Mercedes-Benz Model S.This marked the beginning of one of the greatest success stories in motorsport.

2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Preview - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - 2017 Canadian Grand Prix - Preview - Battle continues with Round Seven of the 2017 season from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Toto Talks Canada "Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games, so said Babe Ruth and he was right.

Prime Minister Theresa May statement - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - London terror attack: 4 June 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement in Downing Street following the terrorist attack in London. Last night, our country fell victim to a brutal terrorist attack once again.


Last night, our country fell victim to a brutal terrorist attack once again. As a result I have just chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee and I want to update you with the latest information about the attack.  Shortly before 10:10 yesterday evening, the Metropolitan Police received reports that a white van had struck pedestrians on London Bridge. It continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market, where 3 terrorists left the van and attacked innocent and unarmed civilians with blades and knives. All 3 were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, but the police have established that this clothing was fake and worn only to spread panic and fear.  As so often in such serious situations, the police responded with great courage and great speed. Armed officers from the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police arrived at Borough Market within moments, and shot and killed the 3 suspects. The terrorists were confronted and shot by armed officers within 8 minutes of the police receiving the first emergency call. Seven people have died as a result of the attack, in addition to the 3 suspects shot dead by the police. Forty-eight people are being treated in several hospitals across London. Many have life-threatening conditions.  On behalf of the people of London, and on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank and pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of the police and the emergency services – and the courage of members of the public who defended themselves and others from the attackers. And our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and with their friends, families and loved ones. This is, as we all know, the third terrorist attack Britain has experienced in the last 3 months. In March, a similar attack took place, just around the corner on Westminster Bridge. Two weeks ago, the Manchester Arena was attacked by a suicide bomber. And now London has been struck once more.  And at the same time, the security and intelligence agencies and police have disrupted 5 credible plots since the Westminster attack in March. In terms of their planning and execution, the recent attacks are not connected. But we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism, and perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully-constructed plots after years of planning and training – and not even as lone attackers radicalised online – but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.  We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change, and they need to change in 4 important ways. First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.  Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone. It will not be defeated through the maintenance of a permanent, defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skilful its leaders and practitioners. It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence – and make them understand that our values – pluralistic, British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate. Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet – and the big companies that provide internet-based services – provide. We need to work with allied, democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.  Third, while we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world. Yes, that means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home. While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out – across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult and often embarrassing conversations, but the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism – and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom.  Fourth, we have a robust counter-terrorism strategy that has proved successful over many years. But as the nature of the threat we face becomes more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online, the strategy needs to keep up. So in light of what we are learning about the changing threat, we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need. And if we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences, even apparently less serious offences, that is what we will do.  Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public. But it is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change. As a mark of respect the 2 political parties have suspended our national campaigns for today. But violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process. So those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow. And the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday.  As a country, our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence. We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies. 

2017 Monaco Grand Prix - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Valtteri just falls short of the podium, as Lewis fights back to seventh. Valtteri came home in P4, behind Daniel Ricciardo, but ahead of Max Verstappen, after an intense battle with the Red Bulls in Monte Carlo. Lewis battled from P13 on the grid to claim seventh at the chequered flag.

Valtteri just falls short of the podium, as Lewis fights back to seventh.

 Valtteri came home in P4, behind Daniel Ricciardo, but ahead of Max Verstappen, after an intense battle with the Red Bulls in Monte Carlo Lewis battled from P13 on the grid to claim seventh at the chequered flag. 

Sebastian Vettel (129pt) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 25 points from Lewis (104pt) in P2 Scuderia Ferrari (196pt) lead the Silver Arrows (179pt) by 17 points in the Constructors’ Championship


Valtteri Bottas 

Missing out on a first Monaco podium is painful. It’s been a long week and we’ve worked so hard, so it’s disappointing to miss out. I was stuck in the traffic while Daniel [Ricciardo] was running in free air and ultimately, that cost me a place on the podium. It’s been a really tough weekend for us and we’ve just been missing pace. Ferrari were very strong this weekend and for whatever reason, their car seems easier to operate, so we have work to do. We have to learn from this, but there’s a long year ahead. Hopefully this will be our worst weekend this season. Canada should be a different story. 

Lewis Hamilton 

I’m really, really happy that I was able to fight back to seventh. The strategists said P10 was probably the maximum today, so it feels great to have beaten that target. To score six points, considering where I was on the grid after a disastrous day on Saturday is a good recovery. Today it was impossible to overtake and I tried everything to get past Carlos [Sainz] at the end! I’m just grateful to have ended up in P7. I went on the radio at the end there to make sure the team know that this battle isn’t over. We’ll be sure to push those red cars hard next time out in Canada. We’ve got a real fight on our hands, but there are still 14 races to go.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport  

Ferrari dominated the race today and first of all we must congratulate them for that performance. But our job is to analyse what happened to us this weekend and then to understand it. Today was a day of damage limitation and the drivers did that as well as they possibly could have done. Valtteri drove a controlled and consistent race. He was unfortunate to lose P3 at the pit stops but, with two cars, Red Bull had the chance to pincer him and they made that work. We successfully covered Verstappen but then Ricciardo was able to unleash some lap times that we just couldn't match. As for Lewis, he did a great job to take every opportunity that came his way and climb to P7, which was the maximum of our expectations for him today. There were also glimpses of competitive lap times during the later part of the race on the super soft tyre. But the reality is that we were in and out of the working window of the tyres this weekend and that made our performance too inconsistent overall. We have limited the damage and need to work hard to understand our weakness and come back much stronger in Montreal in two weeks' time.  

James Allison, Technical Director 

 Both drivers did their utmost today to gather as many valuable points as possible for the championship ahead. But it is clear that this weekend we didn't give them the equipment necessary to do better. This has been a tough week for us and we now need to go back to the factory and make sure we do everything in our power to ensure it remains our weakest result of the year - and that we can return to form in Canada.

2017 Monaco Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Valtteri scores P3 in Qualifying, as Lewis misses out on Q3. Valtteri will start tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix from P3, after missing out on pole by 0.045s in a tight-fought Qualifying. Lewis completed a single run in Q1 and two runs in Q2 - like Valtteri, all on the UltraSoft.

Valtteri Bottas 
This weekend has been a bit tricky for us. We started well in FP1 before getting a bit lost with the set-up in FP2. Then it was difficult to get a lap together in Qualifying as well. It takes two to three laps to build the temperature up and find the right balance and feel for the car. It was very close today but Ferrari seems to have the upper hand here – they were very strong this afternoon. Of course it would be nice to start on the front row but anything is possible from P3 on the grid. It’s difficult to overtake here but it’s definitely a race of opportunity. Tomorrow is Monaco, where anything can happen.  

Lewis Hamilton 
 I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me. It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster. I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had. Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow. It’s great that Valtteri extracted a good lap. We just need to identify why I wasn’t able to be up there too. Onwards and upwards.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 
Two very different qualifying results today for Lewis and Valtteri. With Lewis, you could see even from the TV pictures that he was struggling with the car and nearly lost it a couple of times in qualifying. We don’t know at the moment what went wrong: we took a false turn with the set-up on Thursday and, since then, although we tried to retrace our steps, we never got it back on track for him. Of course he was unfortunate with the yellow flag for Vandoorne in Q2, as he was on course to make it through the session, but the car never felt good for him after FP1 and that made it tough to put together the laps. Tomorrow’s race will clearly be a case of damage limitation for him and trying to maximise his points score; but he will fight to the last lap. For Valtteri, it was quite a different outcome. The result he achieved didn’t look possible for much of the session but he really pulled out a fantastic lap on the final run in Q3 – and came just a few thousandths shy of a place on the front row. Ferrari are clearly in the driving seat for tomorrow but we will be in the hunt, too. 

James Allison, Technical Director  
That was an excellent lap from Valtteri who wrung every last drop of performance out of the car this afternoon and gave us a fighting chance in the race with a P3 grid position. Clearly we have a significant job of work on our hands to understand why the car was so difficult to drive for Lewis – and to figure out what we can do with the limited adjustments we can make, and the slightly greater freedom in race strategy, to recover as good a result as possible tomorrow.

2017 Monaco Grand Prix Preview - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Battle continues with Round Six of the 2017 season from the Circuit de Monaco Toto Talks Monaco Featured this Week: Monaco - One of a Kind (Includes Driver Video) Stat Attack: Monaco and Beyond Toto Talks Monaco "It's always good to come away from a race weekend with a points advantage, no matter how small.

USPA NEWS - Battle continues with Round Six of the 2017 season from the Circuit de Monaco  Toto Talks Monaco Featured this Week: Monaco – One of a Kind (Includes Driver Video) Stat Attack: Monaco and Beyond

Toto Talks Monaco 

“It’s always good to come away from a race weekend with a points advantage, no matter how small. But the gap is just that: very small. We are in a massive fight with Ferrari. On one side, this is very exciting and challenging. But on the other side, it is going to stretch us to our limits. You cannot base your current assessment on the balance of power on just Barcelona. “It was painful to lose 15 valuable points with Valtteri retiring from P3. We’ve identified the root cause of the problem, which was the turbo. We haven’t seen that defect before, which shows you that you need to be double diligent. This is a technical sport and if you stretch your limits, you’ll encounter technical problems.  “If you look at the results, both Pascal and Esteban had a really good weekend. Pascal made the one-stop strategy work and could have been P7 – but P8 is still very good for him and very valuable points for Sauber. I’m happy to see how Pascal has fitted into the team. He speaks highly about the team and is on a great learning curve. “As for Esteban, Force India have been very successful in scoring regular points. Esteban is making a good contribution to that. He will really need to stretch himself to beat Checo (Pérez), who is the benchmark for him, but I’m interested to see how that battle develops. They’re pushing each other to new levels and Force India will be the beneficiary. “We expect Monaco to be a completely different ball game to Barcelona. The circumstances, working environment and driving challenges are completely different to anywhere else – and you need to get everything exactly right if you want to perform to your maximum around those streets. Not every factor is under your control, either, so you need to turn fortune in your favour at the right time if you want everything to come together.  “Monaco is also one of our busiest races. We welcome many guests, executives and partners, who all contribute to our success in different ways. It’s extra special to have this group cheering for us, so we look forward to their support at the track. “Every weekend will push us to the limit; this is the new reality of Formula One in 2017. The last three years were extraordinary. But this season I have re-discovered why I love the sport. I love the intense competition. This competition means that you won’t be winning easily – but that you’ll have a fierce fight on your hands. Because of that, the feeling is even greater when you manage to come out on top, as we did in Spain.  “If we get the job done in Monaco, I’m pretty sure we’ll bring down the garage roof. We’re all properly fired up for this fight, so let’s see what we can do…” Featured this Week: Monaco – One of a Kind  Monaco is a race like no other. You don’t need to be an F1 aficionado to know that much. The tight, twisting circuit that threads its way through the famous streets of Monte Carlo is a one-of-a-kind throwback to the eras of Fangio or Caracciola. And even now, decades later, this remains the crown jewel of the Formula One calendar.  It’s the race every single driver on the grid wants to win – or win again, in Lewis Hamilton’s case. But victory in the Principality isn’t quite like winning anywhere else. The greatest Grand Prix of them all offers a unique challenge not only to the drivers but the teams as well. Monaco is the ultimate drivers’ circuit – a track all about precision. Drivers spend hours at the factory ahead of the race studying and preparing for this one race. Some go even further…  “I’ve been doing this for a long time now,” says Lewis. “I spend a lot of time at the factory with the engineers to understand past races. Just the other night, I was driving around the track in my Smart car, visualising the circuit. It’s not so easy, though, when there are lots of cars around!” As Lewis explains, racing at Monaco is all about peaking at exactly the right moment. A driver must feel his way into the weekend, building up confidence and momentum as the track develops. From the moment they turn left out of the garage on Thursday morning in FP1, this process begins. They’ll push that bit harder, flirt that fraction closer with the barriers and brake a touch later, as they find more time from within themselves.  “The most important thing is that you have to learn to walk before you run,” says Lewis. “You have to build up to the pace so that, by the time you work up to that second run in Q3, you’re at 100%.” You’ll often see drivers who are quick in the earlier sessions crash out on Saturday morning in FP3 where they’ve pushed just that bit too much, too early. Monaco is not a circuit that forgives. If you misjudge your braking or your turn-in point even by a matter of millimetres, you’ll end up in the barriers. And if you lose a session in Monaco, you’ll struggle to recover from it.  “It’s one of those weekends when you really need to be on the top of your game,” explains Valtteri. “You need to be so focused on what is a mentally exhausting weekend. You need to be focused on every single car of every single lap, because one mistake will cost you.” Then there’s the added challenge of 2017’s wider, heavier, faster cars. “We have new cars this weekend which are wider and faster, so that’s going to be a massive challenge,” says Lewis. “In trying to push the car as close as you can to the limit, it’ll be a real test of your awareness of where the car is. I’m sure there will be some brushing of the barriers…”  Monaco is the one race of the year when the Grand Prix can almost feel like a side show to the main event. Amongst the boat parties and the superstar celebs, having a distraction-free weekend is a huge part of the challenge for the drivers. To combat this fatigue, the engineers spend a lot of time ensuring that their drivers are able to break up their time and switch off. It’s tough, with Monaco a busy weekend from a media and marketing perspective. But this is crucial in allowing the drivers to relax and get away from what is a very intense weekend, with immense pressure.  “It’s a circuit which is all about mental strength,” says Lewis. “You need to be sharp and clear. Experience counts here too – that helps massively in setting the car up.” Ultimately, Monaco is a weekend all about compromise, from the engineering setup to the cars themselves. The pit wall, for example, sits one story above the compact garages rather than overlooking the start finish-line as it does at every other circuit.  While engineers don’t necessarily need to see the cars to engineer them these days, instead relying on bespoke software for strategy and live feeds for visual aids, they do like to be able to see the garage. In Monaco, the occupants of the pit wall have to rely on cameras to show them what is going on. It may seem simple – but good communication becomes even more important in that environment. Logistically, too, Monaco is tricky to say the least. A distinct lack of garage space means the engineers share their office with front wings, floors and hydraulic systems. The frequent support races during the weekend mean they also have to deal with a near constant level of noise, as cars fly past while important debriefs are underway.  There’s not much space downstairs either. The tyre technicians, for example, have to work down in the harbour – carrying all of the tyre sets up to the pit lane as and when they’re needed because there is simply not enough space in the garage. These factors heap extra pressure on what is already a tough weekend for the team. Track position takes on an even greater level of importance and must be considered in any strategy move here. When you’re in the lead of the Monaco Grand Prix, it’s all about protecting that position and managing the advantage. The last thing you want to do is offer the trailing car clean air and an opportunity to pass through strategy. .  In fact, you’ll often see the leader driving within their means through fear of storming into a lead, only to see their advantage wiped out when they’re left on worn tyres later in the stint. This year’s tyres offer a new challenge, as teams expect to be able to complete the entire race distance on either the UltraSoft or SuperSoft. That low degradation rate means a smaller delta between the tyres, which will only make it trickier to pass.  All these factors converge to make Monaco the stiffest test a driver can face in F1. Amid the yachts, glamorous guests and VIP events, it all comes down to mastering those 3.337 km of undulating tarmac. “Monaco is always a great challenge,” smiles Valtteri. “We live for these kinds of challenges.”

UK Prime Minister statement - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - United Kingdom Prime Minister statement following terrorist attack in Manchester: 23 May 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement today from Downing Street following the terrorist attack in Manchester. I have just chaired a meeting of the government's emergency committee COBR, where we discussed the details of - and the response to - the appalling events in Manchester last night.

USPA NEWS - United Kingdom Prime Minister statement following terrorist attack in Manchester: 23 May 2017. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement today from Downing Street following the terrorist attack in Manchester.

I have just chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee COBR, where we discussed the details of – and the response to – the appalling events in Manchester last night.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families and friends of all those affected.  It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack – an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation. This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom. And although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.  The police and security services are working at speed to establish the complete picture, but I want to tell you what I can at this stage. At 10:33pm last night, the police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena, in Manchester city centre, near Victoria train station.  We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvised explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately. The explosion coincided with the conclusion of a pop concert, which was attended by many young families and groups of children. All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people, but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice – deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.As things stand, I can tell you that in addition to the attacker, 22 people have died and 59 people have been injured. Those who were injured are being treated in 8 different hospitals across Greater Manchester. Many are being treated for life-threatening conditions. And we know that among those killed and injured were many children and young people.  We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish, but as an opportunity for carnage. But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future, to take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence, and if there turn out to be others responsible for this attack, to seek them out and bring them to justice.  The police and security services believe that the attack was carried out by one man, but they now need to know whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider group. It will take some time to establish these facts, and the investigation will continue. The police and security services will be given all the resources they need to complete that task.  The police and security services believe they know the identity of the perpetrator, but at this stage of their investigations we cannot confirm his name. The police and emergency services have - as always - acted with great courage and on behalf of the country I want to express our gratitude to them. They acted in accordance with the plans they have in place and the exercises they conduct to test those plans, and they performed with the utmost professionalism.  Four hundred police officers were involved in the operation through the night, and many paramedics, doctors and nurses have worked valiantly – amid traumatic and terrible scenes – to save lives and care for the wounded. Significant resources have been deployed to the police investigation and there continue to be visible patrols around Manchester, which include the deployment of armed officers.  For people who live and work in Manchester, there remains a large cordon in place around Manchester Arena and Victoria Station, which will be in place for some time. The station is closed and will remain closed while a detailed forensic search is underway. We know that many friends and relatives of people caught up in the attack are still trying to find out what has happened to their children, brothers and sisters, parents, and loved ones.  So please think of those people who are experiencing unimaginable worry, and if you have any information at all relating to the attack, please contact Greater Manchester Police. The threat level remains at severe. That means that a terrorist attack remains highly likely. But the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, which sets the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available to them, will continue to assess this throughout today and in the days ahead. Later today, I will travel to Manchester to meet the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and members of the emergency services who have come to Manchester’s aid in its moment of need. And – as I announced last night – the general election campaign has been suspended. I will chair another meeting of COBR later today.  At terrible moments like these it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For as so often, while we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best.  The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together.  And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help.  Of the men and women of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives. Of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims. For they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain – a spirit that, through years of conflict and terrorism, has never been broken. And will never be broken.  There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work.  And we all – every single one of us – stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time.  And today, let us remember those who died and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win – and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.
Mixed emotions after tense Barcelona battle, as Lewis claims victory but Valtteri retires. 

Lewis took his 55th career victory today – his second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and second of the 2017 season. 

Valtteri experienced his first retirement as a Silver Arrows driver with a mechanical failure on lap 39 Lewis set the fastest lap of the race for the third time this season – the 50th Formula One fastest lap for the three pointed star. 

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (161 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by eight points from Ferrari (153 points) in P2 Lewis (98 points) closes the gap on Sebastian Vettel (104 points) to just six points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Valtteri (63 points) a further 35 points back in P3


Lewis Hamilton 

It’s been a really good weekend and a great way to bounce back from Russia. It was the rawest fight that I can remember having in a long-time. I loved it, this is why I race. This is what made me get into racing in the first place. This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend. To have a close battle like that with a four-time champion is awesome. I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by. He was so fast out in front and it was such a push to keep in touch with him and not let him pull away. I was able to manage my tyres in the first stint and keep relatively close, then it was tricky to keep up on the Medium tyre and then after the second stop. We came out so close together which was super tight into Turn 1. He didn’t give me much space, it was close! I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it. I have to congratulate my team today, with the strategy and the pit stops, as well as everyone back at the factory that has worked so hard to deliver these upgrades, enabling us to be so close in this fight with Ferrari.  


Valtteri Bottas 

It’s been a tough weekend. We had problems straight from practice, when we had to swap to the old engine on Saturday morning. Then today we had an engine failure in the race. We don’t know any more than that at this stage. We knew it was a risk switching back to the old Power Unit in terms of the mileage but we didn't if we wanted to qualify yesterday. At least we got more points than Ferrari today in spite of the retirement. The first corner was very tight. I had a good start but there was no were to go. I tried to avoid the collision but I touched Kimi. Lewis was on a different strategy while I was running long. We tried to execute a one-stop which is why I was lapping slower at that point. It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop. We should have both been on the podium today. It’s always disappointing when you don’t finish but we’ll pick ourselves up and move on.  


Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport  

That was an epic Grand Prix. Racing simply doesn’t go more wheel to wheel – and we were treated to some fantastic racing for the win. Today’s win was one for the whole team: an amazing drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri, the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded car. Everything clicked and came together for us. It wasn’t an easy race after we lost position at the start: we were on the back foot, so when Vettel covered the early undercut, we sent Lewis long and took the medium tyre – to give us options at the end with another set of softs. Then we made perfect use of the VSC and took a risk to run nearly half the race on a set of softs: we thought it would work out but it was always going to be tight. After that, it came down to some brilliant driving and then managing the tyres and engine just right to the final lap. But it was not a perfect day: we lost one car with a technical failure and Valtteri struggled with a damaged car after the contact at Turn One. In spite of that, he drove well and the one-stop approach could have worked out for him until the VSC happened. But it was a day when only one Ferrari finished, so in spite of the retirement, we built up our championship lead. But this was Lewis’ day with a supreme drive. People have been asking me if Lewis is now back. The truth is he has never been away – and today’s showed it.  


James Allison, Technical Director  Grands Prix

 like that are why we go motor racing. Winning is always lovely. But when you win a proper 12 round heavyweight fight in this kind of style, and along the way answer all sorts of questions about tyre degradation, following other teams and the car’ s handling – and then see a driver at the peak of his craft like Lewis was today – there’s nothing better than that. It was a body blow not to get our second car home and we will be looking carefully at what happened to Valtteri. But the sweetness of winning is some compensation for the bitterness of that retirement.

Silver Arrows fastest out of the blocks in Barcelona. 

Lewis topped the morning session with Valtteri just 0.029s shy in P2.

 Lewis was fastest again in the afternoon session, ending Friday quickest of all, with Valtteri second – the pair split by 0.090s on the timesheets.

 Both drivers ran the Medium and the Hard compound tyre in FP1 and then the Soft and Medium Pirelli rubber in FP2.

 Driver Chassis No. FP1 FP2 Lewis Hamilton F1 W08 EQ Power+/05 28 Laps 1:21.521 P01 39 Laps 1:20.802 P01 Valtteri Bottas F1 W08 EQ Power+/04 30 Laps 1:21.550 P02 38 Laps 1:20.892 P02    Weather Dry, Warm, Clear Temperatures Air: 18.1 - 26.2 °C Track: 23.0 - 44.8 °C

Lewis Hamilton  -
First practice was very, very good but in second practice the track changed and shifted quite a lot, so it was slippery and quite a lot slower for everyone - especially with the gusts of wind. It was massively challenging but still fun nonetheless. The team has done an amazing job with the upgrades and the car is working just as we expected. It’s been a much better start to the weekend for me than in Sochi, so I’m very happy. We’ve just got to keep our heads down and keep working, we want to be number one. 

Valtteri Bottas -
Today was an important one for us with the new upgrade package on the car. Our target was to evaluate if the new upgrades are working well and it seems like they are. At this time it’s way to early to tell exactly where we are, but everything seems to be working well so far. It’s always nice to start the weekend  in a positive way, but the main days are Saturday and Sunday. As always we will work hard to find any performance. I really enjoyed it out there today so I hope we can squeeze some more performance out of the package. 

James Allison, Technical Director =
 It was a pretty good day for the team. We have some new bits on the car for this weekend that we wanted to try out and ensure everything was working well with those and it seems like it is. At a track that can suffer from high tyre degradation we’re keen to ensure that our car is good on both the long-runs and the short-runs. We feel like we’re in better shape in that compared to winter testing. We’ve definitely made some progress and we’ll be in with a shout if we keep up the good work this weekend.
Valtteri claims his first Formula 1 victory with Lewis fourth in tense Russian Grand Prix.

 Valtteri took his maiden Formula One victory today after jumping the two Ferraris off the start, then edging out Sebastian Vettel in a nailbitting, race-long battle.

Lewis produced a battling drive to finish P4 after struggling with overheating throughout the race.

 Today’s result marks the 400th podium finish for Mercedes-Benz Power in Formula One.

 Lewis (73pt) is P2 in the Drivers' Championship, 13 points behind Vettel (86pt) in P1 Valtteri is in P3 (63pt), with Kimi Raikkonen fourth (49pt) Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (136pt) lead the Constructors’ Championship by a single point from Scuderia Ferrari (135pt).

Valtteri Bottas -

It’s going to take a while to sink in. Normally I’m not that emotional but hearing the Finnish national anthem was very special for me. It’s all a bit surreal, the first win and hopefully the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races ever. The pressure from Sebastian wasn’t too bad; the main issue was with the lapped cars, trying to get past those. It was tricky to pass them without losing time. I also had a lockup with about 15 laps to go that hurt the pace, but it was manageable. I asked for a bit of radio silence just to get on it and focus. I’m sure this victory will give me lots of confidence going forward. I knew I could do these results, I always trusted my ability, but this result confirms it.  


Lewis Hamilton - 

A big congratulations to Valtteri. He did an exceptional job today and he really deserves it. He’s been fast all weekend and he’s done such a good job for the team. He’s a fantastic teammate to work with and it’s such an amazing feeling winning your first Grand Prix. For me it was a very tough weekend. I just wasn’t quick enough. I’ve never had cooling issues like that before but it meant I was out of the race from the get-go. I think I had the pace to fight with Kimi, but the car just kept overheating. Ultimately, if I had better pace then I would have been further up. At least I got some good points for the team. I’m just hopeful that I can pick up the pace at the next race.  


Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport - 

A fantastic first win for Valtteri this afternoon and an amazing day for him. He controlled the race perfectly: a great start, then a perfect restart after the Safety Car and a fantastic first stint where he built the gap on the UltraSoft. But then it got tense: we stopped, didn't quite have the pace on the SuperSoft, hit traffic and it needed nerves of steel to handle the pressure in those final laps with a four-time champion closing in. But in the joy of Valtteri's first win, the result was also a reminder that we still have work to do. Lewis had to manage temperatures from very early on, which meant he couldn't unlock the potential of the undercut around the stops. After that, it was a question of managing the race and collecting the points. But it's clear we didn't give him the car to do the job this weekend and it is a priority for us to sort this out before Barcelona.  


James Allison, Technical Director - 

 We’re all so pleased to see Valtteri on the top step of the podium. A driver’s first win is always very special but especially when it comes like it did this weekend, off the back off some difficult sessions. That makes victory all the sweeter. Our happiness is tempered though by the fact that we couldn’t get Lewis into a position where he could be properly competitive. It’s a reminder to us that we have more work to do before we can put a car on the track for both Saturday and Sunday that we know is going to absolutely top rank competitive, which is what we’ll need to do in this, such a hard-fought and competitive season.

2017 Russian Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Scuderia Ferrari edge the Silver Arrows in tense Sochi Qualifying shootout. Valtteri Bottas claimed P3 on the grid, with the top three cars covered by just 0.095s. Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's Russian Grand Prix from P4. Valtteri Bottas - I think we can see Ferrari were quicker today.

Scuderia Ferrari edge the Silver Arrows in tense Sochi Qualifying shootout.
Valtteri Bottas claimed P3 on the grid, with the top three cars covered by just 0.095s .
Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's Russian Grand Prix from P4.
Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 on UltraSoft tyres, a single run on the UltraSoft in Q2, then two runs on the UltraSoft in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas -
I think we can see Ferrari were quicker today. We were close in the end, but not close enough. All weekend they've had the upper hand and they've managed to extract more out of the tyres. They are looking very strong here and, as we’ve seen so far this year, Ferrari have a good race pace and we expect it to be the same tomorrow. We made an improvement from yesterday: it wasn’t quite enough but I think the changes we made overnight should help us in the race. Tomorrow is where it counts and starting on the second row is still not a bad place to begin the race. There’s a very long run down into Turn 2 and a lot of slipstreaming. Ferrari is ahead today, but hopefully not tomorrow. 

Lewis Hamilton -
I just wasn’t quick enough today. It was all in the last sector, I was losing half a second there. I’ve been struggling there all weekend with the balance and it’s been tough to utilise the tyres. We’ll go back to the drawing board tonight and try and improve. Ferrari did a great job. They look quick on race pace and my race runs weren’t great yesterday, so it’s going to be tough. But we’ll give everything we’ve got. Sochi isn’t the easiest track to follow on, but there are long straights which should offer the opportunity to move forward. That’s our goal. I’m on the dirty side of the grid so I haven’t done myself any favours off the start. But that was the best job I could do today. We’ve got a real race to look forward to. There’s no point being upset; we’ll channel our positive energy and hopefully Sunday will be better. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
Today’s result showed that, while Ferrari and ourselves are a long way ahead of the other teams, it’s still a work in progress for us to get the car into the right window and performing consistently. We made a good step compared to yesterday but this afternoon, the top three were covered by less than a tenth of a second and Valtteri could even have been on pole with his final lap until a small mistake in the last sector. As for Lewis, he hasn’t been happy with the car, finding it tricky to drive, and this is a place where you need to feel good with the car to hook it all up. So we start from the second row tomorrow and now it’s our job to look forward and see what the race can bring. As the hunters and not the hunted, maybe we have some different cards we can play to chase the race victory. 

James Allison, Technical Director -
It always hurts when you’re not at the front and even more so when the gaps are so small. After struggling yesterday in practice, we did a good job to unlock the performance of the car overnight and made a good step forward relative to our competitors and Ferrari in particular. However, it wasn’t quite enough to get either car on the front row. We will knuckle down this evening, prepare thoroughly and look forward to a strong race tomorrow in what are expected to be broadly similar conditions.

Valtteri Bottas
It’s been an interesting day. It’s a very different situation here with the asphalt and the temperatures compared to what we experienced in Bahrain. We were learning about the tyres on long runs and short runs and it seems like over one lap we still have work to do to get the maximum out of the UltraSoft tyre - that’s our focus tonight. But we can’t forget how important the race is.  We have started the weekend in the right way. The car feels good and the balance is there. A good start but we definitely need to work hard to find some lap time for qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton
Bit of a difficult day for us. We managed to complete everything that we needed to do on our runs, but in terms of the balance of the car, the Ferrari seemed very, very fast on the long runs, so we need to work out how we can improve our pace. But there’s still everything to play for. The tyres feel very peaky, so it’s easy to drop out of the window of performance. But when they’re working they seem to be good.

James Allison, Technical Director

We enjoyed plenty of useful running with both drivers having untroubled sessions – completing our planned programme. But it’s pretty clear from both the long run pace and the set-up runs that we have got a bit of work to do to be on equal terms with Ferrari. As normal we will set about cutting that gap overnight and hopefully we will have a car that is able to get the job done on Saturday and Sunday. There are clear avenues that we need to work on to make sure we are properly competitive tomorrow. If we get that right it’ll be close just as it has been all year.

2017 Russian Grand Prix - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - 2017 Russian Grand Prix Preview - Battle royal continues with Round Four of the 2017 season from the Sochi Autodrom. The 5.848-kilometre (3.634 mi) circuit is the third-longest circuit on the Formula One calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone in the UK.

USPA NEWS
2017 Russian Grand Prix Preview 
Battle royal continues with Round Four of the 2017 season from the Sochi Autodrom. The 5.848-kilometre (3.634 mi) circuit is the third-longest circuit on the Formula One calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Silverstone in the UK.

Toto Talks Russia 
"You need to be able to draw a line under a tough weekend. It’s very painful to lose a race like that. There were too many marginal losses that we encountered and these cost us the victory. But they are down to us to fix. You need to be careful not to spend too much time thinking about these setbacks, but rather work on solutions for the future. That’s important.  "Of course, you need to keep both feet on the ground. Second and third place is definitely not a disaster. But if you have a car and two drivers capable of winning races and it hasn’t materialised, then it feels painful – and this is how it should feel. "We know what weaknesses we need to tackle and where we need to be even more diligent for the coming races in order to win. You have to confront each issue, analyse it properly and come up with a plan for how to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. This is an exercise which we have done a number of times over the last few years.  "I’m delighted for Pascal and for how he bounced back in Bahrain. He’s still not completely pain free but, considering that fact, he had a brilliant weekend. He had a great qualifying and a really solid race. It’s just a matter of time until he scores his first points for Sauber. I’m very happy about that. He’s proven all of the critics wrong. As for Esteban, he has a very strong teammate in Checo Perez to benchmark himself against and that is exactly what he’s doing at the moment. He’s on the right trajectory.  "It’s very good to see people talking positively about Formula One. Clearly, the close fight between Ferrari and Mercedes is something that is interesting for the fans. It’s interesting for us too. This is why we go racing – because we’re racers and we thrive on the competition and the battle.
"It’s a totally different kind of track this weekend in Sochi and, in this season with these new regulations, you can’t take anything for granted. The trophies of previous years don’t guarantee that we’ll be winning in Russia when you have a very fierce competitor like we do in Ferrari. We’ll take it one step at a time, start the weekend well and hopefully have a good result on Sunday." Featured this Week: 2017 Race Starts  It’s no secret that the new era of cars introduced for the 2017 Formula One season are tougher to handle out on track. But a lesser-known, if equally significant challenge is getting these mighty beasts off the line.  New restrictions governing the influence of engineers over race starts is the latest move to reduce so-called ‘driver aids’. For 2017, there are new limits on clutch control, as well as the movement and location of the steering wheel paddles. The target? To make the relationship between what the driver does with the clutch and the amount of torque that gets transferred through to the racetrack much more direct. Drivers still use a single clutch paddle. But, unlike previous years, clutch control is now a linear relationship. Gone are the clever engineering maps to help find a clutch position – that special sweet spot for the perfect getaway. Previously, a driver only needed to drop the clutch in the wide zone – a launch map setting predetermined by an engineer – for a clean start. Now, they have to control the torque themselves with the steering wheel paddle, making it a very direct relationship between what the driver wants and what he gets.  To that effect, the rules have been tightened on teams using any kind of steering wheel reference to assist drivers with race starts. The movement of the clutch paddle is limited to 80mm and it is forbidden to set a position in the motion of the clutch paddle that feels different, or where the driver can hold it in a particular position to get a specific torque. This has been achieved through the introduction of a significant exclusion zone around the paddle, meaning the driver can’t access anything else whilst using the clutch. Fundamentally, the driver operates the paddle by himself without any external reference.  It’s now completely up to the driver to position his hand and feel the torque of the car as it accelerates. Those drivers who have a feel for modulating the torque to the rear wheels, keeping the wheel spin under control and accelerating smoothly will get better starts. Those who are a bit too aggressive will get wheel spin. It’s all down to the men at the wheel. Given the extent of the challenge, it may therefore come as something of a surprise to see how little variability there has been between drivers and teams over the first three races of 2017. The biggest single loss off the grid so far this year has been by Sergio Pérez, who dropped three positions in the wet start in China – the weather adding another variable. In contrast, the two McLarens were quick off the line in Shanghai, both gaining three spots each. The Silver Arrows have lost just one position in three races thus far – Lewis dropping behind Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in Bahrain under braking into Turn 1. In the same race, Pascal Wehrlein was shuffled down the pack on his first full race start of 2017, before battling his way back through the field to P11 by the flag. So how has this been achieved? Simply put, a major contributor is that drivers are doing more practice than ever before. It’s the typical Formula One case study – present a set of world class athletes and the world’s very best engineers with a challenge and they’ll rise to it.  Being the world’s quickest racing driver does not automatically equate to being able to pinpoint release a paddle to nail that perfect start. Practice makes perfect.  More so than ever in 2017, a driver’s start is a result of hard work over pure luck. Teams have reimagined starts into a science through systems, technology and practice. And the perfect start is a result of hard work and dedication from the drivers, continuously working with their engineers to perfect this procedure. The outcome of a driver’s race can be determined by what they do in those first three seconds. They now have more control over this aspect of racing, so they’ve taken on more responsibility. And as the early data shows, they’re stepping up to the challenge – just as one would expect the world’s best to. However, looking ahead to Sochi this weekend, the long run down into the braking zone at Turn 2 – the scene of last year’s opening lap accident – provides another new challenge. 501m covers the sprint from pole to Turn 1 in Bahrain; 458m in Shanghai and, for Melbourne, a relatively short 383m dash before sweeping into the first corner. Sochi on the other hand is a 1,029m stretch from pole to the Turn 2 apex. This brings with it some entirely different challenges. Factor in the increased drag of the 2017 cars, for example, which will affect each car on the long run into the first braking zone. The man on pole will take a big hit to those following from the second row and further back, who can make use of the tow to take advantage of, or even negate the effect of, a poor start. With a run down into Turn 2 at twice the distance of Bahrain, the opening seconds of the Grand Prix may prove the most exciting and variable we have seen so far in 2017...

The Key to the Cold War - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - The Key to the Cold War. At the end of World War II, the main Allied powers-the United States, France, United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R ( Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) -divided Germany into two zones.

USPA NEWS - The Key to the Cold War.

At the end of World War II, the main Allied powers—the United States, France, United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R
( Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) —divided Germany into two zones. The Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but a common timeframe is the period (the second half of the 20th century) between 1947, the year the Truman Doctrine (a U.S. foreign policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansionism) was announced, and 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed. 

The Soviet Union occupied East Germany and installed a rigidly controlled communist state. The other three Allies shared the occupation of West Germany and helped rebuild the country as a capitalist democracy. The City of Berlin, located 200 miles inside East Germany, was also divided. Half of the city—West Berlin—was actually part of West Germany. Many East Germans did not want to live in a communist country and crossed into West Berlin, where they could either settle or find transportation to West Germany and beyond. By 1961, four million East Germans had moved west. This exodus illustrated East Germans' dissatisfaction with their way of life, and posed an economic threat as well, since East Germany was losing its workers. 

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. There were nine border crossings between East and West Berlin. These allowed visits by West Berliners, other West Germans, Western foreigners and Allied personnel into East Berlin, as well as visits by GDR citizens and citizens of other socialist countries into West Berlin, provided that they held the necessary permits. These crossings were restricted according to which nationality was allowed to use it (East Germans, West Germans, West Berliners, other countries). The most famous was the vehicle and pedestrian checkpoint at the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, also known as Checkpoint Charlie, which was restricted to Allied personnel and foreigners.

Two years after the construction of the Berlin Wall, President Kennedy paid a historic visit to Berlin to challenge Soviet oppression and offer hope to the people of the divided city. "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner") is a quotation from a June 26, 1963, speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. Kennedy aimed to underline the support of the United States for West Germany. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the Wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that had marked East Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period. 

By the 1970s, both sides had become interested in making accommodations in order to create a more stable and predictable international system, inaugurating a period of détente that saw Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the Soviet Union. Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s were another period of elevated tension, with the Soviet downing of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983), and the "Able Archer" NATO military exercises (1983). 

The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when the communist state was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of perestroika ("reorganization", 1987) and glasnost ("openness", c. 1985) and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national independence grew stronger in Eastern Europe, especially Poland. Gorbachev meanwhile refused to use Soviet troops to bolster the faltering Warsaw Pact regimes as had occurred in the past. The result in 1989 was a wave of revolutions that peacefully (with the exception of the Romanian Revolution) overthrew all of the communist regimes of Central and Eastern Europe. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse of communist regimes in other countries such as Mongolia, Cambodia and South Yemen. The United States remained as the world's only superpower. 

 Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of a unified Germany. Berlin today is a world city of culture, politics, media and science. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics.

Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras, museums, entertainment venues and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Since 2000 Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene. 

Special thank you to Steffen Leide (Stasi HQ) & Alexandra Hildebrandt (Checkpoint Charlie Museum)
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton -
It’s been a challenging weekend. The start of the race was OK but Sebastian was in my blind spot so I didn’t know where he was and I lost a position there. It was really hard to follow but we generally had similar pace. Under the Safety Car, I just misjudged it myself the situation; that was my fault, so my apologies to the team. I had good pace in the second and final stints and we honestly thought we could catch Sebastian. But the five second penalty made that twice as hard. I believe it was the right choice to go with the Soft in the final stint. I think that was the best call as I still had a long way to go. Our guys have been making good calls all year so far. I tried my best to recover from the mistake but it wasn’t quite enough. We still come away with good points.
Valtteri Bottas -
Not a good day. We had an issue with the tyre pressures at the start. I don’t know what it was but I could really feel it in the first stint and was sliding around as early as Lap 2. The pace wasn’ t good and Sebastian put us under real pressure. I tried to extend the first stint but I couldn’t keep up with the pace. The second stint was better but I was still struggling with oversteer and then I couldn’t get the rear-end to work in the last stint. Under the Safety Car at the first stop there was a problem and we lost some time in the stop; maybe otherwise I would have just been in front but I know that the team will investigate the issue. I had some good racing with Sebastian after the restart but unfortunately it was just for a short moment. I’ve not had the race results that I’d been hoping for so far, but will be targeting a strong weekend in Sochi. 

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
Today’s race reminded us once again that we are in a very different competitive situation this year, racing against Ferrari – and I am confident that this is a challenge we will rise to as one team. After a winter of massive regulation change, we have been in the hunt for race wins at every weekend and that is the big positive for us. But today was another reminder that we need to get everything right in order to deliver. That’s a challenge we relish as sportsmen and women. Ultimately, this was a day of marginal losses which cost us the win – however, as we saw particularly with Lewis, the pace was there in the car at the times when we were able to extract it. Our first loss came on the grid when a generator failure left Valtteri with too high starting pressures; that limited his pace in the opening stint, meaning we could not open a gap to the field and, with Lewis running behind Vettel, our strategic choices were pretty limited. We were on the back foot and then Ferrari played the undercut perfectly to come out ahead. We got lucky with the Safety Car which gave us an opportunity to recover but a problem with the wheel guns meant we lost time and positions with both cars. With the cars running different tyre compounds, we had to make the tough unpopular call for Valtteri to let Lewis pass; it’s not something we like to do but, when the moment comes that the race win is in danger, we will always do what we need to in order to get it. After that, we offset Lewis’ strategy as much as possible to give him the chance of closing down Sebastian in the final laps, but after he had served the five-second penalty, it left him with too much to do. We leave Bahrain with a lot more learning and still more work to do, in order to perform at our best and convert the car’s speed into race wins. 

James Allison, Technical Director -
It’s always disappointing when you don’t convert your grid positions into a result. We had a handful of small setbacks which collectively cost us. In a season where the battle is very close on race day, these errors meant that we didn’t manage to convert our opportunities into the victory that we’d hoped for. But the important thing is that the pace is there in the car and now we’re just looking forward to getting to the next race in Russia and the opportunity to make good on what we didn’t manage to achieve tonight.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix - Saturday
Valtteri Bottas I’m really happy with my first Formula One pole. It’s my fifth season in the sport now, so it took a few races. But we got it and hopefully it is the first of many. It feels good. I didn’t realise it’d been nearly 10 years since a Finn was last on pole. I’m very proud as always to drive for Finland and represent my country. It’s not an easy track to get everything right. It’s quite a technical and there are a few tricky corners. But I I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with the car and managed to get the lap together. Thankfully it was good enough for pole. I just want to say a big thanks to the team for giving me this car. It’s great that we’re both starting from the front row.  We’ve done a really good job this weekend to focus on the evening conditions and really maximise the lap time in the car.  We’ll enjoy this for a short period of time – but the main focus is the race tomorrow. There is no point to start dreaming just yet. It’s all about getting the maximum out of the race. As a team we can be really strong tomorrow.
Lewis Hamilton

A big congratulations to Valtteri. He’s been working so hard and he’s gelled so well with the team. Today he was just quicker than me and did the better job, so hats off to him on his first pole. My lap felt great but it was so close out there. I was losing quite a bit of time through the first sector, which is unusual as it’s usually a very strong sector for me. Overall it was a great battle and that’s exactly how close qualifying should always be. It forces us to be on the absolute limit. I’m happy with the job I did and it’ s great for the team to lockout our first front row. Today we had a bit of a margin over the Ferraris but generally in race trim they seem to be a bit quicker, so we expect them to be closer tomorrow. It’s definitely going to be tight. Looking after the tyres is difficult, so whether it is a one or two stop race will be interesting to see. Hopefully we’ll have a great battle tomorrow.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
That’s a fantastic result in a really close qualifying session with some great competition between the drivers. I’m very pleased for Valtteri. It was a tough race last weekend in China but he has been chipping away at his qualifying performances and he did a great job this evening, finding the last few hundredths on his second run in Q3. As for Lewis, he couldn’t quite improve on that final run – but for the first time this season we have both cars on the front row of the grid. The gap to Ferrari looks pretty good here but their drivers were complaining of understeer, so perhaps they have gone with more of a race set-up in mind. And then there’s Red Bull. You always have to have them on the radar because they have all the resources they need to be fighting at the front. Tomorrow’s race will be all about surviving on the tyres and making the right decisions in terms of strategy. We’re starting from the best possible positions and we now need to get the heads down and work hard to convert it into podium finishes tomorrow.

James Allison, Technical Director -
A first pole for Valtteri and it feels excellent. It’s lovely to have a front-row lockout and it’s a great reward to Valtteri for three excellent laps in qualifying today. We are all really happy. The gap to Ferrari is a little larger than in the first two races but rather than being surprised we’re just grateful for that small bit of breathing space. It will be different again tomorrow when everyone has their cars full of fuel – then we are sure to have our work cut out. We’re expecting the weather to change a fair bit for tomorrow, both windier and cooler. But it will be normal fare for Bahrain – tough on the brakes, tough on the drivers. It’ll be a long, hard toil, but hopefully we’ll end up at the front. It’s going to be super tight.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix - Friday
Soaring temperatures, searing competition on opening day in Sakhir.
Lewis ended the morning session in P10 with Valtteri P14.
Valtteri set the second fastest time in the afternoon session with Lewis fifth quickest Both drivers ran the Medium and Soft compound tyre in FP1, the Soft and SuperSoft in FP2
Valtteri Bottas Today overall went well. Obviously, it’s difficult to learn much in FP1 with the extremely high temperatures, as the main sessions are under the lights in the evening when it’s much cooler. But we got some good data out of FP2 with short runs and long runs. The car was feeling good. We can definitely make it better but it was a positive start and I’m looking forward to qualifying. It was very hot today and the track normally improves quite a lot as you lose some of the sand, so I’m sure tomorrow we will go a lot quicker. How quick, we will find out. It’s definitely tougher than before, driving in the heat with these new cars. But I’m used to being in a Finnish sauna, so it’s no problem! It seems like the same trend continues here with it being so close with Ferrari. But Red Bull are looking good too and the whole pack is pretty close, if you look at the top six particularly. It looks like every little thing that we are going to be fine tuning today with the setup and anything extra we can find is going to be crucial for qualifying and the race.

Lewis Hamilton -
A pretty normal Friday, really. It was incredibly hot early on, with some of the very toughest conditions – both physically and in terms of working with the tyres. We got through that and then it was much cooler in the afternoon, giving us a much better representation of what qualifying and the race will be like. I was able to get a much better understanding of where the car is in FP2. It was very close, with Ferrari fastest. In race trim they seem a couple of tenths quicker, so I’m expecting a great battle tomorrow and then again on Sunday. We’ll work as hard as we can to try to close that gap. I have a great group of fans here and I tried to wave to them every time I went out. Their smiles really make a big difference.

James Allison, Technical Director -  
This is a pretty tough circuit at the best of times. But it is unseasonably hot this year, which made it a brutal day for both the cars and the drivers. Despite the heat, we had a very good look at the car this morning on a really hot track, before running through our normal FP2 programme in conditions more like those that we expect to see during qualifying and the race. I think we can see that it is going to be another really tight weekend between ourselves and Ferrari – a weekend where the smallest of mistakes could make the difference between the outcomes. It’s so exciting to be part of this fight, which is so tight and fought between two great teams. I hope that we can get everything together so that we are the ones that come out on top.

Daren Frankish - Daimler AG.
© 2017 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

AeroMobil next generation flying car - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

AeroMobil next generation flying car - Daren Frankish - USPA News

WORLD PREMIERE:

AEROMOBIL WILL ANNOUNCE ITS NEXT GENERATION FLYING CAR AT TOP MARQUES MONACO 2017

AeroMobil, an advanced engineering company that is commercialising a sophisticated flying car, will be launching its new model of AeroMobil Flying Car at Top Marques Monaco, the world’s most exclusive supercar show, on April 20, 2017.  The new model of AeroMobil will be the company’s first commercially available vehicle featuring hundreds of improvements, both in design and in engineering, compared to the prototype unveiled two and half years ago in Vienna, Austria. The team behind the newest AeroMobil, led by Juraj Vaculik, CEO and Douglas MacAndrew, CTO, built the vehicle in compliance with the existing regulatory frameworks for both cars and airplanes, and is looking forward demonstrating it to the first potential customers and future investors in Monaco.​  AeroMobil is completely integrated aircraft as well as a fully functioning four-wheeled car, powered by hybrid propulsion. By combining aero and car functionality in perfect harmony it heralds a new era in efficient and exciting travel, offering users an unparalleled choice of transport on the road or in the air. AeroMobil aims to make personal transportation vastly more efficient and environmentally friendly by allowing significantly faster door-to-door travel for medium distance trips and in areas with limited or missing road infrastructure.​  The future is here. Next generation of AeroMobil will be available for pre-orders during this year.​  Visitors to the show will be able to see newest AeroMobil at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco from April 20 to April 23, 2017.​

2017 Chinese Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Centimetres separate the top three in Shanghai pole position shootout. Lewis today claimed his 63rd career pole position - his sixth at the Shanghai International Circuit, second of the 2017 season and sixth in succession. Lewis Hamilton - It's been an interesting weekend so far, obviously, after missing running yesterday.

Prime Ministers letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50 - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Prime Minister's letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50. Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to notify him of the UK's intention to leave the EU. Read the full text of the Prime Minister's letter below: On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

Prime Ministers letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50
European Union
 USPA NEWS - Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50. Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to notify him of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

Read the full text of the Prime Minister’s letter below:

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent. Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament

Click to enlarge!

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent. Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community. This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too. It is in the best interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union that we should use the forthcoming process to deliver these objectives in a fair and orderly manner, and with as little disruption as possible on each side. We want to make sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and is capable of projecting its values, leading in the world, and defending itself from security threats. We want the United Kingdom, through a new deep and special partnership with a strong European Union, to play its full part in achieving these goals. We therefore believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the European Union. The Government wants to approach our discussions with ambition, giving citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union – and indeed from third countries around the world – as much certainty as possible, as early as possible. I would like to propose some principles that may help to shape our coming discussions, but before I do so, I should update you on the process we will be undertaking at home, in the United Kingdom.
The process in the United Kingdom  As I have announced already, the Government will bring forward legislation that will repeal the Act of Parliament – the European Communities Act 1972 – that gives effect to EU law in our country. This legislation will, wherever practical and appropriate, in effect convert the body of existing European Union law (the “acquis”) into UK law. This means there will be certainty for UK citizens and for anybody from the European Union who does business in the United Kingdom. The Government will consult on how we design and implement this legislation, and we will publish a White Paper tomorrow. We also intend to bring forward several other pieces of legislation that address specific issues relating to our departure from the European Union, also with a view to ensuring continuity and certainty, in particular for businesses. We will of course continue to fulfil our responsibilities as a member state while we remain a member of the European Union, and the legislation we propose will not come into effect until we leave. From the start and throughout the discussions, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, taking due account of the specific interests of every nation and region of the UK as we do so. When it comes to the return of powers back to the United Kingdom, we will consult fully on which powers should reside in Westminster and which should be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is the expectation of the Government that the outcome of this process will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union  The United Kingdom wants to agree with the European Union a deep and special partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation. To achieve this, we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. If, however, we leave the European Union without an agreement the default position is that we would have to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. In this kind of scenario, both the United Kingdom and the European Union would of course cope with the change, but it is not the outcome that either side should seek. We must therefore work hard to avoid that outcome.  It is for these reasons that we want to be able to agree a deep and special partnership, taking in both economic and security cooperation, but it is also because we want to play our part in making sure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats. And we want the United Kingdom to play its full part in realising that vision for our continent.  Proposed principles for our discussions Looking ahead to the discussions which we will soon begin, I would like to suggest some principles that we might agree to help make sure that the process is as smooth and successful as possible.  i. We should engage with one another constructively and respectfully, in a spirit of sincere cooperation Since I became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom I have listened carefully to you, to my fellow EU Heads of Government and the Presidents of the European Commission and Parliament. That is why the United Kingdom does not seek membership of the single market: we understand and respect your position that the four freedoms of the single market are indivisible and there can be no “cherry picking”. We also understand that there will be consequences for the UK of leaving the EU: we know that we will lose influence over the rules that affect the European economy. We also know that UK companies will, as they trade within the EU, have to align with rules agreed by institutions of which we are no longer a part – just as UK companies do in other overseas markets.  ii. We should always put our citizens first  There is obvious complexity in the discussions we are about to undertake, but we should remember that at the heart of our talks are the interests of all our citizens. There are, for example, many citizens of the remaining member states living in the United Kingdom, and UK citizens living elsewhere in the European Union, and we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights. iii. We should work towards securing a comprehensive agreement  We want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. We will need to discuss how we determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the United Kingdom’s continuing partnership with the EU. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. iv. We should work together to minimise disruption and give as much certainty as possible  Investors, businesses and citizens in both the UK and across the remaining 27 member states – and those from third countries around the world – want to be able to plan. In order to avoid any cliff-edge as we move from our current relationship to our future partnership, people and businesses in both the UK and the EU would benefit from implementation periods to adjust in a smooth and orderly way to new arrangements. It would help both sides to minimise unnecessary disruption if we agree this principle early in the process. v. In particular, we must pay attention to the UK’s unique relationship with the Republic of Ireland and the importance of the peace process in Northern Ireland  The Republic of Ireland is the only EU member state with a land border with the United Kingdom. We want to avoid a return to a hard border between our two countries, to be able to maintain the Common Travel Area between us, and to make sure that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not harm the Republic of Ireland. We also have an important responsibility to make sure that nothing is done to jeopardise the peace process in Northern Ireland, and to continue to uphold the Belfast Agreement. vi. We should begin technical talks on detailed policy areas as soon as possible, but we should prioritise the biggest challenges  Agreeing a high-level approach to the issues arising from our withdrawal will of course be an early priority. But we also propose a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. This should be of greater scope and ambition than any such agreement before it so that it covers sectors crucial to our linked economies such as financial services and network industries. This will require detailed technical talks, but as the UK is an existing EU member state, both sides have regulatory frameworks and standards that already match. We should therefore prioritise how we manage the evolution of our regulatory frameworks to maintain a fair and open trading environment, and how we resolve disputes. On the scope of the partnership between us – on both economic and security matters – my officials will put forward detailed proposals for deep, broad and dynamic cooperation. vii. We should continue to work together to advance and protect our shared European values  Perhaps now more than ever, the world needs the liberal, democratic values of Europe. We want to play our part to ensure that Europe remains strong and prosperous and able to lead in the world, projecting its values and defending itself from security threats. The task before us As I have said, the Government of the United Kingdom wants to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU, taking in both economic and security cooperation. At a time when the growth of global trade is slowing and there are signs that protectionist instincts are on the rise in many parts of the world, Europe has a responsibility to stand up for free trade in the interest of all our citizens. Likewise, Europe’s security is more fragile today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Weakening our cooperation for the prosperity and protection of our citizens would be a costly mistake. The United Kingdom’s objectives for our future partnership remain those set out in my Lancaster House speech of 17 January and the subsequent White Paper published on 2 February.  We recognise that it will be a challenge to reach such a comprehensive agreement within the two-year period set out for withdrawal discussions in the Treaty. But we believe it is necessary to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of our withdrawal from the EU. We start from a unique position in these discussions – close regulatory alignment, trust in one another’s institutions, and a spirit of cooperation stretching back decades. It is for these reasons, and because the future partnership between the UK and the EU is of such importance to both sides, that I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty.  The task before us is momentous but it should not be beyond us. After all, the institutions and the leaders of the European Union have succeeded in bringing together a continent blighted by war into a union of peaceful nations, and supported the transition of dictatorships to democracy. Together, I know we are capable of reaching an agreement about the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, while establishing a deep and special partnership that contributes towards the prosperity, security and global power of our continent.

Queensferry Crossing opening update - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

News USPA NEWS - Economy Secretary Keith Brown has today informed the Parliament's REC Committee the expected opening date will be achieved in a window between mid-July and the end of August, 2017, approximately 4 to 10 weeks later than predicted. on a six year construction programme.

QUEENSFERRY CROSSING OPENING UPDATE 

NOT EXPECTED TO OPEN OPEN UNTIL AUGUST


USPA NEWS - Economy Secretary Keith Brown has today informed the Parliament’s REC Committee the expected opening date will be achieved in a window between mid-July and the end of August, 2017, approximately 4 to 10 weeks later than predicted. on a six year construction programme. The contractor building the new Queensferry Crossing has said it needs more time to complete the project. The contractor has reported there have been fewer clear weather windows than expected, particularly in relation to wind. This has delayed weather dependant activities causing them to bunch together at the end of the programme to a much greater degree than was anticipated in May 2016. This means that a lot of construction activity is underway simultaneously and careful planning is required to ensure that this can be done safely, so that one activity does not impact on another. 
At this stage of the project all remaining activities are vulnerable to weather conditions for example, the tower cranes can only be removed in wind speeds of less than 25 mph and when this is happening, it is not possible to safely work within a 50 metre radius of the crane itself. Other works are also effected: for example, work on cable stays is sensitive to wind, waterproofing the bridge deck is sensitive to rain and road surfacing is sensitive to both rain and low temperatures. With so much simultaneous activity underway, there are no further opportunities to mitigate the effects of weather delays at this point of the construction programme.  Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:  “Today there are only nine weeks remaining to the end of May and the review has concluded that even with the best weather this date is not now safely achievable. “I fully recognise the effort of the workforce in building this amazing new bridge. Over 13 million hours have gone into building the Queensferry Crossing over the past six years  “There is no additional cost to the public purse and the Forth Road Bridge continues to carry traffic over the Forth during these final weeks of construction. While its clearly very disappointing the new bridge won’t be ready ahead of the contractual completion date, I believe it is important to take the time to make sure the bridge is built in the safest possible circumstances to the highest possible standards.” Sally Cox, chair of the Board for the Forth Road Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) said: “FCBC acknowledge that the uniqueness of this project and the onerous weather conditions it has experienced, particularly working at height crossing the Forth have created more challenges than we anticipated. “FCBC have always been and remain ambitious about completing this challenging project at the earliest possible date and share Transport Scotland and the public’s frustration over this delay. We have assured Transport Scotland that every endeavour is and will continue to be made, to safely complete the project at the earliest opportunity.”
Formula One back with a bang, as Silver Arrows score double podium in Melbourne.  Lewis Hamilton came home in P2 at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit to claim his 105th Formula One podium finish. Valtteri Bottas completed a double podium for the Silver Arrows in P3 on his debut for the team, taking his career tally of top three finishes into double figures. Lewis (18) sits P2 in the Drivers' Championship, seven points shy of Sebastian Vettel (25), with Valtteri (15) a further three points behind in P3 Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (33) trail Scuderia Ferrari (37) by four points in the Constructors' Championship

Lewis Hamilton -
A big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. I know this win has been a long time coming for them. This shows we’ve got a real race on our hands this season and it’s a challenge we will relish. It’s going to be great for the fans. We had a really good start which is fantastic. It was nice to get a good getaway. But I was struggling with grip from the get-go. Sebastian was able to always answer me in terms of lap time and just go quicker. Towards the end of the first stint I caught some traffic and that overheated the tyres. I struggled for grip to the point where I needed to come in, plus the gap was closing up and I was sliding around a lot. We made the call to pit, because otherwise I think Sebastian would have come past me anyway. After my stop I got caught in some traffic which was unfortunate but that’s motor racing.
Valtteri Bottas -
There are always things that could have gone better on the day but it’s a good starting point for my journey driving for Mercedes. As a team I think we did a really good job with the car we had. But Ferrari were quicker today, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve obviously done a great job over the winter. From my side the main issue was the first stint. I felt like I was always sliding around on the UltraSoft tyre - missing front and rear grip - especially after 10 laps. That wasn’t easy. But once we stuck on the Softs I had a great feeling with the car. It was behaving really nicely and it felt really nice to drive. It’s a shame it was just a bit too late. But overall this race wasn’t a disaster. It’s good to start with a podium with a new team and every position is important for the Championship. There’s a long season ahead. I have my points and I’ll do better next time. I’m looking forward to China.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport -
 Some races you win, some races you lose, and when the days come where another team has done a better job, you need to accept that with humility and recognise their performance. Today, Sebastian and Ferrari were well-deserved winners. From the early stages of the race, it was clear that Sebastian was very quick because Lewis wasn’ t able to pull away. Sebastian came into the window where the undercut was possible and we had the feeling at that point that the tyres were not lasting. It was the team’s impression on the pit wall looking at the data and Lewis’ in the car, too. So that was when, with all the clear risks of coming out in traffic, we took the decision to come in. We were between a rock and a hard place, really, and we went for it. But Ferrari played it very well – and they had the quicker car today. After that, we seemed to pick up in performance on the Soft tyres. Lewis managed everything perfectly and I must compliment Valtteri, too – he showed really good pace, made no mistakes through the whole weekend and got his first podium with the team in his first race. Now, the job for us is to learn the lessons from this race, understand why we didn’t perform to our maximum today and keep working hard to improve the car in every area.
James Allison, Technical Director -
 If it wasn’t already clear after qualifying, then it’s certainly clear now that this is going to be a season of very small margins. We got a good getaway from the flag. But credit to Ferrari today, they had a very quick car and we just weren’t quite good enough to stick with them. We won’t panic, though. It’s race one of a long season and we scored some very good points with both cars today. We’ ll be determined to come back stronger in China and make sure those small margins go our way next time.

Daren Frankish - Daimler AG.
© 2017 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

2017 Australian Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

2017 Australian Grand Prix - Saturday - Daren Frankish - USPA News

2017 AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX - SATURDAY MELBOURNE
USPA NEWS - Silver Arrows on top as Lewis Hamilton takes 62nd Formula One pole. Lewis Hamilton today took his 62nd career pole – his sixth at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. Valtteri Bottas will start his first race for the Silver Arrows from third.
Lewis Hamilton - 

It’s been a fantastic weekend so far. It’s amazing to be here for the 11th time. It feels like only yesterday that I came here for my first race in 2007. I’m just incredibly proud of the team. The rule change has been huge – it’s been such a massive challenge and the guys have worked so hard to get the car to where it is today. To be up here representing them is fantastic. I'm looking forward to the race. I think it’s close between us and Ferrari. Tomorrow is about putting all of the work that’s gone on over the winter and over testing into practice. I think Valtteri did a fantastic job in his first qualifying session, which is great for us.  

Valtteri Bottas -

Third position is not ideal. I couldn’t quite get a perfect lap in, so I’m not quite satisfied with the result. But what I’m really proud about is the team of people who built this car. I only saw a very small part of the preparation for this new era of Formula One – but it’s really nice to see that all of the work has paid off. Tomorrow is the day that matters and my race starts have been quite strong, so hopefully we can keep that going.  

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport - 

 P1 and P3 is a really good way to start the first race after a winter with so many changes. Under new regulations, there were no guarantees for us and we knew from testing that Ferrari were very strong. It was exciting to have that close battle for pole, right down to the wire with the final laps in Q3, and it’s clear that we have a big fight on our hands with Ferrari. Lewis has been flying all weekend so it’s great to see him put it on pole. For Valtteri, he might be a little disappointed to miss out on P2 by just a few hundredths. But you cannot expect everything perfect on the first weekend. He improved with every run and there is still more to come, no doubt. Now we need to get our heads down, do the homework and see what tomorrow brings us. Whatever happens, it will only be the first part of the answer to how the competitive picture looks. But I hope most of all that we see a great battle for the fans to enjoy, to begin this new era for the sport.  

James Allison, Technical Director - 

 That was an exhilarating session. Massive credit to all the people in this team who, after such a strong year in 2016, have created a car to a new set of regulations, come back a year later and put it on pole again. It’s a splendid effort from the entire team. But what is clear is that it’s very close. We’ve got some serious competition and this could be the start of quite a memorable season. We’ve just got to make sure that it’s us who keeps our nose ahead in the development race. I’ve joined a very strong group of people here and it’s a privilege to be part of this team.

2017 Australian Grand Prix - Friday - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

2017 Australian Grand Prix - Friday - Daren Frankish - USPA News

USPA NEWS - Back to business in Melbourne, with Lewis and Valtteri showing strong early form. Lewis continued to set the pace in the afternoon session with the fastest time of the day, as Valtteri rounded off his first Grand Prix Friday with the Silver Arrows third fastest.    


Lewis Hamilton -  

It’s great to be back in Australia and I’m super happy to be back in the car – particularly after a first day like that. It was 99 per cent perfect. After struggling with some issues in Barcelona, we didn’t know if we’d have the same thing here. What’s really encouraging is that we’ve arrived at the track just a week later and the car is exactly where it should be. It’s feeling great out there and the guys have done a fantastic job. We’ve shown good form so far on both the long and short runs and we got every lap done that we wanted to. The tyres performed really well today too. Coming into today, we really didn’t know where we’d be. We knew from FP1 that the Ferrari’s weren’t at their maximum. Of course, in FP2 all of a sudden they were quick. We’ll see tomorrow how it really stands. I feel very much at home in Melbourne. There’s always a great buzz here and a lot of support. I’m just really happy to see everyone and receive their positive energy. I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to win this race.  

 Valtteri Bottas -  

It was great to be back on track after Barcelona and overall it was a good day today. We still have work to do with the car balance but we got all of our running completed without any issues. From my side I definitely feel like I can make a step forward tomorrow. It’l l be a busy evening for us tonight looking through all the data to see where we can improve but it’s a reasonable start. In terms of our pace, it is only practice, so tomorrow we’ll find out exactly where we are. These tyre compounds are the right choice for this race. The softer compounds all felt good. Everyone is pushing to the limit, as we saw a few times out there today. This track is always quite dirty at the start of the weekend, but we’ll get used to it.  *Both drivers ran all three compounds in the morning session. Lewis used the Soft and UltraSoft in the afternoon, Valtteri the SuperSoft and UltraSoft  .  

James Allison, Technical Director -   

It always seems like a bit of a cliché to say that we were pleased to get through our programme smoothly. But in the first practice sessions of a new season – particularly under new regulations like these – it’s especially important to achieve that and also to leave the car intact for Saturday. On both counts, I think we can say that today was a smooth day. Our programme focused on trying out the various tyre compounds that we have available this weekend to see what kind of pace and degradation we can expect from them. We also worked to ensure the car has a reasonable balance with race fuel and lower fuel. Our long run pace looked decent but it’s harder to tell where we stand at this stage in terms of single lap pace. We’ll find out tomorrow. Overall the car seems strong, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do with it.

Prime Minister Theresa May - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - London Attack - Statement 22/03/2017 Prime Minister Theresa May gave a full statement from 10 Downing Street this evening following today's terrorist attack in Westminster. The Prime Minister Theresa May said: I have just chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency committee, COBRA, following the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon.

USPA NEWS 

London Attack 

 Statement 22/03/2017 

Prime Minister Theresa May gave a full statement from 10 Downing Street this evening following today’s terrorist attack in Westminster. 

The Prime Minister Theresa May said: 

I have just chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, COBRA, following the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon.  The full details of exactly what happened are still emerging. But, having been updated by police and security officials, I can confirm that this appalling incident began when a single attacker drove his vehicle into pedestrians walking across Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring many more, including three police officers. This attacker, who was armed with a knife, then ran towards Parliament where he was confronted by the police officers who keep us – and our democratic institutions – safe.  Tragically, one officer was killed. The terrorist was also shot dead.  The United Kingdom’s threat level has been set at severe for some time and this will not change. Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley will give a further operational update later this evening. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected – to the victims themselves, and their family and friends who waved their loved ones off, but will not now be welcoming them home.  For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe. Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran towards the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way.  On behalf of the whole country, I want to pay tribute to them – and to all our emergency services – for the work they have been doing to reassure the public and bring security back to the streets of our Capital City.  That they have lost one of their own in today’s attack only makes their calmness and professionalism under pressure all the more remarkable. The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our Capital City, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest Parliament – are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe. And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.  That is why it is a target for those who reject those values.  But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure. Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal.  And Londoners - and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City - will get up and go about their day as normal.  They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.  And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart. 

Home Secretary statement - Westminster attack - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

Home Secretary statement - Westminster attack - Daren Frankish - USPA News

USPA NEWS - London attack: Four dead At least 20 people were injured, including three Police officers in Westminster terror incident - Home Secretary Amber Rudd has given the following statement in reaction to the Westminster attack. 

She said:  

We do not yet know the full impact of this terrible incident. But I know that the whole country will be thinking and praying for those who are affected, as I am.  I want to thank the emergency services for the quick response and pay tribute to their bravery, their courage and their professionalism.  I have been briefed by the Met Police and by the security services and the Security Minister has also been updated. This is an ongoing incident and the government will continue to be updated.  The Prime Minister will chair COBR today.  The government’s top priority is the security of its people and I urge everyone to remain calm but to be vigilant and if they see anything they are concerned about they should report it to the police.  There are two police casualty bureau numbers: 0800 056 0944 and 0207 158 0010 for people worried about family and friends, or eyewitnesses.   London mayor Sadiq Khan praised citizens and emergency services for their "tremendous bravery" and said: "Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism."  Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said: "We offer our deepest sympathy to the family of the officer who has died. This incident shows the dangers our colleagues face on a daily basis." 

USPA NEWS - The Australian Grand Prix is a motor race held annually in Australia currently under contract to host Formula One until 2023. The Grand Prix is the oldest surviving motor racing competition held in Australia having been held 79 times since it was first run at Phillip Island in 1928. 

Toto on Melbourne  

“It’s the dawn of a new era – in more ways than one. This is the first time that Formula One has changed the rules to make the cars faster. We have new management looking at how we take the sport forward. And, in our team, we have seen some significant changes of personnel over the winter. It’s been a busy few months, no doubt. But an extremely exciting time, too.  “The target with these new regulations was to make this generation of F1 cars the quickest in the history of the sport. And looking at the results from testing, we’re well on the way to achieving that. It’s something that’s never been done before and that’s a radical change. We’ve even made them look more spectacular. “Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent – just like Formula One cars should be. I have been out on track watching them and, next to the previous generation of cars, these are properly spectacular cars. From a fan perspective – and a part of me will always be a fan – it really is something special. Any true motorsport lover simply has to see them in the flesh.  “Lewis and Valtteri are in a great place. They have a respectful and friendly relationship from what we’ve seen in our team briefings so far. It’s an exciting time for them because these new cars are a real physical challenge. Both felt from testing that the G-Forces are enormous and they are embracing the new challenge of F1 2017. “We have tackled with determination the challenge of the new regulations. We have been very successful over the last three years through stable rules – but no team has ever maintained its success over such a big regulation change before. In a way, it’s just what the doctor ordered. To have such a challenge is good for the team.  “There is an art to managing expectations. You must not set them too low – but you must also keep them under control. With new regulations, everyone starts with zero points. It provides opportunities as well as risks for every team on the grid. You only need to look back to 2009 to see how unpredictable Formula One can be, with Brawn winning the Championship after being on the brink of extinction. “We enter 2017 with that mindset. We take every one of our rivals seriously and respect every team’s ability to find that magic bullet. They are all full of very clever people – the best in the world in their fields. We have done the best job we possibly could over the winter and, if we are not the fastest in Melbourne, then it’s about finding out why and what needs to be done to get us back to that top spot. It’s a challenge we will take on with great motivation and energy. Setbacks can provide a long-term opportunity because you constantly need to improve yourself. “What we’ve seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk. We’ll see how that pans out in Melbourne, because we still don’t know about the fuel loads, weights or power settings of the other cars. As the old saying goes, it is when the flag drops that the bullshit really stops.” 

- Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 

Chevrolet Enjoy returns a zero-star crash test score - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - The Enjoy MPV is a low cost budget eight seater people carrier with three model options (LS, LT, and the LTZ) built by Chevrolet, built for the Indian market. The car price starts from Rs. 6,30,000 ($9,600 USD) .

CHEVROLET ENJOY RETURNS A ZERO-STAR CRASH TEST SCORE

 GLOBAL NCAP

USPA NEWS - The Enjoy MPV is a low cost budget eight seater people carrier with three model options (LS, LT, and the LTZ) built by Chevrolet, built for the Indian market. The car price starts from Rs. 6,30,000 ($9,600 USD) .
The Global NCAP report said the car had "dangerous structures in the dashboard" and that "the bodyshell was rated as unstable and incapable of withstanding any further loadings".  Driver protection was so bad that protection for most areas was rated as either poor or weak, although protection for the lower left leg was rated as "adequate".  Child protection was poor too, although the two-star rating was an improvement on the adult score. Testers noted that the child seat for a three-year-old was unable to prevent excessive movement during impact, while the installation instructions for the child seats were "insufficient".  Chevrolet Enjoy  Source: © GLOBAL NCAP 2017  Chevrolet Enjoy  Source: © GLOBAL NCAP 2017  Chevrolet Enjoy  Source: © GLOBAL NCAP 2017  Global NCAP concluded that; ADULT OCCUPANT  The protection offered to the driver head and chest was poor and for this reason the star capping was applied. Passenger’s head protection was weak while chest protection was adequate. The front passengers’ knees could impact with dangerous structures in the dashboard like the Tran fascia tube. The bodyshell was rated as unstable and it was not capable of withstanding any further loadings. CHILD OCCUPANT  The child seat for the 3 year old child was unable to prevent excessive forward movement during the impact. The recommended CRSs did not show incompatibility. The installation instructions on both child seats were insufficient and not permanently attached to the seat. The vehicle was not equipped with a passenger airbag.  The car tested was  TESTED MODEL - CHEVROLET ENJOY, RHD BODY TYPE - 5 DOOR MINIVAN CRASH TEST WEIGHT - KG 1529 Tested at 64 km/h 
David Ward, the secretary general of Global NCAP, said: "We are extremely concerned about the poor result of the Chevrolet Enjoy. There is nothing to enjoy about a zero-star safety score and GM should be embarrassed that they are selling cars with such inadequate levels of occupant protection to Indian consumers."  


 Claims from the official General Motors website. 

'ENJOY THE HIGHEST STANDARDS OF SAFETY' The Chevrolet Enjoy comes with an unmatched set of active and passive safety features. Chevrolet Enjoy MY Safe Cage Design Safe-Cage design It’s Safe-Cage design, 10 Collision Protection Beams made of high strength steel and in-built crumple zones and side impact beam in doors, provide enhanced safety for cabin occupants, so that your loved ones are safe on every drive. 

Source: http://www.chevrolet.co.in/enjoy-mpv.html


(Source: © 2017 General Motors)

MORE UNITED BRITAIN! 

UK PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY


USPA NEWS - UK Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her desire to create a "more united" Britain, in a speech in Cardiff. The prime minister told the Conservatives' spring conference that Britons are "at heart one people" be they Welsh, English, Scottish or from Northern Ireland. Here is the full speech. 


"It is good to be here in Cardiff today for our Spring Forum and Welsh Conference.  Bringing these two events together under one banner reminds us once again that we are – and will always be – the Conservative and Unionist Party. The only Party today that represents and delivers for every part of this precious United Kingdom.  I would like to thank Alun Cairns for that introduction. Alun is a determined and passionate campaigner for Wales's interests in Whitehall, always standing up for Welsh interests in government and speaking up for this great nation of the UK at the Cabinet table.  And I would also like to pay tribute to the work of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly – and particularly to its leader, Andrew RT Davies – the clearest, and without doubt the loudest, voice at Cardiff Bay doing the important work of holding the Labour Government to account.  Thank you to you also for all the work that you do for our Party here in Wales.  Thanks to you, some of our Party's best results at the last general election were achieved right here.  In the North, James Davies taking the Vale Of Clywd from Labour.  In Mid Wales, Chris Davies taking Brecon & Radnorshire back from the Liberal Democrats.  In this city, Craig Williams holding Cardiff North with a majority more than ten-times greater than we achieved in 2010.  And in the south-west, Byron Davies, becoming the first Conservative MP for Gower in its one hundred and thirty year history.  Not so long ago, people were quick to write us off here in Wales. I remember those days. People said we couldn't win here again. But you proved them wrong. And today we are winning in Wales once more.  People said the same elsewhere too. They said we couldn't win in the North of England.  But tell that to the voters of Copeland and their new, brilliant Member of Parliament Trudy Harrison – the first Conservative Member of Parliament for Copeland since before the second world war.  This is the modern Conservative Party – reaching out to all parts of the country and winning in all parts of the country.  A Party that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. Our task as party  And right across Great Britain on the 4th of May, people will go to the polls to decide who they want to run their local services, care for their local environment and set the council tax they pay.  In Scotland and here in Wales, there will be all-out elections in every single local authority.  In England, as well as county council and unitary authority elections, some of our great cities and the areas around them will choose powerful new mayors.  As a Party, we go into these important elections confident about the job we can do to serve local people and local communities.  Because from Cardiff to the Cairngorms, and from Dover to Durham, people are looking for a party with a plan to secure a better future for their town or their city, their county and their country.  Our task as Conservatives is clear – we must work to be that Party.  In local elections across Great Britain, that means being the Party that sets out the credible and compelling case to keep council tax low, for more effective and efficient local services and for more responsive representation.  In the elections for new metro-mayors, our candidates:  Andy Street in the West Midlands,  James Palmer in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,  Sean Anstee in Greater Manchester,  Tony Caldeira in Liverpool city region,  Ben Houchen in Tees Valley, and  Tim Bowles in the West of England...  ...must be the candidates pointing the way to a better quality of life, greater social, cultural and economic opportunity, and a more prosperous future for local people – with a plan to deliver.  And as Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom, responding to – and delivering on – the decision of the British people to leave the European Union and embark on a new global role, our task is clearer still.  It is to use this moment of opportunity to shape a brighter future for Britain.  It is to use this period of change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.  And it is to use the years ahead to deliver an ambitious programme of economic and social reform that prepares Britain for that brighter future and ensures we emerge stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. Plan for Britain  And that is why today, I want to talk to you about this Government's Plan for Britain.  A Plan for Britain that will guide our policies and actions.  A Plan for Britain that will deliver a stronger, fairer country.  For we stand on the threshold of one of the most significant moments Britain has known for many years.  During the next two weeks, we will trigger Article 50 and begin the negotiations to secure the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.  And at such moments – great national moments that define the character of a nation – we have a choice.  We can look forward with optimism and hope. Or give in to the politics of fear and despair.  I choose to believe in Britain and that our best days lie ahead.  Because while the road before us may be uncertain at times, I believe - with the British people - that it leads towards a brighter future for our nation's children and grandchildren.  That brighter future won't just happen. The stronger, fairer country we want won't just emerge. It will take effort and focus. Discipline and hard work.  And above all, it requires that we set out and deliver on a plan.  So, our Plan for Britain is a plan for a brighter future.  A plan to make the most of the opportunities ahead and to build a stronger, fairer Britain that is more united and more outward-looking.  A plan to get the right deal for Britain abroad yes, but also a better deal for ordinary, working people here at home.  And that is crucial.  For the referendum result was not just a vote to leave the European Union. It was an instruction to change the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.  It was a call to change the balance of Britain – to make this great United Kingdom a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.  We – the Conservative Party – understand that.  We – the Conservative Party – will respond.  We will get the right deal for Britain abroad – forging a new partnership with our friends and allies in Europe, but looking beyond Europe to build relationships with old friends and new allies around the world too.  And at the same time, we will pursue the ambitious economic and social reforms we need to make Britain work for working people.  That means building a stronger economy and investing in the things that will deliver for Britain in the long-term, tackling the problem of low productivity and helping to secure the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.  It means creating a fairer society, as we break down the barriers of privilege and spread opportunity and prosperity around the country.  It means forging a more united nation, as we put the values of fairness, responsibility and citizenship at the heart of everything we do.  It means building a stronger, fairer Britain that our children and grandchildren will be proud to call home. A global Britain  From the start, the Britain we build as we leave the EU must be a truly Global Britain.  A Britain that is outward-looking and embraces the world.  Because the vote to leave the European Union was not a vote to turn our backs on our international role, or abandon our international outlook.  Britain at its best has always been a great, global, trading nation.  We have always been shaped by, and have helped to shape, global events.  We are one of the world's largest economies, with strong and fruitful relationships with countries around the world.  Those co-operative and open-hearted relationships are vital to our future success.  As we leave the EU, we will embrace the world and build a global, outward-looking Britain that is a confident and responsible player on the world stage.  Of course, that means getting on with the job of delivering Brexit, striking the right deal for Britain – one that builds a new partnership with Europe.  And we have been clear about our negotiating objectives.  Certainty wherever possible. Control of our own laws. Strengthening the United Kingdom.  Maintaining the Common Travel Area with Ireland. Control of immigration. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU.  Enhancing rights for workers. Free trade with European markets. New trade agreements with other countries.  A leading role in science and innovation. Co-operation on crime, terrorism and foreign affairs. And a phased approach, delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit.  Twelve objectives that amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.  But a Global Britain also means making the Britain that emerges from the EU the leading advocate for global free trade, and promoting and defending the forces of economic liberalism which have such an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world.  It means building and strengthening our relationships with old friends and new allies, getting out and doing business right across the globe.  That is what the Department for International Trade has been doing since it was set up last summer – building up our capability and readiness for that new global role, and promoting British goods and services around the globe.  It means continuing to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain, but ensuring that process is managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest...  ...continuing to meet our commitments to the world's poor and to support developing countries, protecting British interests and making the world a safer place for everyone.  And supporting our armed forces as they keep our country safe and secure.  Britain is one of the few nations anywhere in the world to meet both its UN aid target and its NATO defence target.  That is a global Britain of which we can all be proud. A stronger economy  But our success as a Global Britain will be underpinned by the second objective of our Plan for Britain: a stronger economy where everyone plays by the same rules.  We have achieved a lot over the last six years to fix the economic mess left by Labour and restore our public finances.  The deficit has been reduced and our economy has grown.  In 2009-10 the UK borrowed £1 in every £5 that was spent. This year it is set to be £1 in every £15.  Working with businesses and business leaders across the country, we have delivered a record numbers of jobs, giving more people in our country economic security and peace of mind for their families.  We have taken the lowest-paid out of tax altogether, and brought in the National Living Wage, so that people who work hard every day in often arduous jobs can enjoy a better standard of living.  But there is still so much more to do.  So our Plan for Britain will continue to bring the deficit down, so that the country lives within its means.  In doing so, we will take a balanced approach...  ...allowing us to invest where it is needed...  ...like the £2 billion additional money for adult social care we announced last week...  ...and where it will make the difference for Britain in the long-term, like the £500m a year we committed in the Budget to bring genuinely world-class technical education to Britain for the first time.  This funding will help to increase the amount of technical training for 16-19 year olds by 50%.  It includes a high-quality 3 month work placement for every student.  And it means that, when they qualify, they will be genuinely "work-ready".  It means we will be taking technical education seriously – and giving it the parity of esteem it deserves – as we roll out our new modern industrial strategy to all parts of the country.  That strategy will encourage and support the key sectors of our economy; provide more opportunities for young people to find high-quality, high-skilled work; and spread opportunity and prosperity around the whole of the country.  This approach has already been welcomed by sectors across our economy, and I look forward to publishing our White Paper later in the year.  And to build a stronger economy that works for everyone, Government must also support competitive markets and an open economy.  That means recognising where markets are not working for customers, and being ready to step in on their behalf, so that consumers get a fair deal.  One market that is manifestly not working for all consumers is the energy market.  Energy is not a luxury, it is a necessity of life. But it is clear to me – and to anyone who looks at it – that the market is not working as it should.  Prices have risen by 158% over the last fifteen years, and ordinary working families are finding that they are spending more and more of their take-home pay on heating and lighting each month.  The vast majority of consumers, especially those with the lowest incomes, are on the most expensive tariffs.  Relying on switching alone to keep prices down is clearly not working.  Our Party did not end the unjust and inefficient monopolies of the old nationalised energy corporations only to replace them with a system that traps the poorest customers on the worst deals.  So we are looking very closely at how we can address this problem, and ensure a fairer deal for everyone.  We will set out our plans very soon.  This is a Government on the side of working people, acting to repair broken consumer markets, to improve the spending power of people who are just about managing with everyday costs and bills.  Because it is the job of Government to act in the national interest and to protect the people.  To crack down on individuals and businesses that abuse the system so that everyone – however big or small – plays by the same rules.  That is the fairer Britain we are building.  And our Conservative vision of a Britain that works for everyone is a Britain where workers' rights are protected and enhanced.  Employment rights in Britain already exceed those guaranteed by EU regulation, and under this Government they will only be extended, and never diminished.  Ensuring that in a modern, flexible economy people are properly protected at work will also be a priority.  That is why we have commissioned Matthew Taylor to lead a review into the rights and protections people have in work in the new modern economy, so that we can be certain that employment regulation and practices are keeping pace with the changing world of work.  The Conservative Party – the party of workers, of consumers, of responsible businesses with a plan to build a stronger economy for all. A fairer society  And the third objective of our Plan is to build a fairer society, where success is based on merit, not privilege.  We have already started to rebalance our society in favour of ordinary working people.  Our plans for housing will deliver one million more homes, so that more people can afford a home of their own, while ensuring the housing market is fair to those who own their home and those who don't.  That means action to help renters, as well as buyers.  We will continue to put record investment into the NHS to help people at every stage of their life and support a vital national institution.  We will help people who can work get back into employment, so that they can benefit from a happier, healthier and more productive life...  ...and so our welfare system is fair to those who need it and fair to those who pay for it.  But we need to go further, and turn Britain into a Great Meritocracy, where success is defined by work and talent, not birth or circumstance.  So our Plan for Britain will provide a good school place for every child – one that gives them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the future and reach their full potential in life.  We will support existing state schools to do even better, through sponsorship by universities and collaboration with the independent sector.  We will help faith schools to expand, while making sure they include pupils from different backgrounds.  And we will do something else, which no government has done for generations.  We will extend to the children of working class families the same opportunities enjoyed by the children of the well-off, by ending the ban on new academically selective schools in England.  These new schools will face rigorous requirements to ensure that as well as giving greater opportunities to their own students, they also support their neighbouring non-selective schools to do the best by theirs.  There will be no return to the binary models of the past, but rather a step into a more egalitarian future, where the opportunity to receive the education which suits a child best is within reach of everyone in our society, and not just a privileged few.  Because being a Government at the service of the people means taking action on the issues that concern them.  Not thinking we know best and turning a blind-eye to their concerns, but listening and responding to what people want.  So we will take control of immigration and make sure the immigration system works in the national interest.  We will welcome immigrants who make a valued and necessary contribution to our economy and society, but we will once again have control of the system, and manage it according to our needs.  And at the very same time that we take action to address people's legitimate concerns about immigration, we will be unstinting in our determination to tackle the historic injustices, like racial and gender discrimination, that hold too many people in our society back.  The Britain we will build must be a country where everyone has an equal chance to succeed and where getting on in life is dependent on talent and hard work, not background or connections.  Our Party should aspire to be the servant and the voice of hard-working and patriotic British people of every social class and race, of any religion and none, of women and men equally, of gay and straight, young and old.  We are a union of people who are bound together by enduring common interests – and all are respected and welcome in our party and our country. A United Nation  Because everything I have been talking about today adds up to the over-arching goal of our Plan for Britain: the creation of a more united nation, that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home.  Our Party believes heart and soul in our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The precious bond between four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  But that union is more than just a constitutional artefact.  It is a union between all of our citizens, whoever we are and wherever we're from.  So our Plan for Britain will put strengthening and sustaining that Union at its heart.  It means taking the big decisions when they're the right ones for Britain in the long-term.  Putting the national interest above any other consideration.  And it means ensuring that we act in the interests of the whole country – creating jobs and supporting cities, towns and communities right across our United Kingdom.  It is has always been the special mission of our Conservative Party to be the true national party in Britain.  To aspire to represent all of the country and all of the people.  And today our goal must be nothing less.  Because we are now the Party of the new centre-ground of British politics.  Rejecting the extremes of Labour's socialist left, UKIP's libertarian right, and the divisive and obsessive nationalisms of Plaid Cymru and the SNP.  And we have seen that tunnel vision on display again this week. The SNP argue that we should break up the UK because we are leaving the EU...  ...but three years ago they campaigned for a result that would have taken Scotland out of the EU altogether.  They are happy to see power rest in Brussels. But if those powers come back to London... they want them given to Edinburgh... so that they can try to give them back to Brussels.  And now they apparently say that an independent Scotland would no longer seek to become a member of the EU after a vote for separation.  It is muddle on muddle.  The fact that more Scottish voters backed Scotland staying in the UK in 2014, than supported the UK staying in the EU in 2016...  ...and that almost half a million independence supporters actually backed Brexit last year...  ...seems to count for nothing.  It is now clear that using Brexit as the pretext to engineer a second independence referendum has been the SNP's sole objective ever since last June.  But it would be bad for Scotland, bad for the United Kingdom, and bad for us all.  The coming negotiations with the EU will be vital for everyone in the United Kingdom.  Every person, every family, every business, every community the length and breadth of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  It is essential that we get the right deal, and that all of our efforts and energies as a country are focused on that outcome.  We can only get that deal if we are united, as one United Kingdom, all pulling together to get the best outcome.  That is what we have always done when faced with challenges.  We have pulled together as one and succeeded together.  We are four nations, but at heart we are one people.  As the Prime Minister of this United Kingdom, I will always ensure the voices and interests of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are represented as we negotiate to leave the EU.  And I will always fight to strengthen and sustain this precious, precious Union. Conclusion  A great leader of our Party once said that 'the Tory Party, unless it is a national party, is nothing.'  Our Party, he went on to say, 'is a party formed from all the numerous classes in the realm – classes alike and equal before the law, but whose different conditions and different aims give vigour and variety to our national life.'  At its best, it has always been the mission of our Party to serve all of the people.  To be the truly national party.  To act always in the national interest, and never in a sectional interest.  To encourage the strong, and to protect the vulnerable.  To enable success, and to use the fruits of our collective success to advance the common good.  In the years ahead, these are the values that should light our path.  With our vision of a better future for our country...  a plan for a stronger, fairer Britain...  and the determination to see it through...  we will achieve that mission and be worthy of that better future."

Consequences of global gag rule - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Several EU countries have decided to raise money for organisations offering sexual health and family planning services after US President Donald Trump decided to reintroduce a rule banning US financing for NGOs providing or promoting abortion to women in developing countries. This policy is often referred to as the global gag rule.

CONSEQUENCES OF GLOBAL GAG RULE - MEPS CONCERNED
USPA NEWS - Several EU countries have decided to raise money for organisations offering sexual health and family planning services after US President Donald Trump decided to reintroduce a rule banning US financing for NGOs providing or promoting abortion to women in developing countries. This policy is often referred to as the global gag rule. Most MEPs criticised the US decision during a debate on 14 March, asking for action from the EU while some insisted on respecting the rights of unborn children.  The US reintroduces ban  Trump signed an executive order on 23 January prohibiting US financing of NGOs providing abortion or services, such as counselling and training, even if they do so with their own money. The rule was first announced in 1984 in Mexico City during the UN International Conference on Population by then US president Ronald Reagan who was in favour of “respect for human life at its most vulnerable - human life still unborn”. Since its introduction, it has repeatedly been lifted by Democrats and reintroduced by Republicans.  Trump's decision to reintroduce the ban has led to strong reactions around the globe. Critics pointed out that the NGOs and clinics that will be affected also provide services concerning reproductive health and that the reduction in funding could have an impact on the health care being offered. The risk of illegal abortions  The concern is that the lack of funding will not make the issue go away. On the contrary, many women are likely to undergo an illegal and possibly unsafe abortion. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, some 22 million unsafe abortions are carried out around the world every year, with nearly all taking place in developing countries. In 2008 47,000 women are estimated to have died because of it. About five million women are admitted to the hospital every year as a result of unsafe abortions in developing countries and more than three million women who experience complications due to an unsafe abortion do not receive care. Campaing to help NGOs affected  In response to Trump's decision representatives from 57 countries and private organisations met in Brussels on 2 March for a conference organised by Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden to find ways to help the organisations affected. The conference raised €181 million for fundraising initiative She Decides. Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark are reported to have pledged €10 million, while Finland and Sweden committed to €20 million and Luxembourg to €2 million. Plenary debate  During the plenary debate on 14 March, most MEPs criticised the decision, saying it could put women at risk as it might lead to more unsafe abortions. However, some MEPs said the rights of unborn children had to be protected and did not want the EU to fund these NGOs.  Christos Stylianides, the commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid, said: “In the poorest countries of the world this can put the lives of young women and girls at risk.” He added: “EU policies are driven by our own priorities and values, not by what others do or stop doing.” -
Some called on the EU to step in and replace US funding  Swedish EPP Member Anna Maria Corazza Bildt strongly condemned the decision and called on Europe to step in to fill the funding gap, while UK S&D member chair Linda McAvan, chair of the development committee, said: "Cutting this funding does not mean fewer abortions. All the evidence from the last period when the gag was in place shows the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions increased when the global gag came in." A similar point was made by Dutch ALDE member Sophie in 't Veld who said: "Women should decide on their own bodies, always." Malin Björk, a Swedish member of the GUE/NGL group, called for EU action, saying: "We must condemn the US gag rule, take up the fight in international fora and commit more money." This point was also raised by German Greens/EFA member Terry Reintke who urged the EU to increase funding.  However, not all MEPs agreed.  Slovak ECR member Branislav Škripek called abortion “barbaric” with “no health care benefit”, adding: “Resources should be redirected to provide real and maternal care to women.” German EFDD member Beatrix von Storch said that abortion was not an EU competence and that in some EU countries it was still an offence: "I suggest that we defend protecting lives and not ending lives." French ENF member Marie-Christine Arnautu said there were people who tend to ignore national sovereignty: "It’s up to the United States government to decide on its own criteria when it comes to financing foreign NGOs.”
The Mandela Effect Test - 15 Questions (Beginner) Answers at the end

2017 Geneva International Motor Show - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Mercedes-Benz Cars at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show - A Big Stage for Sporty Elegance. As spring arrives, Mercedes-Benz is using the 87th Geneva Motor Show as a stage for an array of elegant and sporty new models.

Mercedes-Benz Cars at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show: A Big Stage for Sporty Elegance

 

Geneva. As spring arrives, Mercedes-Benz is using the 87th Geneva Motor Show as a stage for an array of elegant and sporty new models. Having started the year with the best results in company history, marked by double-digit growth in January (+18.3% vs 2016) and February (+15% vs 2016), the brand with the three-pointed star is celebrating four world premieres and two European premieres. The highlights are the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet, which completes the successful E-Class family, and the MercedesAMG GT Concept. The brand from Affalterbach is showcasing this four-door Coupé to provide a glimpse of the performance of the future. Also celebrating their world premieres are the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Estate (Fuel consumption combined: 9.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 206 g/km) and the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 (Fuel consumption combined: 11.4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 259 g/km). Appearing for the first time in Europe are the E-Class Coupé and the new GLA.

 

Unique performance paired with high efficiency and emotional design. That’s the statement clearly made by the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, which sets yet another milestone for Mercedes-Benz’s highly successful sports car and performance brand, presenting innovative features such as its high-performance hybrid powertrain. “The GT Concept shows that clean mobility and amazing performance can go hand-in-hand. As a consequence, the four-door sports car is the first to receive our “EQ-Power+” label, which we are now using to identify intelligent electrified drive,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “This also makes the GT Concept the product-development pioneer within the remit of our CASE Strategy.”& lt is strong.

 

The performance hybrid system in the GT Concept combines a highly efficient V8 petrol engine with a powerful electric motor and a modular battery concept. The system offers a compelling electric range and, in its latest iteration, can generate an output of up to 600 kW (816 hp). The GT Concept dispatches the sprint from 0100 km/h in less than three seconds, putting it on par with a super sports car. “Our high-performance study provides a first glimpse of the third Mercedes-AMG vehicle to be developed entirely in-house. The new GT version carries the iconic AMG sports-car feel over to a four-seater model,” says Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. The dynamic fastback also offers an extremely high level of everyday usability – courtesy of the large rear lid and the variable interior and luggage space. The four-door Coupé thus unites a high degree of functionality with the excellent performance of the AMG GT sports cars.

 

The show car is characterised by muscular proportions, large volumes and surface design that is both sensual and minimalist. The Panamericana grille with vertical fins painted red on their sides, the new graphic of the extremely slender main headlamps and the dominant form of the side air intakes in the front skirt are further developments of classic AMG GT design features, and an expression of sheer power. Ola Källenius: “Cars like this show that the next 50 years of AMG will be at least as exciting as the first 50.”

E-Class Cabriolet – the fifth member of an exceptionally diverse family

 

Around one year after its world premiere, the new generation of the E-Class is celebrating sales records. In February 2017, sales of both the Saloon and the Estate increased by more than 70 percent compared with the same month last year. Unveiling the new Cabriolet in Geneva, Mercedes-Benz is now presenting the fifth member of the EClass family, which has been completely renewed and expanded in the space of just one year.

 

“The new Cabriolet completes our E-Class model range, which offers greater depth and diversity than just about any vehicle family worldwide. With it, we are merging two amazing Mercedes-Benz success stories – that of the E-Class as a whole, which has been the heart of our brand for six decades now, and of our cabriolets, which are major contributors to the fascination of Mercedes-Benz,” says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales.

 

Key features of the design of the new E-Class Cabriolet are the long bonnet, the taut soft top and the muscular rear end. In keeping with its sporty look, it offers exceptional performance paired with outstanding comfort for four occupants. With its Widescreen Cockpit and state-of-the-art assistance systems, the open-top four-seater comes with the same technology as the Saloon – powerful engines and comfortable chassis guarantee a luxuriously sporty driving experience. Britta Seeger: “Our open-air E-Class is a fully-fledged four-seater; virtually no other cabriolet offers this much comfort.”

 

A star of the anniversary year – the AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50

 

The sports car and performance brand from Affalterbach is presenting two more world premieres in the shape of the new GT C Roadster Edition 50 and the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Estate. “ The GT C Roadster Edition 50 is one of the stars in our screenplay marking the 50th anniversary of the AMG brand. And one look at the key data shows that this is a real action story,” says Ola Källenius.

 

The new AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 is powered by a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine. The maximum output is 410 kW (557 hp), while the open-top two-seater needs less than four seconds for the sprint from 0-100 km/h. The exceptionally well-equipped special edition is available worldwide as a limited run of 500 vehicles.

Superlative performance paired with usability – the new AMG E 63 Estate

 

In the new estate versions of the E 63 4MATIC+ (Fuel consumption combined: 9.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 206 g/km) and the E 63 S 4MATIC+, Mercedes-AMG combines its typical Driving Performance with the high usability and intelligence of the E-Class. The technology keeps the promise made by the highly individual, sporty design. Superlative performance is supplied by the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with up to 450 kW (612 hp) and the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. The new Estate’s 0-100 km/h acceleration of 3.5 seconds is best-in-class.

 

The everyday usability of the new AMG estate model also sets benchmarks in its segment – one of which is the luggage space of 640 to 1,820 litres, which is the largest of all the performance estates.

smart – two special models celebrate their world premiere

 

The world premiere of two smart special editions rounds off the Group’s appearance in Geneva. On show for the first time are the smart fortwo cabrio BRABUS edition #2 (Fuel consumption combined: 4.2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 97 g/km) and the smart forfour crosstown edition (Fuel consumption combined: 4.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 99 g/km). The open-top BRABUS two-seater is launched as a limited run of 100 units and powered by a 66 kW (90 hp) three-cylinder turbocharged engine combined with the twinamic 6speed dual-clutch gearbox. On the smart forfour crosstown edition, which has the 66 kW (90 hp) engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, special trim elements give an underbody-protection look that pairs with distinctive sills for a sporty crossover feel.

Ruth Davidson's speech to conference - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Ruth Davidson announces 'back to basics' review of Scottish curriculum in attack on SNP education record. Below is the full text of Ruth Davidson's keynote speech to the Scottish Conservative conference Knowing this: that if we want to lift children out of poverty, they have no greater aid than an education that provides them with the knowledge and facts empowering them to do so.

Prime Minister Theresa May - our precious Union Speech - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Prime Minister Theresa May has called on her fellow Conservatives to continue "loudly and clearly" putting the case for the "precious Union" of the UK. During a speech to the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow she said "we are four nations, but at heart one people".

Prime Minister Theresa May - Speech

USPA NEWS - Prime Minister Theresa May has called on her fellow Conservatives to continue "loudly and clearly" putting the case for the "precious Union" of the UK. During a speech to the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow she said "we are four nations, but at heart one people".

t is a great pleasure to be here in Glasgow at the biggest and best Scottish Conservative Conference for years.

 

Last May you achieved our Party's best ever results in a Scottish Parliament election, doubling the number of Conservative MSPs.

 

You took second place in a Scottish election for the first time in 25 years.

 

And you beat the Scottish Labour Party for the first time in 60 years.

 

Every MSP, candidate and activist can take pride in that result.

 

But there is one person without whom none of it would have been possible.

 

The leader of the opposition in the Scottish Parliament, the MSP for Edinburgh Central, your leader, and my friend: Ruth Davidson.

 

Last year Ruth had a clear and simple message.

 

Vote Scottish Conservative to shine a much needed light on the SNP's record and to hold SNP ministers to account.

 

Since last May, Ruth and her team at Holyrood have been doing just that.

 

And at Westminster, Scotland has a strong and respected voice at the Cabinet table in David Mundell.

 

I have worked alongside David for years and I have seen first hand what a champion he is for Scotland, for our Party and for our United Kingdom.

 

He may be one man, but his hard work and determination have achieved far more for Scotland than the noisy antics of all the SNP MPs combined.

 

While others fail to hold the SNP to account, Ruth and David's job in doing so is ever more vital.

 

SNP record

 

Because for too long a feeble and incompetent Scottish Labour opposition did nothing to scrutinise the SNP for their failures.

 

An SNP Government interested only in stoking-up endless constitutional grievance and furthering their obsession with independence, at the expense of Scottish public services like the NHS and education, was given a free pass by Labour.

 

With Ruth now leading the charge, the SNP's holiday from democratic accountability has come to an end.

 

Take education.

 

Ruth and her formidable team of MSPs have exposed the SNP's mismanagement of Scotland's schools.

 

Scottish schools, which once led the world in setting the highest standards of attainment, are now outperformed in every category by schools in England, Northern Ireland, Estonia and Poland.

 

Education: fully devolved since 1999 and under the SNP's stewardship for ten years.

 

But standards have fallen, the attainment gap remains and Scottish young people are losing out.

 

150,000 further education places cut by the Nationalists.

 

A cap on the number of Scottish students who can enter higher education.

 

Fewer young people from the poorest backgrounds making it to university than in the rest of the UK.

 

And just this week we have learned that the SNP Government has delayed its planned education Bill, such is their obsession with the single issue of independence.

 

The SNP's neglect and mismanagement of Scottish education has been a scandal, but sadly it doesn't stop there.

 

The abysmal failure of their farm payments system.

 

Their replacement of stamp duty with a new tax which charges Scottish home buyers more, but brings in less revenue than promised.

 

Starving the health service by refusing to match the spending increases on the NHS in England.

 

The SNP Government demands further powers for the Scottish Parliament, but fails to pass powers on to local people in Scotland's villages, towns and cities.

 

They have scrapped the Right to Buy, denying ordinary working families a chance to own their own home.

 

They oppose our nuclear deterrent, which keeps us all safe, and on which tens of thousands of Scottish jobs rely.

 

The simple truth is their policies are not in the best interests of Scotland, but in the political interest of the SNP.

 

A party resolutely focused on just one thing: independence.

 

For them, it is not about doing the right thing.

 

The SNP play politics as though it were a game.

 

But politics is not a game and the management of devolved public services in Scotland is too important to be neglected.

 

People in Scotland deserve a First Minister who is focused on their priorities – raising standards in education, taking care of the health service, reforming criminal justice, helping the economy prosper, improving people's lives.

 

Instead, they have an SNP Government obsessed with its own priority of independence, using the mechanisms of devolved government to further its political aims and all the while neglecting and mismanaging public services in Scotland.

 

The SNP have been allowed to get away with it for too long.

 

But not anymore.

 

Now, in Ruth Davidson, Scotland has a fighter who will stand up to the SNP establishment, in the interests of the Scottish people, and provide a real alternative to the SNP.

 

Positive case for the union

 

But as well as taking on the SNP for their failures in office, we have another important job.

 

When I stood outside Downing Street on the day I became Prime Minister, I reminded people in that the full title of our Party is the Conservative and Unionist Party.

 

And that word 'unionist' is very important to me.

 

My first visit as Prime Minister was here to Scotland.

 

I wanted to make clear that strengthening and sustaining the bonds that unite us is a personal priority for me.

 

I am confident about the future of our United Kingdom and optimistic about what we can achieve together as a country.

 

The fundamental strengths of our Union, and the benefits it brings to all of its constituent parts, are clear.

 

But we all know that the SNP will never stop twisting the truth and distorting reality in their effort to denigrate our United Kingdom and further their obsession of independence.

 

It is their single purpose in political life.

 

We need to be equally determined to ensure that the truth about our United Kingdom is heard loudly and clearly.

 

As Britain leaves the European Union and we forge a new role for ourselves in the world, the strength and stability of our Union will become even more important.

 

We must take this opportunity to bring our United Kingdom closer together.

 

Because the Union which we all care about is not simply a constitutional artefact.

 

It is a union of people, affections and loyalties.

 

It is characterised by sharing together as a country the challenges which we all face, and freely pooling the resources we have to tackle them.

 

The existence of our Union rests on some simple but powerful principles: solidarity, unity, family.

 

How we became a union and why we prosper together

 

Our United Kingdom has evolved over time and has a proud history.

 

Together we form the world's greatest family of nations.

 

But the real story of our Union is not to be found in Treaties or Acts of Parliament.

 

It is written in our collective achievements, both at home and in the world.

 

Together, we led the world into the industrial age.

 

From the Derbyshire dales, to the south Wales Valleys and the workshops of Clydeside, British industrialists, inventors and workers charted the course to modernity and made the United Kingdom the world's engine-room.

 

The Union enabled the social, scientific and economic developments which powered our collective achievement.

 

Bringing people and communities closer together allowed new connections to be made.

 

The steam engine; perfected in the 1790s by a partnership between an engineer from Greenock, James Watt, and a manufacturer from Birmingham, Matthew Boulton.

 

The Menai Straits; spanned in the 1820s by an engineer from Dumfriesshire, Thomas Telford.

 

Collective achievement has been the story of our Union ever since.

 

Penicillin; discovered in 1928 by a Scottish doctor, Alexander Fleming, working in a London hospital, St Mary's.

 

The Harry Potter books, which have sold over 500 million copies, were begun in a café in Edinburgh by an author from Gloucestershire.

 

And that co-operation – economic, social, and cultural – has been the bedrock of our success as a Union of nations and people.

 

Together, we make up the world's fifth-largest economy, despite accounting for less than 1 per cent of the world's population.

 

Together, we fought against and defeated tyranny.

 

Ours is not a marriage of convenience, or a fair-weather friendship, but a true and enduring Union, tested in adversity and found to be true.

 

And the great institutions which we have built together, the pillars of our national life, are the result of common endeavour.

 

The National Health Service, the BBC, our armed forces, our Parliamentary democracy, our constitutional monarchy, our commitment to the rule of law, our respect for fundamental human rights.

 

All have been admired and imitated around the world, and all were created here as a consequence of our common life together.

 

These achievements are the fruits of our Union.

 

They are the signs which signify its deep and fundamental strengths.

 

An economy that works for the whole UK

 

We should never be shy of making that positive case for the Union, because logic and facts are on our side.

 

Take the economic arguments.

 

One of the driving forces behind the Union's creation was the remorseless logic that greater economic strength and security come from being united.

 

Not the transient and shifting benefits of international alliance, but the fundamental strength of being one people.

 

Those enduring economic strengths are obvious.

 

Our wholly integrated domestic market for businesses means no barriers to trade within our borders.

 

That has always been of immense value to firms here in Scotland.

 

The SNP point out the importance of the European market to Scottish businesses.

 

I agree – it is important.

 

That's why I am determined to get the best possible access to it for Scottish firms, as I am for Welsh, English and Northern Irish firms.

 

But what the SNP don't point out is that the UK domestic market is worth four times more to Scottish firms.

 

In fact, the EU comes third after the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world as a market for Scottish goods.

 

And yet the SNP propose Scottish independence, which would wrench Scotland out of its biggest market.

 

They think independence is the answer to every question in every circumstance, regardless of fact and reality.

 

It simply does not add up and we should never stop saying so.

 

And the UK is not just a market place.

 

The financial stability of a strong shared currency and central bank underpins all sectors our economy, across all four nations of the UK.

 

The broad shoulders of the world's fifth-largest economy provide enviable security for businesses and workers alike.

 

Ten years ago, banks headquartered in Edinburgh and London, which employ tens of thousands of people and look after the savings of millions, were rescued by the UK Treasury.

 

Action that was only possible because of the size and strength of the British economy.

 

In the oil and gas sector – a vital industry on our east coast, from Aberdeen to Lowestoft – the broad shoulders of our wider economy have allowed the UK Government to take unprecedented action to support the sector following the decline in the international oil price.

 

And public spending here in Scotland has been protected, even as North Sea tax receipts have dwindled to nothing.

 

Time and again the benefits of the Union – of doing together, collectively, what would be impossible to do apart – are clear.

 

Indeed the economic case for the Union has never been stronger.

 

There is no economic case for breaking up the United Kingdom, or of loosening the ties which bind us together.

 

But the economics are only part of the story.

 

Security

 

The national security of the Union in a changing world has never been more important.

 

The United Kingdom has led the world in developing a strategy for preventing violent extremism, and we are working with our allies to take on and defeat the ideology of Islamist Extremism.

 

It is firmly in our national interest to defeat Daesh and the ideology of Islamic extremism that inspires them and many others terrorist groups in the world today.

 

In this task, we are fortunate to draw on intelligence provided by the finest security agencies in the world and the greatest armed forces anywhere.

 

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we promote peace and security around the world and help to uphold the rules-based order on which they rest.

 

As a leading member of NATO, and the foremost military power in Western Europe, we are a guarantor of the freedom and democracy of our Euro-Atlantic partners, especially our allies in Eastern Europe.

 

It is because we take these international obligations seriously that the United Kingdom is one of the few countries to meet our NATO target of spending 2 per cent of national income on defence, and our UN target to spend 0.7 per cent of our income on international aid.

 

The United Kingdom is a responsible member of the international community and Scotland makes a huge contribution to the UK's global role.

 

The Department for International Development has its main operational headquarters in East Kilbride – from there work is co-ordinated which saves lives around the world.

 

Leading international efforts to end the outrages of Female Genital Mutilation, child marriage and violence against women and children.

 

The second largest donor to the Syrian crisis, helping millions of families access food, water, sanitation and shelter.

 

Tens of millions of children around the world immunised against preventable disease and given access to a basic education.

 

All work driven from right here in Scotland.

 

In defence, Scotland is central to the United Kingdom's capability.

 

HMNB Clyde, one of the largest single employment sites in Scotland, is not only the home of the nuclear deterrent which keeps us safe in a changing world.

 

By the end of 2020 it will be the home of all of the Royal Navy's submarines – a major investment in the future of the West of Scotland.

 

And this summer the steel will begin to be cut on a new generation of Royal Navy frigates, right here on the Clyde.

 

Our great Scottish shipyards don't just have a proud past, they have a great future too.

 

Firms like Ferguson Marine of Port Glasgow, which is marrying traditional shipbuilding skills with world-leading innovations in equipment and processes.

 

Despite the scaremongering of the SNP, and their shameful attempts to use the jobs of workers as a political football, shipbuilding jobs in Scotland will be sustained thanks to UK Government orders.

 

Pooling and sharing risks and rewards

 

These practical examples of the benefits of the United Kingdom reflect a deeper truth.

 

The pooling and sharing of risks and resources on the basis of need across our United Kingdom is the essence of our unity as a people.

 

All of the practical benefits which flow from our Union, and which are hallmarks of it, depend on that deep and essential community of interest which we all share.

 

It has been shaped by geography and refined by history. And it has shown itself to be adaptable

 

Devolution is an example of that.

 

No-one can doubt our Party's credentials on devolution.

 

Conservatives in Government have taken through landmark pieces of legislation to strengthen the devolution settlements.

 

The Scotland Act 2016 implemented in full the legislative recommendations of the all-party Smith Commission Agreement, making the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful devolved legislatures in the world.

 

The comparison between a United Kingdom which has passed more powers down to its constituent parts, and a European Union which has sought to centralise more power in Brussels, could not be clearer.

 

But the devolution of powers across the United Kingdom must not mean we become a looser and weaker union.

 

We cannot allow our United Kingdom to drift apart.

 

For too long the attitude in Whitehall has been to 'devolve and forget'.

 

But as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, I am just as concerned that young people in Dundee get a good start in life and receive the education they need to reach their full potential as I am about young people in Doncaster and Dartford.

 

I care as much about the dignity and security of older people on both sides of the River Tweed or the Irish Sea.

 

The economic prosperity of the UK as a whole depends on young people in all parts of the UK having the skills they need to reach their full potential.

 

And people who have worked hard all their lives and made a contribution to society are everyone's concern.

 

It goes back to the fundamental unity of the British people which underwrites our whole existence as a United Kingdom.

 

We are all diminished when any part of the UK is held back, and we all share in the success when we prosper.

 

In Government that principle is called 'collective responsibility'.

 

We need to build a new 'collective responsibility' across the United Kingdom, which unites all layers of government, to work positively together to improve the lives of everyone in our country.

 

As the Government serving the whole United Kingdom, formed in a Parliament drawn from the whole United Kingdom, the UK Government exercises a responsibility on behalf of the whole UK that transcends party politics and encompasses all aspects of our national life.

 

While fully respecting, and indeed strengthening, the devolution settlements and the devolved administrations across the UK, we must unashamedly assert this fundamental responsibility on our part.

 

So in those reserved policy areas where we govern directly for the whole United Kingdom, we will explicitly look to the interests of the Union – both the parts and the whole – in our policy-making.

 

And in policy areas where responsibilities are devolved, we will look for ways to collaborate and work together with the devolved administrations to improve the outcomes for everyone.

 

The modern Industrial Strategy, which the UK Government is currently consulting on, is a case in point.

 

This truly UK-wide strategy represents a new approach to government, stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures people in all parts of the UK share in the benefits of economic success.

 

Scotland stands to benefit from this new approach.

 

Whether it is shipbuilding, oil and gas, or food and drink exports – Scotland has huge industrial potential.

 

In those areas where the UK Government holds the policy levers, we will use them wisely to the benefit of Scottish firms and workers.

 

Where the Scottish Government hold the levers, in areas like skills and infrastructure, we will seek to work with them to ensure the best outcomes for Scotland.

 

At all times, we will seek to strengthen and enhance the ties that bind us together.

 

Brexit and the union

 

And I am determined to ensure that as we leave the EU, we do so as one United Kingdom, which prospers outside the EU as one United Kingdom.

 

That means achieving a deal with the EU which works for all parts of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and for the United Kingdom as a whole.

 

When the UK Government begins negotiations with the EU on Brexit, we will do so in the interests of all parts of the UK and of the UK as a whole. That is what I mean by governing for the whole United Kingdom.

 

As well as ensuring that we get the best possible deal from Brexit, we also need to ensure that the United Kingdom can operate as effectively as possible in the future.

 

The UK devolution settlements were designed in 1998 without any thought of a potential Brexit.

 

In areas like agriculture, fisheries, and the environment, the devolution settlements in effect devolved to the legislatures in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast the power to implement EU directives in these areas, within a common EU framework.

 

The essential common standards which under pin the operation of a single market were provided at the European level.

 

As we bring powers and control back to the United Kingdom, we must ensure that right powers sit at the right level to ensure our United Kingdom can operate effectively and in the interests of all of its citizens, including people in Scotland.

 

We must also ensure that the UK which emerges from the EU is able to strike the best possible trade deals internationally.

 

In short, we must avoid any unintended consequences for the coherence and integrity of a devolved United Kingdom as a result of our leaving the EU.

 

As I have made clear repeatedly, no decisions currently taken by the Scottish Parliament will be removed from them.

 

While the SNP propose that decision-making should remain in Brussels, we will use the opportunity of Brexit to ensure that more decisions are devolved back into the hands of the Scottish people.

 

Our aim will be to achieve the most effective arrangements to maintain and strengthen the United Kingdom, while also respecting the devolution settlements, and we will work constructively with the devolved administrations on that basis.

 

But unlike any of the individual devolved administrations, the United Kingdom Parliament is elected by the whole UK, and the UK Government serves the whole UK.

 

That places on us a unique responsibility to preserve the integrity and future viability of the United Kingdom, which we will not shirk.

 

Global trading nation

 

And I believe that the opportunities which Brexit presents for all parts of the United Kingdom are real.

 

Take Scotch whisky, a truly great Scottish and British industry, adding £5 billion to the UK economy annually and now the largest net contributor to the UK's trade balance in goods.

 

It directly supports tens of thousands of jobs, from farmers in the Highlands to ceramics workers in Stoke.

 

After Brexit, its potential for growth in exports across the world is immense.

 

India, our Commonwealth partner, is one of the world's largest spirits markets.

 

But within the EU, Scotch whisky faces a tariff of 150% for selling to India.

 

And Scotch whisky, the world's preeminent spirit, has just a one per cent share of the Indian market.

 

I am determined that we should do better than that for our key industries.

 

That's why I led a major trade delegation to India last year, and why I was delighted to take the Scotch Whisky Association with me.

 

This underlines the potential which exists for Scottish business as the UK embarks of a new, global role and free trading nation – and it is an opportunity we should seize as one strong United Kingdom.

 

Conclusion

 

And it is in the interest of everyone in our country that we seize those opportunities and make a success of what lies ahead.

 

Because politics is not a game and government is not a platform from which to pursue constitutional obsessions.

 

It is about taking the serious decisions to improve people's lives.

 

A tunnel vision nationalism, which focuses only on independence at any cost, sells Scotland short.

 

As Unionists, our job is clear.

 

We know we are united together by a proud shared history, but we are also bound together by enduring common interests.

 

The United Kingdom we cherish is not a thing of the past, but a Union vital to our prosperity and security, today and in the future.

 

The Union I am determined to strengthen and sustain is one that works for working people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

 

A UK which everyone can feel secure in.

 

A Union in which our national and local identities are recognised and respected, but where our common bonds are strengthened.

 

Where difference and diversity are celebrated, but where those things we share are celebrated just as much.

 

Because at the heart of the United Kingdom is the unity of our people: a unity of interests, outlook and principles.

 

This transcend politics and institutions, the constitution and the economy.

 

It is about the values we share in our family of nations.

 

Our pooling and sharing of risks and resources, our social and economic solidarity.

 

That social union is the glue which holds us together.

 

We should never forget that the people who benefit the most from solidarity across the United Kingdom are not the strong and the successful, but the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society.

 

We are four nations, but at heart we are one people.

 

That solidarity is the essence of our United Kingdom and is the surest safeguard of its future.

 

Let us live up to that high ideal and let us never stop making loudly and clearly, the positive optimistic and passionate case for our precious union of nations and people."

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport launches W08 EQ Power +

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport launches W08 EQ Power Plus - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - 2017 challenger christened W08 EQ Power+, launched exclusively online to fans in innovative 360 degree live broadcast during 100 km Filming Day in Silverstone, UK. Premiere for EQ Power+, the technology label for all future Mercedes-AMG Hybrid models.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport launches W08 EQ Power+, looks ahead with excitement to 2017 challenge


2017 challenger christened W08 EQ Power+, launched exclusively online to fans in innovative 360 degree live broadcast during 100 km Filming Day in Silverstone, UK.

  • Premiere for EQ Power+, the technology label for all future Mercedes-AMG Hybrid models
  • New car livery includes electric blue visual signature to denote Hybrid powertrain
  • Toto Wolff: “Excitement is the dominant feeling in the team right now”
  • Lewis Hamilton: “It’s inspiring how everybody in the team is pushing harder than ever”
  • Valtteri Bottas: “I feel well prepared in such a short time – but the learning curve is still steep”

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport today took the first step on the road to the 2017 Formula One season with the official presentation of the new F1 W08 EQ Power+.

The new car was launched to the team’s fans from the Silverstone garages via a live 360-degree broadcast on Facebook, YouTube and the Team’s official website – reinforcing the “fan first” approach that has grown Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s social media community into the sport’s largest, at over 14 million people

The Launch was held as part of the Team’s official 100 km Filming Day, during which the F1 W08 EQ Power+ completed its first laps on Silverstone’s 2.96 km International Circuit, in the hands of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The all-new F1 W08 EQ Power+ has been designed to maximize the performance opportunities offered by radically different aerodynamic regulations for the 2017 season which will probably see the new cars become the quickest in the history of the sport – while leaving sufficient scope for an in-season development rate expected to be among the fastest ever in Formula One.

The M08 EQ Power+ is the fourth iteration of the Turbo Hybrid generation of Power Units and has been conceived to withstand significantly increased physical loads and a more severe duty cycle under the new rules, while also maximizing potential performance developments.

Upon unveiling the new car, Toto Wolff commented:

“The new rules for 2017 were designed to make the fastest F1 cars ever through a big increase in aerodynamic performance. They should be more physical to drive and hopefully more spectacular for the fans to watch. The proof will come in the opening races but we have probably achieved that target.

“Of course, in terms of relative performance, it’s clear that any rule change brings with it a big reset but also a big opportunity. This is the time to stay humble and keep our feet on the ground. None of the teams has raced under these rules and we all have the same points right now: zero.

“But the dominant feeling in the team right now is one of excitement – the factory is buzzing with anticipation. It has been a really motivating challenge to develop a brand new car concept and I have never seen our determination to succeed higher than it is right now.

“Of course, we had a curve ball from Nico late last year that left us scrambling a little bit in the winter. But we found a great solution with Valtteri and I am sure that he will form a strong partnership with Lewis. They have both been working hard in the factory with the technical teams and, although we have a different dynamic to manage than in recent seasons, I don’t expect the competition between them to be less intense. And that’s how we like it.

“This year, in-season development will play a big role in determining the championship outcome. None of us know where we will stand at the first race but I am confident that, whatever that position is, we have the people and the capability to deal with every challenge that comes our way. This will be the season where our full works team can show its true strength.”

What’s in a name?

Today’s launch is not just the premiere of a new car – it also marks the global debut of a new technology label throughout the model range of Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Benz.

At the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new product brand for electric mobility: EQ. The name EQ stands for “ Electric Intelligence” and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion and Intelligence”. EQ aims to make electric mobility simple, comfortable, safe and accessible for everybody.

From the forthcoming facelift of the S-Class, all future Mercedes-Benz Plug-In Hybrids will carry the designation “EQ Power”. And the launch of the F1 W08 EQ Power+ makes the new F1 car the first Mercedes-AMG Hybrid to receive the “EQ Power+”< /strong> designation, which will be used on all future Mercedes-AMG performance hybrids.

The new model designation has been translated graphically into the livery of the new W08, with an electric blue visual representation of the airflow across the car running from the front wing to trailing edge of the sidepods. This distinctive signature derives from the electro-look of the Concept EQ unveiled last year.

A complementary, competitive driver pairing

One of the most significant changes for the new season sees Valtteri Bottas become just the fourth Silver Arrows driver of the modern era in 2017. Next to him in the garage will be three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who comes to the new season refreshed and reinvigorated.

“It’s been a fantastic winter and an exciting training season for me,” explained Lewis of his preparations for the increased physical demands of 2017.

“I’ve added a new element to my training regime that has kept it really enjoyable and I’m in great shape. Then I’ve visited the factory and that has been super encouraging to see the way in which everybody is working.

“After all the success we have had, people could be sitting back and resting on their achievements. So it’s inspiring to see how everybody is pushing even harder than ever and taking nothing for granted at all.

“This is the most exciting period of the year when the car comes together – and my privilege as a driver is then to get to feel what it’s like and what all the team has worked for.

“There’s not too much point setting goals until we’ve really driven the car, so I’m going to go with the flow until we understand the possibilities.

“I’m feeling in a positive place with the team – we talked about a lot of stuff over the winter, I was able to get some things off my chest and now we are communicating better than ever and continuing to grow together.

“I’m the best equipped I have ever been to work with my team-mate and manage the relationship with my experience and maturity.

“I welcome Valtteri to the team and I know that the team will be giving us both everything they can to win the championship.”

New arrival Valtteri Bottas is equally excited at the prospect of the new season:

“It’s a new chapter in my career, a new team, new regulations… new everything!

“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this car out on track and, although this is just a Filming Day, I’m looking forward to starting to test properly next week in Barcelona and to really understand the car that we’ve been given by everybody in Brixworth and Brackley.

“It has been a busy winter for me since signing with Mercedes and we have tried to make the most of the time we have had.

“We’ve been going day by day, making the most of each one, spending  a lot of time in Brackley and going through as much stuff as possible with the engineers.

“I feel well prepared in such a short time but, of course, the learning curve is still steep and I’m getting more useful information every day. It’s up to us to make the most out of the time together.

“In terms of my physical preparation, I think I have done the most amount of training of any winter so far. I have done some good training camps and feel in the best shape I’ve ever been, definitely ready for the season ahead.

“Right now, it’s a very exciting feeling for me. I want to say a big thank you to everyone in our factories for getting this car ready to go. It’s been a massive effort and I’ve got a lot of respect for the shape we are in at the moment.

“But it’s only the first step – and this is where the work really begins.”

A brand new technical challenge

In Formula One, major regulation changes have usually been designed to limit performance and provide the technical teams with new constraints to work within. The new rules for 2017 opened up a new and exciting challenge – the freedom to explore a more generous set of regulations, coupled with the uncertainty of not knowing exactly where targets should be set, or what will represent a good result.

If last year’s W07 was all about refinement and elaborate, detailed evolution, the W08 project has gone back to first principles. With the car having to be designed before running the definitive 2017 tyres, and in some parts before the regulations had even been finalized, it was important to arrive quickly at a sound base architecture, while following a flexible, adaptable philosophy to allow scope for major developments during the season. With this in mind, only 17% of the components in W08 have been carried over from its predecessor, with the team’s main focus lying on optimizing the car within the new aerodynamic regulations.

This is also the first major regulation change to occur under the Aerodynamic Testing Regulations (ATR), which limit every team to the same maximum amount of wind tunnel testing – 65 runs per week. Given the extent of the regulation changes, the first W08 concept ran in the team’s 60% Brackley wind tunnel before the first race of last season and has completed over 2,000 runs during its development so far.

In addition to the new shapes of front and rear wing, the biggest areas of aerodynamic opportunity are the floor and the barge board area in front of the sidepods, which have been the focus of significant work. And while the performance opportunity has been significant, the design teams have also worked to improve the W08 structurally in order to withstand the substantial increases in aerodynamic and mechanical loads.

The Power Unit, christened M08, has also been comprehensively redesigned for the new season. Although the previous token system did not constrain power unit development since 2014, its abolition allows the technical group more freedom for engineering solutions.

As ever, much focus has been on the primary energy conversion opportunity – the combustion process – but there are also many opportunities for gains further downstream, including within the engine ancillaries. The new aerodynamic regulations have had a significant impact on the configuration of the engine which, as a structural component of the car, must cope with significantly greater physical loads. To maintain its structural properties, the engine is therefore slightly heavier than its predecessor.

In addition to this comes an increased duty cycle, with the cars expected to spend approximately 10% more of every lap at full throttle – a change that is reflected in a 5% increase in race fuel allowance for the new season. M08 has also been designed for increased durability, with only four Power Units per driver per season permitted by regulation in 2017.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Vice President of the United States of America, Michael Pence

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - Vice President US Michael Pence - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO headquarters) Joint press point With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Vice President of the United States of America, Michael Pence. (As delivered) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - So good afternoon, Vice President Pence, welcome to NATO headquarters.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg - 

So good afternoon, Vice President Pence, welcome to NATO headquarters. It is really a great honour and a great pleasure to have you here. Just a month after you took office and just a few days after your great speech in Munich. Where you so clearly declared the commitment and unwavering support of the US to the transatlantic bond. We welcome that because we see the strong commitment of the US to the transatlantic bond not only in words but also in deeds.

These days the US is deploying new forces, additional forces, to Europe which is of great importance for the security of Europe and which is demonstrates the strong transatlantic commitment of the US and we are very grateful for this commitment.

You also stressed that just as the US stood with Europe, Europe stood tall with the US. And we have to remember that the only time that the Alliance has invoked our NATO has invoked our collective defence clause, Article 5, our, was after an attack on the US. And this was more than just a gesture. Several hundred thousands of Canadian and European troops have served in Afghanistan. And more than a thousand paid the ultimate price.

The bond between the US and Europe, embodied in the NATO Alliance, is very important today, because we live in times of turmoil and instability and then we need a strong Alliance more than ever. And we are stronger when we stand together.

During our meeting we discussed our progress in the fight against terrorism. NATO continues to train security forces in Afghanistan. We have started to train security forces and officers in Iraq. And we support the US-led Coalition against ISIL with AWACS surveillance planes. But we agree that the Alliance can, and should do more, in the fight against terrorism.

We also agree on the importance of higher defence spending and fairer burden-sharing in NATO. This has been my top priority since I took office. Europeans cannot ask the United States to commit to Europe's defence if they are not willing to commit more themselves. And they are committing more. In 2016, after many years of cuts, we turned a corner. Defence spending increased across Europe and Canada by 3.8 percent in real terms, or ten billion US dollars more. But we still have a long way to go, so all Allies must speed up their efforts to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence. This will be an important point when Allied leaders meet here in Brussels in May.

So Mr Vice-President, thank you for our excellent discussion. We agree that NATO is the most successful Alliance in history because NATO has been able to adapt and change when the world is changing. And we agree that we must continue to change, to keep our people safe. US leadership remains indispensable. So I really look forward to working with you.

And to welcoming President Trump in Brussels in May.

     So please, you have the floor.


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary General.

It is a privilege to meet with you today to bring greetings on behalf of President Donald Trump and also to have the opportunity for a thorough and substantive discussion of the issues facing NATO and our historic alliance. 

It has been a busy weekend for me.  As I prepare to head back to the United States, I’m grateful.  I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to speak on Saturday about our shared security issues at the Munich Security Conference.  And I appreciate your encouraging words about the message of the United States at that conference.

And I also was pleased to be able to hold a series of productive bilateral meetings with leaders from all across the world. 

It was also deeply moving for me and my family to return to Dachau, the very first concentration camp, and to be accompanied by a survivor by the name of Abba Naor.  I had first visited that camp in 1977.  I wanted my daughter to see it.  And we went there and walked through that historic memorial. 

Abba told me that he arrived at Dachau as a 17-year-old boy.  He told me of the nightmarish existence that he experienced there.  But then he spoke words that resonate with our alliance.  He said:  “Then the Americans came.”

Those words touched my heart, and they speak volumes about the history and importance of the North Atlantic alliance and of NATO, more of which I’ll address momentarily.

But I thank you again for your hospitality in this historic place at this important time.

I was also grateful today to meet with the leadership of the European Union.  And on behalf of President Trump, I express the commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the EU.

While we have our differences on some issues, I reiterated this point in all of my meetings with the EU leadership and appreciated the cordial and substantive discussions that we had.

But on Saturday, as the Secretary General mentioned, at the Munich Security Conference, I brought a message from President Trump -- the message is the same one I bring to you today.

It is my privilege here at the NATO Headquarters to express the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our transatlantic alliance.

The United States has been a proud and faithful member of NATO since its founding in 1949.  This alliance plays a crucial role in promoting peace and prosperity in the North Atlantic and, frankly, in the entire world.

The United States’ commitment to NATO is clear.  As we speak, President Trump and our administration are developing plans to ensure that the strongest military in the world in the United States becomes stronger still.

Let me assure you, Mr. Secretary, that in the United States, we're about the process of strengthening our military and restoring the arsenal of democracy.  Working with members of Congress, we intend to increase military funding to make it possible for us to provide for the common defense for the people of the United States, but also meet the obligations that we have with our treaty allies, including in this historic treaty.

America -- therefore I can say with confidence:  America will do our part.  But Europe’s defense requires Europe’s commitment as much as ours.

At the Wales Summit in 2014, all 28 members of the NATO alliance declared their intention to move towards a minimum security investment of 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade.

As a candidate for office, President Trump actually called attention repeatedly to the fact that for too long, for too many, this burden has not been shared fairly among our NATO allies.  And that must come to an end.

At this moment, the United States and only four other NATO members meet this basic standard.  And while we commend the few nations that are on track and have met the obligation, the truth is that many others, including some of our largest allies, still lack a clear and credible path to meet this minimum goal.

So let me say again what I said this last weekend in Munich, the President of the United States and the American people expect our allies to keep their word and to do more in our common defense.  And the President expects real progress by the end of 2017.

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis said here in Belgium just a few short days ago, if you’re a nation that meets the 2 percent target, we need your help encouraging other nations to do likewise.  If you have a plan to get there, as he said, our alliance needs you to accelerate it.  And if you don’t yet have a plan, these are my words not his:  Get one.  It is time for actions, not words.

And let me thank specifically the Secretary General for your outspoken leadership on this issue.  As you and I discussed privately and you've discussed with the President, the world needs NATO’s strength and leadership now more than ever before.  And we are grateful, Mr. Secretary General, that you join us in calling for immediate and steady progress on all of our NATO allies’ commitment to our common defense.

The truth is the rise of adversaries new and old demands a strong response from this alliance.  In the east, NATO has embarked on improvement in its deterrent posture by stationing four combat-ready multinational battalions in Poland and the Baltic States.

And as I assured the Secretary General in our meeting today, in the wake of Russian efforts to redraw international borders by force, the United States will continue its leadership role in the Enhanced Forward Presence Initiative and other critical joint actions.

With regard to Ukraine, as I said before, our alliance will continue to hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk Agreements, beginning with de-escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.

For the sake of peace and for the sake of innocent human lives, we urge both sides to abide by the ceasefire that began today.  And we pray for peace in Ukraine.

Be assured, the United States, as well, will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which President Trump firmly believes can be found.

As I said in Munich, though, NATO’s continued leadership is also necessary in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism; this, another item that as a candidate for office, President Trump first raised.

As a candidate a year ago, he called on NATO to evolve by expanding counterterrorism operations.  And we're encouraged to see under your leadership NATO is in the process of doing just that.  It’s hard to speak of these issues in the abstract as I stand here in Brussels, just now almost a year ago that three horrific suicide bombings occurred, 33 innocent victims, including four Americans, hundreds more injured.  I just want to assure the people of Brussels and all the people of Europe that your pain is our pain, your loss our loss.  And it’s precisely why the President believes it’s essential that NATO continue on this new path of evolving and expanding its mission to be more effective in counterterrorism.

We will work tirelessly with our NATO allies to ensure security in our countries and yours.  But adapting to these new and ever-shifting challenges must remain a central focus of our collaboration and cooperation.  Our alliance needs to intensify efforts to cut off terrorist funding and increase cyber capabilities.  We must be -- as I said before, we must be as dominant in the digital world as we are in the physical world.  And the United States is committed to continuing to work with our NATO allies to achieve that objective for the security of all the nations in our alliance.

By building on tactics from the last century with these new century opportunities and challenges, NATO will be better prepared to confront and overcome the new adversaries of the 21st century.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States, I can assure you, is fully committed to NATO’s noble mission.  We are grateful for your leadership, Mr. Secretary General.  And I know the President looks forward to working closely with you to advance our shared objectives.  A strong NATO means a safer world.  And the United States of America looks forward to continuing to work with our partners in NATO to achieve just that.

So, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your hospitality and for your leadership.

© 2017 NATO.  -  © 2017  Daren Frankish

I was also grateful today to meet with the leadership of the European Union.  And on behalf of President Trump, I express the commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the EU.

While we have our differences on some issues, I reiterated this point in all of my meetings with the EU leadership and appreciated the cordial and substantive discussions that we had.

But on Saturday, as the Secretary General mentioned, at the Munich Security Conference, I brought a message from President Trump -- the message is the same one I bring to you today.

It is my privilege here at the NATO Headquarters to express the strong support of President Trump and the United States of America for NATO and our transatlantic alliance.

The United States has been a proud and faithful member of NATO since its founding in 1949.  This alliance plays a crucial role in promoting peace and prosperity in the North Atlantic and, frankly, in the entire world.

The United States’ commitment to NATO is clear.  As we speak, President Trump and our administration are developing plans to ensure that the strongest military in the world in the United States becomes stronger still.

Let me assure you, Mr. Secretary, that in the United States, we're about the process of strengthening our military and restoring the arsenal of democracy.  Working with members of Congress, we intend to increase military funding to make it possible for us to provide for the common defense for the people of the United States, but also meet the obligations that we have with our treaty allies, including in this historic treaty.

America -- therefore I can say with confidence:  America will do our part.  But Europe’s defense requires Europe’s commitment as much as ours.

At the Wales Summit in 2014, all 28 members of the NATO alliance declared their intention to move towards a minimum security investment of 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense within a decade.

As a candidate for office, President Trump actually called attention repeatedly to the fact that for too long, for too many, this burden has not been shared fairly among our NATO allies.  And that must come to an end.

At this moment, the United States and only four other NATO members meet this basic standard.  And while we commend the few nations that are on track and have met the obligation, the truth is that many others, including some of our largest allies, still lack a clear and credible path to meet this minimum goal.

So let me say again what I said this last weekend in Munich, the President of the United States and the American people expect our allies to keep their word and to do more in our common defense.  And the President expects real progress by the end of 2017.

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis said here in Belgium just a few short days ago, if you’re a nation that meets the 2 percent target, we need your help encouraging other nations to do likewise.  If you have a plan to get there, as he said, our alliance needs you to accelerate it.  And if you don’t yet have a plan, these are my words not his:  Get one.  It is time for actions, not words.

And let me thank specifically the Secretary General for your outspoken leadership on this issue.  As you and I discussed privately and you've discussed with the President, the world needs NATO’s strength and leadership now more than ever before.  And we are grateful, Mr. Secretary General, that you join us in calling for immediate and steady progress on all of our NATO allies’ commitment to our common defense.

The truth is the rise of adversaries new and old demands a strong response from this alliance.  In the east, NATO has embarked on improvement in its deterrent posture by stationing four combat-ready multinational battalions in Poland and the Baltic States.

And as I assured the Secretary General in our meeting today, in the wake of Russian efforts to redraw international borders by force, the United States will continue its leadership role in the Enhanced Forward Presence Initiative and other critical joint actions.

With regard to Ukraine, as I said before, our alliance will continue to hold Russia accountable and demand that they honor the Minsk Agreements, beginning with de-escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.

For the sake of peace and for the sake of innocent human lives, we urge both sides to abide by the ceasefire that began today.  And we pray for peace in Ukraine.

Be assured, the United States, as well, will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground, which President Trump firmly believes can be found.

As I said in Munich, though, NATO’s continued leadership is also necessary in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism; this, another item that as a candidate for office, President Trump first raised.

As a candidate a year ago, he called on NATO to evolve by expanding counterterrorism operations.  And we're encouraged to see under your leadership NATO is in the process of doing just that.  It’s hard to speak of these issues in the abstract as I stand here in Brussels, just now almost a year ago that three horrific suicide bombings occurred, 33 innocent victims, including four Americans, hundreds more injured.  I just want to assure the people of Brussels and all the people of Europe that your pain is our pain, your loss our loss.  And it’s precisely why the President believes it’s essential that NATO continue on this new path of evolving and expanding its mission to be more effective in counterterrorism.

We will work tirelessly with our NATO allies to ensure security in our countries and yours.  But adapting to these new and ever-shifting challenges must remain a central focus of our collaboration and cooperation.  Our alliance needs to intensify efforts to cut off terrorist funding and increase cyber capabilities.  We must be -- as I said before, we must be as dominant in the digital world as we are in the physical world.  And the United States is committed to continuing to work with our NATO allies to achieve that objective for the security of all the nations in our alliance.

By building on tactics from the last century with these new century opportunities and challenges, NATO will be better prepared to confront and overcome the new adversaries of the 21st century.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States, I can assure you, is fully committed to NATO’s noble mission.  We are grateful for your leadership, Mr. Secretary General.  And I know the President looks forward to working closely with you to advance our shared objectives.  A strong NATO means a safer world.  And the United States of America looks forward to continuing to work with our partners in NATO to achieve just that.

So, Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your hospitality and for your leadership.

© 2017 NATO.  -  © 2017  Daren Frankish

Goodyear EfficientGrip range takes podium with great ADAC summer tyre results - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

Goodyear EfficientGrip range takes podium with great ADAC summer tyre results - Daren Frankish - USPA News

                     National Museum of Scotland

The stunning new 2017 50’ Marauder

The stunning new 2017 50' Marauder - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

USPA NEWS - Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing teamed up again this year to continue to set new benchmarks and push the limits of performance by presenting the Cigarette Racing Team 50' Marauder AMG boat inspired by the breathtaking Mercedes-AMG GT R.

The stunning new 2017 50’ Marauder

Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing teamed up again this year to continue to set new benchmarks and push the limits of performance by presenting the Cigarette Racing Team 50’ Marauder AMG boat inspired by the breathtaking Mercedes-AMG GT R.

The two legendary performance brands are proud to celebrate 10 years of collaboration with this awe-inspiring new boat unveiled today at the Miami International Boat Show. From the intelligent lightweight construction to the wealth of innovations, the Mercedes-AMG GT R and the 2017 50’ Marauder AMG are true pioneers in their respective segments, perfectly exemplifying the Mercedes-AMG core philosophy to deliver high-performance.

 

Designed for high-speed and further improved dynamics, carbon-fibre was employed extensively in the design of the 2017 50’ Marauder AMG to help shed more than 1,300 pounds. In addition, the deck, cockpit and consoles were developed using advanced laminate analysis techniques and are all constructed from carbon-fibre with foam core. The engine hatch is also completely carbon fibre, employing vacuum infusion technology for its construction. The sporty cabin layout is race-style, and even the electrical system has taken weight savings into consideration to maximize performance.

"Performance, perfection and passion are the values that unite Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing. Based on these values, eight sensational special editions have been created during our successful ten years of collaboration, and the 2017 50’ Marauder AMG presented here is a particular highlight among these. The new Edition is thus a symbol for the ten-year partnership with Cigarette Racing as well as for Mercedes-AMG's 50th anniversary," says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes AMG GmbH.

“The 2017 50’ Marauder AMG is a particularly striking result of our continued collaboration with the Cigarette Racing Team, and a fitting tribute to honour 10 years of working together,” said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Daimler AG. “ One racing icon has inspired another, and we are proud to continue to set the benchmark and seamlessly combine design and performance both on land and on the sea.”

 

From the very beginning we were confident that Mercedes-AMG would be the perfect partner as our companies both take great pride in our triumphant racing heritage and maintain a steadfast focus on pushing the limits of performance,” said Skip Braver, CEO of Cigarette Racing. “It is now an extremely proud moment to celebrate 10 years of working together and demonstrate the strength of our collaboration with Mercedes-AMG by unveiling our most impressive high performance boat yet.”

The Cigarette Racing Team 2017 50’ Marauder AMG is powered by a pair of Mercury Racing 1550/1350 QC4v (Quad Cam 4 Valve) engines and M8 stern drives, delivering up to 3,100 hp. These sophisticated powerplants are dual calibration engines, which enable the operator to switch engine power levels through an electronic key fob. The Race Key fob unlocks up to 1550 hp, requiring race fuel. The Pleasure key fob is used for operating at 1,350 hp with 91 octane fuel.


Stylistically, the Cigarette Racing Team enlisted Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Daimler AG, to design the paint and detailing. The interior seat inserts were crafted by the AMG Performance Studio with a unique and striking geometric patterning. To mark Mercedes-AMG’s 50th anniversary and commemorate the 10 year partnership with the Cigarette Racing Team, a special logo has been developed that is prominently displayed on the bow of the vessel.

The distinctive Green Hell Magno paint details on the boat create an instant connection to the Mercedes-AMG GT R and the infamous “North Loop” of the Nurburgring racetrack where the GT R achieved an awe-inspiring 7:10.92 lap time. Never before has Mercedes-AMG packed so much motorsport technology into a production vehicle.The front-mid-engine concept with a transaxle, handcrafted AMG 4.0l V8 biturbo engine rated at 577 hp, extensively modified suspension, new aerodynamics and intelligent lightweight construction laid the foundation for an especially dynamic driving experience.

In addition, the unmistakable AMG Panamericana grille celebrated its standard-production premiere in the Mercedes-AMG GT R, with its 15 chrome-plated vertical fins inspired by the look of the new AMG GT3 race car and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that won the legendary Panamericana Mexican road race in 1952. Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing began their collaboration partnership in 2007, primarily for organizing joint customer and marketing activities. Whether on land or water, Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing are united by their focus on delivering the ultimate in performance.

Similar to its Mercedes-AMG super sports counterpart, the 38’ to 50’ long powerboats from the American specialists are among the world's fastest and most exclusive machines. These boats feature custom-made, handcrafted quality for enthusiasts and are tested under the most extreme conditions. Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing share similar DNA makeups: both companies have triumphant racing roots and are still dedicated to this passion.

The price of this one-of-a-kind boat from the Cigarette Racing Team is available upon request. For additional information on Cigarette Racing, please visit www.cigaretteracing.com

 

The Miami International Boat Show is open to the public from February 16-20, 2017 at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin.

© 2017 Daimler AG.  -  © 2017  Daren Frankish

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - European Parliament

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - Daren Frankish - United States Press Agency News (USPA News)

Politics USPA NEWS - "Ceta is not only about commerce, imports and exports, about profits. It aims to improve people's lives," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, one day after the the European Parliament approved the EU-Canada trade agreement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau European Parliament

"Ceta is not only about commerce, imports and exports, about profits. It aims to improve people's lives," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, one day after the the European Parliament approved the EU-Canada trade agreement.

 

Welcoming Trudeau, Parliament President Antonio Tajani said:  “Canada and Europe share common languages, a history of friendship and a common vision for the future. We share the same vision of an open world and of the need to work together to give concrete answers to the problems of our citizens."

 

Trudeau's speech in the Parliament, the first one ever by a Canadian Prime Minster, took place one day after MEPs backed Ceta.

 

“Trade needs to work for people,” said Trudeau, addressing concerns that international trade agreements would mainly benefit multinationals and could affect people´s jobs. “We live in a time when many people are worried that the current system only benefits society’s luckiest few. And their concern is valid,” he said. “This anxiety towards the economy and trade can be addressed only if we ensure that trade is inclusive so that everyone benefits. And Ceta delivers just that."

Ceta

 

Trudeau highlighted the opportunities that Ceta could create:  "It’s a complete action plan to ensure economic and responsible cooperation between countries."

 

He said Ceta would make commerce and job creation easier and would also ensure that governments would still be able to protect their citizens, the environment and food safety and good practices in investment..

 

“With Ceta, together we have built something. Something important. Especially at this moment, on your continent and mine”, he said. “If we are successful, Ceta will become the blueprint for all ambitious, future trade deals. If we are not, this could very well be one of the last."

 

EU- Canada relations

 

The Canadian Prime Minister praised the relationship between his country and the EU as "a natural, easy relationship grounded in what we have in common” and said: “In these times, we must choose to lead the international economy, not simply be subject to its whims."

 

A strong EU

 

Trudeau also singled out the EU as a model. "The European Union is a truly remarkable achievement, and an unprecedented model for peaceful cooperation," he said: "You are a vital player in addressing the challenges that we collectively face as an international community. Indeed, the whole world benefits from a strong EU."

© 2017 European Parliament.  -  © 2017  Daren Frankish

The new Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

A G-Class like never before: With the G 650 Landaulet*, Mercedes‑Maybach presents a new masterpiece of automotive engineering. After the Mercedes-Maybach S‑Class and the S 650 Cabriolet, the open-top G‑Class is the first off-roader from the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand. The exceptional G 650 Landaulet follows the equally spectacular variants AMG G 63 6x6 and G 500 4x42. With its superlative V12 engine, portal axles, electric fabric top and exclusive equipment specification in the rear compartment, this very special all-terrain vehicle, which is limited to 99 units, meets the expectations of customers who demand the very highest standards of their vehicle. The Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet is surely the most exclusive form of stylish open-top motoring.

The history of the G-Class is rich in superlatives and landmarks. With the new Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, the off-road icon demonstrates that the definition of unique luxury can always be taken to a new level. Not only that: the cult vehicle among off-roaders is forever reinventing itself and providing yet more evidence of the potential that still resides in this classic all-terrain vehicle today, which has been in production since 1979.

"The name Maybach dates back to the beginnings of the automobile. It stands for supreme luxury with tradition, combined with high-tech. In 2015, we took the logical step of opening a new chapter in the luxury class with our Mercedes‑Maybach sub-brand. Since then, over 15,000 Mercedes-Maybachs have been produced. Hence, one in every ten vehicles sold in the S‑Class segment was a Mercedes-Maybach. With the Mercedes-Maybach G‑Class Landaulet, we are now extending the Mercedes-Maybach portfolio to include the world's most iconic and prestigious off-roader.

With the fifth model after the S‑Class Saloon, Pullman and Cabriolet as well as the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 show car, we are underlining the importance of the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand for the Mercedes brand family," says Dr Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars.

With a length of 5345 millimetres, a wheelbase of 3428 millimetres, a height of 2235 millimetres, almost half a metre of ground clearance and ample space and comfort for four passengers, the G 650 Landaulet surpasses all standards. This extrovert G‑Class thus represents a unique combination of luxurious chauffeur saloon and off-roader. While the driver and front passenger are accommodated under the closed roof, the rear passengers can revel in a maximum of comfort: at the press of a button, a large folding top opens electrically to offer a view of the blue sky. The rear passengers enjoy the majestic open-air experience from their single seats. On demand, an electrically operated glass partition separates the rear compartment from the driver's section. In addition, the glass can be changed from transparent to opaque at the press of a button.

First-class rear seats with calf rest and fully reclined position

Thanks to the 578 millimetre longer wheelbase, the passengers in the Mercedes‑Maybach G 650 Landaulet benefit from extensive freedom of movement. The first-class rear seats from the S‑Class significantly enhance the seating comfort and spaciousness: the electrically multi-adjustable individual seats can be conveniently set to a fully reclined position. The active multicontour seats with ENERGIZING massage function have inflatable air chambers to provide high seating comfort and excellent lateral support. Massage programs make for enhanced well-being – according to the principle of a relaxing hot-stone massage, including with heat. The rear seating concept is augmented by a calf rest, which is freely adjustable in length and swivel range.

The other appointments of the G 650 Landaulet also leave nothing to be desired. To afford the rear passengers the optimum in comfort, there is a large business console with thermal cup holders between the individual seats. These allow beverages to be cooled or heated over a lengthy period of time. The controls for opening or closing the glass partition are integrated behind the cup holders. Similarly to an aircraft seat, the centre console comes with two tables, which can be easily folded in or out with one hand. The table tops have leather inserts to provide a comfortable writing surface or to allow the use of tablets and notebooks.

Individual Entertainment System with two monitors in the rear

Positioned in front of the cup holders is a control for the rear air conditioning. Further forward is a "G cockpit" in the style of the driver's instrument panel. The centre console houses the three distinctive, centrally placed pushbutton switches. These switches are not used to operate the three differential locks, however: one switch is for the interior lighting, while the other two are used to open and close the soft top. The rear "G cockpit" also includes two glove compartments as well as grab handles typical of the G‑Class. The cross-member, which also holds the glass partition, accommodates two 25.4 cm (10‑inch) high-resolution media displays of the Individual Entertainment System.

Two-tone designo upholstery in four trim colours

The luxurious, exquisite character of the Landaulet is emphasised by the high-grade designo upholstery with diamond stitching, which is in all cases two-tone and available in four trim colours. Customers can choose between three different matching colours for the fabric top as well as four attractive designo paint finishes, including a matt finish. "V12 BITURBO" lettering on the front wings points to the ultimate in motive power, the 12‑c ylinder engine. The radiator grille features a chrome-plated double louvre and a chrome-plated screen.

Exclusive "LANDAULET" lettering is worked into the rim flanges of the ceramically polished, 55.9 cm (22‑inch) 5‑twin-spoke light-alloy wheels. Electrically extending entry aids make for easier access to the vehicle. Other exclusive exterior design features include front and rear underride guards, large wheel-arch flares in genuine carbon fibre as well as, mounted on the right at the rear, the spare wheel with integral holder for the third brake light.

Portal axles and 325/55 R 22 tyres

As is customary with the off-road icon, the "G" is forever breaking new ground: unlike previous Landaulets, which were based on prestigious saloons, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet also has what it takes to deliver an unforgettable off-road experience. Familiar from the AMG G 63 6x6 and G 500 4x42, the portal axles provide ample ground clearance of 450 millimetres, allowing the open-top all-terrain vehicle to overcome even extreme obstacles in masterly fashion. In contrast to a conventional rigid axle, the wheels are not at the height of the axle centre, but are instead situated much further down on the axle heads owing to the portal transmission.

Tyres of size 325/55 R 22 form the ideal basis for perfect handling both on- and off-road. Of course, the latest "G" also features the typical 100‑percent differential locks, which can be engaged while on the move, as well as the low off-road ratio of the transfer case. The combination of this 4WD technology, unique in the off-road segment, makes the G 650 Landaulet stand out from all other 4x4 vehicles.

High drive comfort comes courtesy of the most powerful available engine, the Mercedes-AMG V12 biturbo, which delivers a maximum output of 463 kW (630 hp) with a peak torque of 1000 Newton-metres.

Over 100 years of famous Landaulets from Stuttgart

Landaulet vehicles have a long tradition at the Stuttgart-based car maker. This special class of vehicle included the Benz 25/45 PS of 1910. Other famous examples of this exclusive genre are the Mercedes-Benz 300 d Landaulet (from 1960), the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet (from 1964) and the Maybach Landaulet (from 2008).

Limited to 99 units, market premiere in autumn 2017

Like all other variants of the G-Class, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, too, will be produced by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. The open-top four-seater will celebrate its world premiere and sales release at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017. The market launch of the special series, which will be limited to 99 units, will start in the autumn.

© 2017 Daimler AG.  -  © 2017  Daren Frankish
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