Lewis Hamilton raised the prospect of challenging Max Verstappen for pole position at the United States Grand Prix after he finished third in practice.

Hamilton trailed Verstappen by 0.281 seconds in the sole running before qualifying later on Friday with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc splitting the rivals.

But the seven-time world champion, in his upgraded Mercedes, clocked the fastest first and second sectors before hitting traffic in the final part of his speediest lap at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.

Verstappen claimed his third world title in as many years at the previous round in Qatar.

But Hamilton’s early pace at a track where he has enjoyed so much success over the years suggests he might be able to give the Dutchman a run for his money in qualifying for Sunday’s 56-lap race.

Leclerc could also be a contender in the Lone Star State after he finished just 0.156 sec behind Verstappen.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez took fourth spot, three tenths back, a place ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen with George Russell sixth for Mercedes.

Oscar Piastri survived a hairy moment when he temporarily lost control of his McLaren through Turn 8.

The Australian rookie, who won the sprint race in Lusail a fortnight ago, looked destined for the barriers after he ran on to the grass at high speed.

Piastri wiggled one way to the next but managed to catch his out-of-control machine to avoid a big shunt. He sustained minor damage to the floor of his McLaren in the accident and finished only 19th.

Lance Stroll was rooted to the foot of the time charts after he completed just five laps following a brake failure on his Aston Martin.

Qualifying takes place at 4pm local time (10pm BST).

Lewis Hamilton said Formula One must not become “too soft” and challenged his fellow drivers to embrace pain amid a safety backlash following the last round in Qatar.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell branded the race a fortnight ago “beyond the limit of what is acceptable” as temperatures in the drivers’ cockpits exceeded 50 degrees.

Canadian Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity in Lusail.

London-born driver Alex Albon was treated for acute heat exposure, while his rookie Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant was forced to park his car through illness. Alpine’s French driver Esteban Ocon also vomited during the race.

Following a series of complaints, F1’s governing body, the FIA, launched a review and said it noted with “concern” the impact the race had on the “well-being” of those who took part.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Texas, Hamilton, 38, said: “This is an extreme sport and you don’t have marathon runners who pass out after a marathon saying the event should be shorter.

“We get paid very highly for what we do, and, from my perspective, when I have not been feeling great at the end of a race I just train harder.

“So I don’t want them to shorten the races and make it easier for us. I want it to be extreme. I want to feel the difference. I want to feel pain in my body. That’s what this is about. We have got to be careful with the changes we make. It’s like, ‘let’s not get too soft’.”

Hamilton’s participation in Qatar lasted a handful of seconds following his race-ending collision with Russell at the opening bend.

But the seven-time world champion, second only to Fernando Alonso, 42, in terms of age and experience on the current grid, believes the conditions in Malaysia – last seen on the calendar in 2017 – were more challenging than those in Qatar.

He continued: “Obviously I didn’t do the race, so I didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I have been here a long time. And Malaysia was much hotter.

“If I was in the race in Qatar, of course I would have struggled to get out afterwards. But I know what it’s like to lose four or more kilos and barely being able to stand. I love that.

“That’s what makes it closer to what it was like back in the day. We are supposed to be elite athletes and to be elite, you need to be pushing to the limit.”

The drivers are set for another challenging weekend with record-breaking temperatures of more than 30 degrees anticipated in Austin.

Qualifying for Sunday’s 56-lap race at the Circuit of the Americas takes place at 4pm local time (10pm BST) on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton said Formula One must not become “too soft” and challenged his fellow drivers to embrace pain amid a safety backlash following the last round in Qatar.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russell branded the race a fortnight ago “beyond the limit of what is acceptable” as temperatures in the drivers’ cockpits exceeded 50 degrees.

Canadian Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity in Lusail.

London-born driver Alex Albon was treated for acute heat exposure, while his rookie Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant was forced to park his car through illness. Alpine’s French driver Esteban Ocon also vomited during the race.

Following a series of complaints, F1’s governing body, the FIA, launched a review and said it noted with “concern” the impact the race had on the “well-being” of those who took part.

But speaking ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Texas, Hamilton, 38, said: “This is an extreme sport and you don’t have marathon runners who pass out after a marathon saying the event should be shorter.

“We get paid very highly for what we do, and, from my perspective, when I have not been feeling great at the end of a race I just train harder.

“So I don’t want them to shorten the races and make it easier for us. I want it to be extreme. I want to feel the difference. I want to feel pain in my body. That’s what this is about. We have got to be careful with the changes we make. It’s like, ‘let’s not get too soft’.”

Hamilton’s participation in Qatar lasted a handful of seconds following his race-ending collision with Russell at the opening bend.

But the seven-time world champion, second only to Fernando Alonso, 42, in terms of age and experience on the current grid, believes the conditions in Malaysia – last seen on the calendar in 2017 – were more challenging than those in Qatar.

He continued: “Obviously I didn’t do the race, so I didn’t get to feel the pain that the drivers felt. But I have been here a long time. And Malaysia was much hotter.

“If I was in the race in Qatar, of course I would have struggled to get out afterwards. But I know what it’s like to lose four or more kilos and barely being able to stand. I love that.

“That’s what makes it closer to what it was like back in the day. We are supposed to be elite athletes and to be elite, you need to be pushing to the limit.”

The drivers are set for another challenging weekend with record-breaking temperatures of more than 30 degrees anticipated in Austin.

Qualifying for Sunday’s 56-lap race at the Circuit of the Americas takes place at 4pm local time (10pm BST) on Friday.

Lewis Hamilton and his fellow Formula One drivers could be fined up to one million euros following a dramatic change to the sport’s rulebook.

Ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, F1’s governing body announced it has increased the maximum sanction that stewards can impose on a driver from 250,000 euros (£218,000) to 871,500 euros (£760,000).

The FIA said the amount had been static for the last 12 years and “does not reflect the current needs of motor sports”.

But their decision was met with surprise by the grid’s drivers. Daniel Ricciardo, back in action after missing five races with a broken hand, calling it “scary”, and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen branding the move “ridiculous”.

Hamilton, who next season will start a new £100million two-year deal with Mercedes, said: “If they are going to fine us one million euros, let’s makes sure that 100 per cent of that goes to a cause.

“There is a lot of money in this industry and there is a lot more that we need to do to increase diversity, improve access and create more opportunities for people who don’t have an opportunity to get into a sport like this.

“That is the only way they will get that money from me.”

Hamilton also accused the FIA of “poor communication” following the governing body questioning his status as “a role model” after he walked across the track at the previous round in Qatar.

Hamilton, 38, was fined £43,350 – half of which is suspended for the remainder of the season – in the hours after the race on October 8 in which he crossed the circuit following a first-corner crash with Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

But seven days after the incident in Lusail, and in a largely unprecedented move, the FIA said Hamilton’s actions are under review.

A spokesperson for the governing body said: “In view of Lewis Hamilton’s role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”

It is understood that the FIA plan to meet with the seven-time world champion here in Austin.

It is unlikely Hamilton will face additional penalties – with the FIA opting against taking the case to the International Court of Appeal to increase his fine – but harsher punishments could be handed out in the future for a similar infringement.

“I don’t think I was singled out,” added Hamilton. “Ultimately, it was just poor communication. I don’t think what they said is what they meant.

“They are looking into how they can tackle these things going forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“There was a karting incident where a kid was hit when he walked on to the track so we need to make sure we focus on safety and that was the root of it. But they need to speak to their PR agent to do a better job.

“Their actual point is important. When I sat in the stewards’ office I put my hands up and acknowledged that in the heat of the moment it was the wrong decision. I apologised at the time.”

Daniel Ricciardo is “ready to go” as he prepares to return from injury for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Australian has missed the past five races after he broke his left hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25.

Ricciardo, who took part in a Red Bull demonstration run in Nashville last weekend, will be back in his AlphaTauri cockpit for practice at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Friday.

New Zealander Liam Lawson, who has impressed as Ricciardo’s stand-in, will make way.

He said: “It’s good to be back! My hand is much better and the simulator was a useful way of assessing it.

“I tried it out in the week before Qatar, but I didn’t feel it was at full potential, so I spent the rest of that week in the UK, spending more time in the sim, and got to a point where I felt ready to go.

“My overall fitness is fine as I kept training as much as I could, although I obviously couldn’t do much with my left hand or arm for a while.

“It was definitely frustrating watching the past few races, especially as I’d gotten myself to a place where I was so ready to go again and race, and then I did two events and had to hit pause again, but actually, the time without racing went quite quickly.”

 

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Ricciardo was due to take part in only his third comeback race when he crashed in Zandvoort. He was immediately taken to the medical centre before he was transported to a nearby hospital with his left arm in a sling.

A subsequent X-ray confirmed Ricciardo had sustained a break to the metacarpal on his left hand.

Ricciardo was ruled out of the race in Holland and the following rounds in Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

Ricciardo was handed a second chance by Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri following his dismissal by McLaren at the end of last season.

Despite his injury, AlphaTauri announced last month that they have retained the eight-time grand prix winner winner for 2024 alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Daniel Ricciardo will return from injury for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Australian has missed the past five races after he broke his left hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix on August 25.

However, the PA news agency has been told that Ricciardo, who took part in a Red Bull demonstration run in Nashville last weekend, will be back in his AlphaTauri cockpit for practice at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Friday.

New Zealander Liam Lawson, who has impressed as Ricciardo’s stand-in, will make way.

Ricciardo was due to take part in only his third comeback race when he crashed in Zandvoort.

He was immediately taken to the medical centre before he was transported to a nearby hospital with his left arm in a sling.

A subsequent X-ray confirmed Ricciardo had sustained a break to the metacarpal on his left hand.

Ricciardo was ruled out of the race in Holland and the following rounds in Italy, Singapore, Japan and Qatar.

Ricciardo was handed a second chance by Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri following his dismissal by McLaren at the end of last season.

Despite his injury, AlphaTauri announced last month that they have retained the eight-time grand prix winner winner for 2024 alongside Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.

Jenson Button won the Formula One world title on this day in 2009 after a fifth-place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

A combination of brilliant driving and dramatic incidents saw the Brawn GP driver elevated into fifth spot at Interlagos, while rivals Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello finished fourth and eighth, respectively.

That left Button with a 15-point cushion over Vettel, with Barrichello two points further back with just one race remaining.

He became the 10th British driver to win the top prize in motor racing, inheriting the crown from compatriot Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion.

The 29-year-old Button may not have wrapped it up in the way he would have liked, having won six of the first seven races of the season, but his Brawn team also claimed the constructors’ title just over 10 months after they appeared to be on the scrapheap when Honda pulled out of the sport.

The tears and the champagne flowed at the end of 71 laps, with Button’s father John admitting he and his son “cried like babies” when they
embraced each other after the race.

“You don’t win the world championship and feel relief, you feel ecstatic,” Jenson Button said.

“All the memories, good and bad, go through your mind, not just from this year, but previous years in the sport, especially this year.

“I had such a great start to the season and then the last few races were pretty stressful for me because the pace was there, but we struggled a few times.

“This team has done staggeringly well and what we’ve achieved this season after the winter we’ve had is exceptional, and I don’t think there has been a season like it in Formula One.

“It’s great to be sat here as world champion and I personally think I thoroughly deserve it. I’ve been the best over 16 races and that’s what world titles are all about.”

Button completed the 2009 season with a third-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks later, finishing 11 points clear of Vettel.

He moved to McLaren the following season and was runner-up to Vettel in the 2011 title race. He retired from F1 in 2017.

Mario Andretti has come to the defence of Sergio Perez, claiming that the Mexican is "very valuable" to Formula One champions Red Bull.

Despite being in the best car on the grid, Perez has struggled since last tasting victory at the Azerbaijani Grand Prix back in April.

While his team-mate Max Verstappen was crowned champion for a third successive year after the Qatar Grand Prix, Perez fell to a disappointing tenth-placed finish.

It continued his recent run of poor performances following a mistake-laden performance in Japan – in which he ultimately failed to finish – and an eighth-place finish in Singapore the week prior. 

Perez's contract with Red Bull runs until the end of the next season, but a host of other drivers have been linked with the seat to partner Verstappen.

However, the 1978 drivers' champion Andretti believes Perez still has the ability to partner the Dutch driver moving forward.

"He has shown moments of brilliance, there are times when Max had some issues, and he picked up the ball and ran with it, and he won some great races," he told Stats Perform.

"We've seen his speciality in street races, for instance. So he brings something very valuable to the table. 

"And I think, to me, from where I stand, as a driver, that's a perfect team. Actually, they don't get into each other's way."

Perez has admitted to being frustrated by his own performances, particularly after his display in Japan, and Andretti believes the 33-year-old needs to look inward and make the necessary adjustments to get back to his best.

"There may be setups or something not totally to his liking," he added. 

"But it's a matter of adjusting, for every driver, that's the whole trick, to be able to adjust and compensate for some of the things that don't always go your way."

While Perez and Verstappen have combined to retain the constructors' championship, the latter has emerged as the clear star and number one driver in the Red Bull team.

Other teams have opted not to keep both drivers on an equal footing, but Andretti is unsure if such a system breeds the “optimal” environment for success. 

"There are teams that have got two number ones, and that's fine. I don't know if that's the optimal situation. But nevertheless, that's the way it goes, nothing is defined," he ended.

"They should give equal attention, equal commitment and everything is equal opportunity. But it's really up to the individual to earn the position of number one."

Formula One team Alpine Racing have announced more investors from a range of sports including golfer Rory McIlroy, heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua as well as footballers Trent Alexander-Arnold and Juan Mata.

Kansas City Chiefs players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are also part of the 200 million euro (£173m) strategic investment led by consortium Otro Capital in the French team, which is backed by the parent company Renault.

The latest move follows on from Wrexham co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney expanding their sporting portfolio by also investing in Alpine for a 24 per cent stake of the team, which is currently sixth in the 2023 F1 constructors’ championship.

McIlroy, who helped Europe win the Ryder Cup in Rome last month, said: “Passion for excellence on the golf course has led me to admire the same pursuit in Formula 1.

“Partnering with Otro Capital in Alpine F1 is an exhilarating venture that unites my love for sports, competition, and the relentless drive to be the best.”

Former heavyweight world champion Joshua felt the opportunity was one he could not ignore.

“The heritage of the team, mixed with the global growth of Formula 1 as a sport and brand made this a very serious proposition,” Joshua said.

“I am excited to start this journey with Otro and a great group of fellow investors and hope to help the team achieve its full potential.”

Liverpool and England defender Alexander-Arnold joins the investor group alongside his brother Tyler.

“Our shared goal as an investment group is to help contribute to its continued success on the grid, at a time when F1 is facing incredible growth as a sport,” he said.

Alec Scheiner of Otro Capital added: “We are honoured to be joined by this particular group of investors.

“These are best in class investors, athletes, entertainers and entrepreneurs and they are all committed to elevating the Alpine F1 team.”

Ferrari have the capability to threaten Red Bull's recent dominance in Formula One, so says 1978 champion Mario Andretti.

Red Bull secured their second successive constructors' championship last month, with their number one driver Max Verstappen cruising to his third successive title at the Qatar Grand Prix shortly after.

Despite the poor form of Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez's, Red Bull have still accrued more than double the amount of points of the second-place team, Mercedes.

However, tentative signs in recent weeks have begun to hint at a long-awaited shift away from Red Bull’s dominance.

In Singapore, both Verstappen and Perez struggled - finishing fifth and eighth respectively - as Ferrari's Carlos Sainz claimed victory.

Ferrari were tipped to be serious title challengers this year and, despite their poor start to the season, Andretti is encouraged by their performances as of late.

"Well, they've shown the capability," he told Stats Perform. "There were two successive races where they were on pole, and then the one where Max Verstappen had some issues which they won. 

"So, they're there and can cause some issues for Red Bull. You're seeing Ferrari and McLaren also annoying Red Bull quite a bit. And that's the interesting part as well."

McLaren have been the surprise package in the second half of the F1 season, having struggled with their car earlier in the year.

The British team have bounced back superbly, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both finishing on the podium in back-to-back races in Japan and Qatar and Andretti believes the future is bright for the young duo.

"It's been really interesting to watch how much McLaren has really improved in every way," he said.

"Obviously, they've given their drivers the equipment and the improvements that they needed to be competitive. 

"They've been right there, annoying the very top and Red Bull quite a bit. Two young drivers, one being a total rookie. There's a future there and no question, something to be built on. 

"Lando has shown that he is capable and between the two of them, it seems like they really get along very well. There seems to be a lot of harmony within the team."

McLaren's rapid rise has seen them put daylight between themselves and rivals Alpine this season.

Alpine pipped the British team to fourth in the team standings last season but have endured a disappointing season in 2023, with drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly only able to secure one podium each so far this year.

They sit sixth in the standings and a considerable 129 points behind McLaren with six races remaining, but Andretti believes the team will soon rediscover their winning formula.

"You never know why some teams all of a sudden they fall behind; there are many reasons for that," he said.

"I wish you could say 'do this and that, and you'll be right back where you were, or even better', but there's always a reason somewhere.

"That's nothing unusual in this sport. And sometimes the team just have to reboot, but their competitive capability is there. No question. They've shown that before."

Lewis Hamilton can bounce back from a difficult three years to win a record-breaking eighth Formula One drivers' championship, eclipsing Michael Schumacher's achievements.

That is the view of 1978 champion Mario Andretti, who does not believe Hamilton has made a mistake by committing his future to Mercedes.

Hamilton equalled Schumacher's record haul of seven world titles in 2020, but he has failed to surpass the German great amid three years of dominance from Max Verstappen.

Having edged out Hamilton for the 2021 title in controversial circumstances, Verstappen has dominated the last two seasons while his rival has struggled. 

Verstappen clinched his third straight title with six races to spare by finishing second in the sprint race in Qatar last Saturday, and the Dutchman followed that up with another triumph on Sunday – his 14th victory in 17 Grands Prix this year.

While Verstappen holds an unassailable lead over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the drivers' standings, Hamilton has found himself battling Fernando Alonso for a top-three finish, having ranked sixth last year.

Despite rumours linking him with Ferrari, Hamilton extended his contract with Mercedes until 2025 in August, and Andretti believes the 38-year-old made the correct decision. 

Asked if Hamilton needed to move to boost his chances of winning another title, Andretti told Stats Perform: "Why would he go anywhere else? 

"With Mercedes, that is probably the best possibility to resume his winning ways and win another title. No question. He's young enough. 

"He certainly still has the desire to be at the top. After being a multi-time world champion, you don't lose that ability.

"Right now, he equalled a record that I thought would never be approached, not in my lifetime anyway. He's still young enough that he could go for the eighth title. 

"It's going to take a long time for anyone to reach that and surpass that. So yeah, he's definitely one of the greats, for sure, deservedly so."

Hamilton sits 11 points clear of old rival Alonso in the standings ahead of next week's United States Grand Prix, with the Spaniard enjoying a resurgence since leaving Alpine for Aston Martin ahead of the 2023 season.

Having won four IndyCar championships during his own career, Andretti has a particular admiration for Alonso, who himself competed in the IndyCar Series during a two-year stint out of F1.

"Oh, Fernando is timeless," Andretti said. "I just love to see how much energy he still has and how much desire is still within him. 

"After taking a sabbatical from Formula One, I thought, 'I don't know, he'd better be careful about coming back'. Here he is, coming back as strong as ever. 

"I think he brought Aston Martin to a level that they almost did not expect. They certainly are giving him equipment which is capable, but he's taking it there.

"Fernando's legacy is that of a very ambitious driver, to try to conquer different disciplines. He ventured into IndyCar at Indianapolis. I respect somebody like that. 

"That's pure love for driving and the sport, to be curious like that, not just to drive, but to try to win in a category that's not your speciality."

Lewis Hamilton is facing a second investigation by Formula One’s governing body for walking across the track at last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.

Hamilton, 38, was fined £43,350 – half of which is suspended for the remainder of the season – in the hours after the race in which he crossed the circuit following a first-corner crash with Mercedes team-mate George Russell.

But seven days on from the incident in Lusail, and in a largely unprecedented move, the FIA has said Hamilton’s actions are again under review.

A spokesperson for the governing body said on Sunday: “The FIA is revisiting the incident in which Lewis Hamilton crossed a live track during the Qatar Grand Prix.

“The FIA notes that Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent stewards’ hearing into the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach.

“However, in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”

Following the original investigation, in which Hamilton was also reprimanded, the stewards noted that “crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it.”

It is thought that under the FIA’s rules, it is unlikely Hamilton will face additional penalties. But it is possible harsher punishments could be handed out in the future for a similar infringement.

Hamilton will be back in action at next weekend’s US Grand Prix in Austin.

Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been spared jail after admitting fraudulently failing to declare more than £400million held in a trust in Singapore to the Government.

The court heard the 92-year-old has agreed a civil settlement of £652,634,836 in respect of sums due to HMRC over the course of 18 years.

At Southwark Crown Court on Thursday, Ecclestone was handed a 17-month jail term, suspended for two years.

His defence barrister, Christine Montgomery KC, told sentencing judge Mr Justice Bryan that the defendant “bitterly regrets the events that led to this criminal trial”.

Sentencing Ecclestone, who heard the judge’s remarks from the dock, Mr Justice Bryan said: “Your offending is so serious that neither a fine nor a community order would be appropriate.

“It is rightly acknowledged that the custody threshold has been passed.”

However, he said that he had taken into consideration a number of mitigating factors, including Ecclestone’s health, age, and that he has no previous criminal convictions.

The former racing driver said “I plead guilty” while standing in the well of the court on Thursday wearing a dark suit and grey tie.

He admitted that on July 7, 2015, he failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars, worth about £400million at the time.

Before his guilty plea, he had been due to face trial in November on the single fraud charge.

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC told the court that a meeting was held between Ecclestone and HMRC officers in July 2015.

He said that Ecclestone was “seeking to a draw a line under investigations into his tax affairs.”

Mr Wright added: “He was fed up of paying huge bills for advice.”

Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has admitted fraud after failing to declare more than £400million held in a trust in Singapore to the Government.

The 92-year-old said “I plead guilty” at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday while standing in the well of the court wearing a dark suit and grey tie.

On July 7, 2015, the billionaire failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars, worth about £400million at the time.

The charge stated Ecclestone, who has three grown-up daughters, Deborah, Tamara and Petra, and a young son, Ace, had “established only a single trust, that being one in favour of your daughters, and other than the trust established for your daughters you were not the settlor nor beneficiary of any trust in or outside the UK”.

Before his guilty plea, he had been due to face trial in November on the single fraud charge.

The court heard Ecclestone had said “no” when asked by HMRC officers whether he had any links to any further trusts “in or outside the UK”.

Prosecutor Richard Wright KC said: “That answer was untrue or misleading.

“Mr Ecclestone knew his answer may have been untrue or misleading.

“As of July 7, 2015, Mr Ecclestone did not know the truth of the position, so was not able to give an answer to the question.

“Mr Ecclestone was not entirely clear on how ownership of the accounts in question were structured.

“He therefore did not know whether it was liable for tax, interest or penalties in relation to amounts passing through the accounts.

“Mr Ecclestone recognises it was wrong to answer the questions he did because it ran the risk that HMRC would not continue to investigate his affairs.

“He now accepts that some tax is due in relation to these matters.”

The FIA has begun a review into Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix after drivers complained of racing in dangerously high temperatures.

George Russell branded the race “beyond the limit of what is acceptable” as temperatures in the drivers’ cockpits exceeded 50 degrees for a contest which lasted one hour and 28 minutes.

Canadian driver Lance Stroll said he faded in and out of consciousness because of the extreme heat and humidity during the 57-lap race in Lusail and was also seen stumbling towards an ambulance moments after he emerged from his Aston Martin.

London-born driver Alex Albon was treated for acute heat exposure at the on-track medical centre, while his rookie Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant was forced to park his car through illness. Alpine’s French driver Esteban Ocon also vomited during the race.

This was only the second staging of the Qatar race and the first of a 10-year deal which, in the region of £45million each season, is among the most lucrative for the sport’s American owners Liberty Media.

Next year’s edition will be held two months later in December when it is expected to be cooler, but governing body the FIA acknowledged action must be taken now to avoid a repeat of the scenes.

It said in a statement: “The FIA notes with concern that the extreme temperature and humidity during the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix had an impact on the well-being of the drivers.

“While being elite athletes, they should not be expected to compete under conditions that could jeopardise their health or safety.

“The safe operation of the cars is, at all times, the responsibility of the competitors, however as with other matters relating to safety such as circuit infrastructure and car safety requirements, the FIA will take all reasonable measures to establish and communicate acceptable parameters in which competitions are held.

“As such, the FIA has begun an analysis into the situation in Qatar to provide recommendations for future situations of extreme weather conditions.

“It should be noted that while next year’s edition of the Qatar Grand Prix is scheduled later in the year, when temperatures are expected to be lower, the FIA prefers to take material action now to avoid a repeat of this scenario.”

The FIA said measures would be discussed at the upcoming medical commission meeting in Paris, which could include guidance for competitors, research into modifications for more efficient airflow in the cockpit and recommendations for changes to the calendar to fit with acceptable climate conditions.

Research from cross-country events in extreme climates will also be examined for potential applications to track races.

Russell, 25, who is director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, revealed he came close to blacking out after driving back from last to fourth following his first-corner crash with Lewis Hamilton.

He said: “(Sunday) was beyond the limit of what is acceptable.

“Over 50 per cent of the grid said they were feeling sick, couldn’t drive and were close to passing out.

“You don’t want to be passing out at the wheel when you are driving at 200mph, and that is how I felt at times.

“If it got any hotter I would have retired because my body was ready to give up.”

McLaren driver Lando Norris, 23, who finished third, said: “We found the limit (on Sunday) and it is sad we had to find it this way.

“It is never a nice situation to be in when people are ending up in the medical centre or passing out.

“It is not a point where you can just say, ‘the drivers need to train more’. We are in a closed car and it gets extremely hot.

“Clearly, when you have people who end up retiring or in such a bad state it is too much. It is too dangerous.

“I know that next year this race is later on in the season, and it will be cooler, but it is still something that needs to be addressed. I am sure we will speak about it because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

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