Rest in peace Sir Frank Williams, Nissan plans for an EV future, Renault’s quad-copter dream

frank williams manifold death
LAT Photographic

Formula 1 team founder Sir Frank Williams has passed away at 79

Intake: Sir Frank Williams, who founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977, has died. Under his leadership Williams won nine constructors’ world championships and seven drivers’ titles during the 1980s and 1990s. The roster of drivers to pass through the Williams garage is a testament to Sir Frank’s ability to spot and nurture talent. Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve all won their world championships with Williams, while David Coulthard, Alex Zanardi, Jenson Button, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas, and Robert Kubica all made their F1 debuts in Williams cars. Alongside the success came tragedy, however. Sir Frank was confined to a wheelchair after a road accident in France in 1986, and in 1994 Ayrton Senna lost his life at Imola while driving for Williams. Nonetheless Sir Frank continued to fight on against adversity until 2013 when he stepped back from his frontline position and his daughter Claire took on the role of team principal. In September 2020 the Williams family passed on the baton when the team was sold to U.S. investment group Doriton Capital.

“It is with great sadness that on behalf of the Williams family, the team can confirm the death of Sir Frank Williams CBE, founder and former team principal of Williams Racing, at the age of 79. After being admitted into hospital on Friday, Sir Frank passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family. Today we pay tribute to our much loved and inspirational figurehead. Frank will be sorely missed,” reads a statement for the team published November 28.

Exhaust: Tributes to Sir Frank have flooded in from drivers and team owners across the sport. His countryman and fellow racing knight Sir Lewis Hamilton tweeted: “Sir Frank Williams was one of the kindest people I had the pleasure of meeting in this sport. What he achieved is something truly special. Until his last days I know he remained a racer and a fighter at heart. His legacy will live on forever.”

Nissan announces its EV ambition with 15 new models by 2030

Intake: Nissan is accelerating its electrification program and will introduce a total of 23 new electrified cars, including 15 pure EVs, before the decade closes. Under the banner Nissan Ambition 2030 the company says that half of all its vehicles on sale globally will be electrified and the company will become fully carbon neutral by 2050. By 2030 Nissan aims to have increased its sales of electrified cars in the U.S.A. by 40 percent. The company has released a quartet of concept cars along with the announcement which point at the segments the Japanese brand is targeting. The Chill-Out crossover is fairly conventional, but the Max-Out two-seater convertible, Surf-Out pickup, and Hang-Out SUV are all rather more exciting prospects. “With our new ambition, we continue to take the lead in accelerating the natural shift to EVs by creating customer pull through an attractive proposition by driving excitement, enabling adoption and creating a cleaner world,” says Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta.

Exhaust: As electrification looms ever closer, it’s reassuring to see that Nissan is not only planning its own BEV initiative but is injecting some personality into its combustion-free concepts, as well. The real question, however, is whether Nissan can offer such newfangled tech at a price point that satisfies the bargain-minded section of its current clientele. 

Is Jeremy Clarkson’s new lager the best beer… in the world?

Intake: Jeremy Clarkson’s new Hawkstone lager became the best-selling beer on Amazon in the U.K. almost as soon as it went on sale. The former Top Gear star-turned-farmer grows barley on his Diddly Squat farm in the English Cotswolds and decided to go into the booze business after failing to make any money from farming during his first year which was documented on the Amazon Prime show Clarkson’s Farm. The name Hawkstone comes from a nearby neolithic monument because Clarkson’s original idea was vetoed by his business partner. Writing in the Sunday Times, Clarkson confesses, “Choosing a name for it was the first problem. I wanted to call it Lager McLagerface. Or McFace for short. But one of my partners in the enterprise is an important London ad man, who said that McFace didn’t conjure up quite the premium image.”

Exhaust: Clarkson is well-known for his tendency to rush into things without exactly thinking them through, favoring power and speed over almost every other option. Let’s hope his approach to brewing is a little more measured.

The sky’s the limit for this classic Renault 4

Renault Air4

Intake: Renault’s celebrations of 60 years of the 4 have reached new heights. The company has developed a concept for a flying version of the popular classic which sold more than eight million units in over 100 countries during its three-decade lifespan. The AIR4 imagines a the future where the highways are rather higher than today as the carbon-fiber quad-copter is electrically-powered with a top speed of almost 60 mph and is “a wink to how this icon could look like in another 60 years,” according to Arnaud Belloni, Renault Brand Global Marketing Director.

Exhaust: This may well be pie-in-the-sky but we like it. If flying cars are ever to become an actual thing, then making them look like actual cars is a pretty cool idea.

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