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Friday's Formula 1 news roundup: Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Esteban Ocon

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Friday, October 16.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Friday, October 16.

Friday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:

Rio hits back at Hamilton's F1 project opposition

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Eifel Grand Prix on October 11, 2020© Reuters

A spokesperson has hit back at Lewis Hamilton's opposition to a new grand prix going ahead near Rio de Janeiro.

F1 CEO Chase Carey recently wrote a letter confirming the sport's intention to support construction of a new circuit in Rio's Deodoro neighbourhood.

But there have been claims the project would affect the nearby Comboata forest ecosystem, prompting six-time world champion Hamilton to announce his opposition.

"I don't know the details and I've heard that a sustainable race could be possible there, but the most sustainable thing would be not to cut down trees," he said.

However, a spokesperson for the proposed Rio Motorpark circuit hit back at those sorts of claims, insisting the project would generate thousands of jobs and economic activity.

"Nor is information correct that there will be environmental damage resulting from the project, which is supported by a robust program of mitigating and compensatory measures," the spokesperson told the Guardian.

Wolff admits Mercedes' 2020 car development stopped

Mercedes' Team Principal Toto Wolff pictured in August 2020© Reuters

Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes has ceased development of its 2020 car.

The dominant team and its multiple champion, Lewis Hamilton, will almost certainly continue to keep cruising towards both world championships this year.

"We have not been making any improvements to the car for a long time," team boss Wolff is quoted by Speed Week.

"We have given it a lot of thought, because you cannot afford to prematurely end the development of the current car every season. But we have decided to focus entirely on 2021 and 2022."

In the meantime, Dr Helmet Marko says Red Bull's 2020 development is still "fully" in action, with the result that Max Verstappen was closer to the pace at the Nurburgring.

Wolff admits the "balance of power" could therefore change before the end of the season.

"We have seen a couple of times that we had a very good start to the season and also a strong middle section, and then our opponents catch up at the end," he said. "That is because they continue to develop."

Meanwhile, Hamilton has pushed back on the notion that while he has benefitted from Mercedes' utter dominance since 2014, F1 legend Michael Schumacher played a much bigger role in Ferrari's success during that era.

"As much as I love Michael and as much as he is a legend, it wasn't just him," the British driver is quoted by Kronen Zeitung.

"You talk about how Michael made Ferrari a success, but no one can do that," Hamilton added. "I didn't make Mercedes a success and Michael didn't make Ferrari a success either."

More news from Formula 1:

Both Haas seats 'more or less taken' for 2021 - Marko
Haas has "more or less" already decided who will drive for the small American team in 2021. Read more.

Abiteboul defends Ocon amid 2021 rumours
Esteban Ocon "should not be ashamed" of his performance at Renault so far in 2020. Read more.

Binotto rules out reverting to 2019 Ferrari car
Ferrari is focusing its efforts on improving the rear of its current car for 2021. Read more.

Shwartzman hopes Friday debut goes ahead in Abu Dhabi
Robert Shwartzman says he hopes his Friday practice debut in Abu Dhabi will go ahead as scheduled. Read more.

Istanbul wants full-time return to F1
Istanbul Park wants Turkey to return full-time to the Formula 1 calendar. Read more.

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Mercedes' Team Principal Toto Wolff pictured in August 2020
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Wolff admits Mercedes' 2020 car development stopped
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