Formula E gears up: new batteries, Felipe Massa and ‘Mario Kart’ boosts | Giles Richards

There are new names, street circuits and a new ‘attack mode’ but batteries that last an entire race may be the key innovationFormula E has always enjoyed grand city centre destinations as a central tenet of the all-electric series. Beginning its fifth season on Saturday, however, there is a sense that it is in a position to deliver the drama such grand stages demand, now boasting technology, drivers and manufacturers coming together with greater coherence and credibility than ever.The new season opens in Riyadh, the first of 13 races held across 12 meetings. There will be no race in the UK, which has not held FE since its last appearance in London’s Battersea Park in the second season, but other cities including New York, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Berlin and Monaco will all play host to the series that held its first round in 2014. Four years on the racing has fundamentally changed for the better. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

The Spin | Big Bash’s flipping bats recall stories of cunning ploys with tossed coins

When you look closely at the ritual, it begins to seem odd that cricket lets blind luck and ‘dynamical bias’ play such a large partWhen he was 14, Persi Diaconis packed a fresh deck of cards and a spare pair of socks into a knapsack and ran away from home to become a magician’s assistant. He spent the next few years as an apprentice with Dai Vernon, whose sleight of hand was so smart, so sharp, he even beat Harry Houdini, who famously claimed he could pick any magic trick on the third go, until Vernon fooled him seven times in a row.They used to call Vernon “the Professor”, and now they do Diaconis, too. Because that is what he is. The Mary V Sunseri professor of statistics and mathematics, to be exact, at Stanford, where he has been continuing his lifelong study of chance and probability. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

What ‘masculinity’ means when you’re gay, bi or trans …

We’re in the middle of a ‘genderquake’ where the qualities traditionally associated with men are changing daily. So how do three LGBT guys define manliness in 2018? By Joe StoneWhat does it mean to be a man? Right now, masculinity is under the microscope like never before. But one group that is used to navigating the tricky terrain of gender norms is the LGBT community. In a recent survey by Attitude, Britain’s best-selling gay magazine, 69% of readers admitted they’d been made to feel “less of a man” because they are gay, bisexual or queer. More troubling still, 41% said that at some point they themselves thought that they were less of a man too. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Mohamed Salah named BBC African Footballer of the Year 2018

Egypt and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is voted the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2018.

15-12-2018

José Mourinho: Manchester United are far from playing in my image

• Manager says reasons run deeper than transfers• Trophies matter, Mourinho says, before game at LiverpoolJosé Mourinho believes Manchester United are a long way from playing in his image and has suggested structural issues at the club are to blame.United travel to Anfield on Sunday 16 points behind Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders. Liverpool are viewed as a team in their manager’s image and Mourinho was asked whether the same could be said for him and United. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Dina Asher-Smith a real contender for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

The athlete who won three European gold medals is likely to be up against Harry Kane, Geraint Thomas and Lewis HamiltonA hugely successful and exhilarating year for British sport will be acknowledged in time-worn fashion on Sunday night when the country’s leading athletes – along with 12,000 paying spectators – gather at the Genting Arena in Birmingham for the 65th running of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. Yet, in a break from recent tradition, a woman has a genuine shot at the main prize.Not since 2006, when Zara Phillips was rewarded for winning the equestrian world title, has the award gone to a woman – and since then the only women to make even the podium are the athletes Jessica Ennis-Hill and Jo Pavey, and the swimmer Rebecca Adlington. Yet the bookmakers rate Dina Asher-Smith as a genuine contender after a dizzying few months, during which she became the first British track and field star to claim a treble of gold medals at a major championships. Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

A crunch clash at Anfield, depleted Palace and Huddersfield teams, and the start of a crucial run for FulhamIt is a marker of how far Manchester United have fallen to see that when Gary Neville set about choosing his combined XI for Liverpool and Manchester United on Monday Night Football, he included just three outfield United players. The only player he picked with conviction was Anthony Martial at left wing, admitting Eric Bailly would not be in if Joe Gomez was fit and laughing that his selection of Paul Pogba alongside Naby Keïta and Gini Wijnaldum was “just an opportunity to get a United player in”. Nobody would argue that Liverpool are the better side, and have been for a number of years, yet the past eight league meetings read W0, D3, L5 for the Merseyside club. Liverpool’s lack of ruthlessness against Napoli so nearly came back to bite them in the Champions League; they can ill afford the same profligacy against a José Mourinho side that is unlikely to be anything other than defensively minded. MB Continue reading...

15-12-2018

PDC World Darts Championship: Gary Anderson beats Kevin Burness

Two-time champion Gary Anderson finishes strongly to beat debutant Kevin Burness at the PDC World Championship.

15-12-2018

England Netball: Sport England to back national programme until 2021

England Netball will receive financial backing from Sport England until 2021.

15-12-2018

'Canelo' Alvarez v Rocky Fielding: Briton relishing chance to upset the odds

Rocky Fielding says he will relish the chance to upset the odds when he takes on Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez at Madison Square Gardens.

15-12-2018

Football transfer rumours: Ben Chilwell to Manchester City for £50m?

Today’s fluff is on the upWith Benjamin Mendy still sidelined through injury, Manchester City are ready to bid for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in January. A summer spent in the company of a personal trainer doing sprints in a Milton Keynes park have yielded rich dividends for the youngster, who told one interviewer: “I feel like this season needs to be the season I push on”. Having done exactly that, he may earn himself a move to the reigning Premier League champions to further his education under Pep Guardiola. £50m is the fee being mentioned. Related: Tottenham’s manager Pochettino tips his hat to ‘hard-working’ chairman Levy Continue reading...

15-12-2018

Lisa Ashton goes to the oche and the nuns go wild at the PDC World Darts

Ashton took the opening leg in style but her first visit to Alexandra Palace ended in defeatBy 6pm the fairground outside Ally Pally is just beginning to wind down, the ferris wheel has stopped going, the merry-go-round is slowing and there is a sign outside the grotto promising that Santa will be back again tomorrow. So, at that time of night, it’s little kids this way and big kids that, up the hill and on beyond the fair to the Great Hall for the opening night of the PDC World Championship. For a lot of people the trip is a winter tradition now, a little less solemn than the carol service at St Paul’s, a little less sobering than swimming in the Serpentine on Christmas morning.The Championship has junked one of its own old rituals. The walk-on girls are gone. The PDC chairman, Barry Hearn, says he was forced into it by the TV companies. “It’s out of my control,” he said. “We’re living in changing times – the PC brigade, the liberal brigade are out in strength.” Continue reading...

15-12-2018