From Road & Track

Welcome to The Grid, R&T’s quick roundup of the auto industry and motorsports news you should know this morning.

Full-Size Pickup Sales Help Keep U.S. Auto Industry Afloat

The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge negative effect on U.S. auto sales in the second quarter, but full-size pickups continue to move. Automotive Newsreports that while U.S. new vehicle sales decreased by a third last quarter, full-size pickups became the most popular segment in the country, beating out compact crossovers. “Even when the vehicle market goes completely sideways, the truck market stays straight and true,” Karl Brauer, Kelly Blue Book Executive Editor told Automotive News. Mid-size pickups are doing well, contributing to this amazing statistic—one in every four non-luxury brand U.S. auto sale in Q2 was a pickup of some sort.

Pickup sales were down in Q2, but not down as much as in other segments. That, plus fact that full-sizers are so profitable, will keep the U.S. Big Three in decent shape in these uncertain times.

Ferrari Is In For a Rough Year in Formula 1

Charles Leclerc may have stood on the podium at the Austrian Grand Prix yesterday, but that was largely in spite of the car he was driving. Ferrari was well off the pace for Formula 1’s long-awaited return, losing nearly a second in qualifying speed compared with last year. Lelerc managed P7 on the grid, but Sebastien Vettel didn’t even make it out of Q2, starting P11. Speaking with Autosport, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team is in for a rough year. The chassis and aerodynamics of the SF1000 need work—and an upgrade is planned for the Hungarian Grand Prix—but the engine is the big problem.

“If I looked at yesterday’s qualy, compared to the pole, we are missing a second,” Binotto said. “Of the second, three-tenths in cornering, in what I was just speaking about. But then there is still seven-tenths on the power unit on the straights. I think that one will be very much difficult, because the engine is frozen for the season.”

Last year, Ferrari’s strength was in its engine, but earlier this year, the FIA announced a settlement with the team over the power unit. The details of the settlement are a mystery, but it seems as though the settlement has kneecapped the V-6. Bad news for Ferrari, and customer teams Alfa Romeo and Haas, which were also well off the pace.

Recapping A Crazy Racing Weekend

Last weekend was a big one for motorsports fans, with a historic NASCAR-IndyCar double-header at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IMSA’s return at Daytona, and of course, Formula 1 in Austria. Missed any of the action? Read about it here:

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