Stroll and Bottas to race for Williams next season
Williams announced on Thursday that Lance Stroll will partner Valtteri Bottas next season following the retirement of Felipe Massa. The Eighteen year old Canadian will be the first Canadian since the Jacques Villeneuve who drove for Jordan in 1997.
Stoll will be as it currently looks, to be the youngest driver on next years grid. However, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen retains his record as the youngest driver to start a grand prix.
Stroll has had a good season in Formula Three winning fourteen races and it was thought that he has fought with Sauber’s Felipe Nasr to drive alongside Bottas.
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams described it as “a new chapter in Williams’ history” as she presented Stroll and Bottas to the assembled media.
“We made this decision a long time ago and it’s one we are really, really excited about,” she said.
Stroll added “To be racing in Formula One in 2017 is incredible, I can’t thank Williams enough for showing faith in my ability. Racing in F1 was something I dreamt about as a young kid.”
Bottas has been subject to speculation about his future as the Fin was out of contract at the end of the season. It was rumoured that he had been offered a deal with Renault.
Canada future resolution boosted by Stroll
The promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix Francois Dumontier says that the announcement of Lance Stroll yesterday will be a big boost for the race as it prepares for its fiftieth running next year.
Dumontier told the Reuters news agency “My first thought goes to the fans. The 10-year wait is now over. The Grand Prix of Canada will celebrate 50 years in 2017 and we see Lance as a nice gift to celebrate this,” he added. “Of course we think it’s going to help ticket sales.”
Canada hasn’t had a driver race at home since 2006 when Jacques Villeneuve retired with Williams. Stroll was also born in Montréal and will be the youngest driver on the starting grid.
The Canadian race was listed on the provisional calendar published in September with an asterisk alongside it. Dumontier says he is confident that the contract will be renewed soon.
He said “Discussions have been going well with Bernie (Ecclestone), myself and the city of Montreal. I think in the next few days this will be behind us.”
Ericsson likely to stay at Sauber
Marcus Ericsson says he is “most likely to remain with Sauber next season. The swede is currently in his second season with the team after joining from Caterham as the team collapsed in late 2014.
There has been no formal announcement by Sauber of which drivers will be driving for them. Ericson has been linked as a candidate for the second seat at Renault with Ericsson still exploring his options the most likely option is for him to remain with the team.
Ericsson told Motorsport.com “”I think it’s most likely I would stay. But still I don’t want to rule out the other seats that are open. As I said for a while, I feel that I really developed as a driver.
“became a much better driver over the last year and a half. I want to show that, I want to be in a car where I can show that.” He says he needs to be there should an opportunity come up.
When asked if he will know before the end of the season he says he would like it done as soon as possible, but there was no rush. However he added “Hopefully, before Abu Dhabi, it would be nice to know – to go into the winter knowing what you have to do for next year.”
Zander to return to Sauber?
Autosport say they understand that Jorg Zander will return to Formula One next year with Sauber following Audi decision to withdraw from the World Endurance Championship at the end of the season.
The Swiss team have not had a technical director since March when Mark Smith left the team. Zander has worked with the team when it was owned by BMW as there chief designer, reporting to then technical director Willy Rampf.
Zander left F1 in 2009 to set up an automotive engineering company and came close to making a return with HRT in 2011 before a deal fell through. Last year he joined Audi, but the magazine says they understand that he will now move back to Hinwil to perform the same role for Sauber.
The team have been recruiting following the new investment from new owners Longbow Finance in July. There have been a number of appointments including Ruth Buscombe as a race strategist in September, Niccolas Hennel de Beaupreau as new head of aerodynamics and Xevi Pujolar as head of track engineering.
Sir Frank discharged from hospital
Sir Frank Williams has been discharged from hospital and is “pretty much” back to his old self after contracting pneumonia, according to his daughter and Deputy Team Principal Claire.
Sir Frank had been taken ill at Monza and was admitted to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital since returning to the UK. Last week then acting team boss and CEO said in Mexico last Friday that Williams was making a “slow and steady” recovery.
Ms Williams returned to work on Monday, but has missed six races and speaking at the driver announcement yesterday told the press “He’s now back home and he’s back at the factory.”
“He contracted pneumonia after Monza and has been in hospital ever since. It has been a slow recovery but I’m pleased to say he’s pretty much back to the old Frank we know and love.”
“It’s lovely to have him back with the team.” Claire is expected to return to track duties for Abu Dhabi.
Brawn speaks about Schumacher condition
Ross Brawn has given insight into the condition of Michael Schumacher in a BBC Interview on the day of the launch of his new book.
September that Schumacher cannot walk but the extent of his condition remains unknown to the public. But Brawn is one of the few people who have been allowed information on his condition.
Brawn told a BBC Sport Special “The family have chosen to conduct Michael’s convalescence in private and I must respect that. There are encouraging signs and we are all praying every day that we see more of them. So it is difficult for me to say very much and respect the family’s privacy.
“All I would say is there is a lot of speculation about Michael’s condition. Most of it’s wrong and we just pray and hope every day that we continue to see some progress and that one day we can see Michael out and about and recovered from his terrible injuries.”