Mercedes prepared for a “brave decision”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, says they are prepared to make a “brave decision” when choosing the replacement for Nico Rosberg. The management team of the car company has been meeting to pick a replacement, after the surprise announcement on Friday that he had retired from the sport
Earlier this week, Wolff told Sky Sports “Clearly, with Nico taking the decision quite late we are in a bit of a compromised situation because if we had known three months ago there were more options available.”
“Maybe we need to make a brave decision in the same way Nico has made a brave decision.” The teams options appear limited with Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein the favourite, but earlier this week Wolff said he would consider Fernando Alonso as a candidate, potentially reuniting the Spaniard with former teammate Lewis Hamilton for the first time since their explosive partnership at McLaren in 2007.
Wolff added that its important that there new driver can match Hamilton in terms of raw pace, some to challenge him and somebody who is lightning fast, but added mistakes were a different topic. But says the team aren’t changing their philosophy.
“We want to have two drivers with equal opportunities that can race each other, because I think we owe that to the fans and ourselves. It’s the way we want racing to happen.”
Wolff also manages Valtteri Bottas who has been linked to the seat, but says it would be tricky to get him out of his contract
Ecclestone avoids calling Rosberg a great
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has avoided listing Nico Rosberg as one of the greats of the sports, referring him as a “world champion and nothing else”. Rosberg pipped Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’ title in 2016 and quit the sport shortly afterwards.
However his title has been met with poor reception as some feel that Rosberg was aided by the technical issues which harmed Hamilton during the season. Ecclestone refused to rank Rosberg alongside the multiple world champions currently on the grid by Autosport – Sebastian Vettel (four), Hamilton (three), Alonso (two) – instead keeping his praise short.
He said “Well, let’s just say he is a world champion. The other names that you mentioned (Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso) have obviously won more than a few times and have achieved more. So I would just call Nico a world champion and nothing else.”
But said the German would be missed. Ecclestone says Rosberg was a very popular driver but not as much as Hamilton, however “his absence is certainly not good for Formula One.” He added
We should of beaten Red Bull – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel believes that Ferrari should have beaten Red Bull to second in the constructors championship. Ferrari where leapfrogged by Red Bull going into the summer break, then emerged as the closest challenger to Mercedes.
Red Bull in the last nine races scored eight podiums and a win while Ferrari just managed two podiums, leading to Ferrari finishing seventh points behind. The Italian team struggled in the second half of the season with their setup strategy and getting the tyres to work.
Vettel told Autosport “It has been up and down this year – not as good as expected and it could have been a lot better. Points-wise we didn’t manage to score enough at the beginning of the year.”
“Towards the end, we found ourselves in a very tight battle with Red Bull. But overall we had a stronger package and we should’ve finished second in the constructors’.” Vettel added. The German said the biggest disappointment was not being able to fight with Mercedes.
It was a turbulent season off track with the departure of technical director James Allison left Ferrari, with engine boss Mattia Binotto taking charge. But Vettel remains confident about the future.
“A lot of things have happened in the background that should make the team and should make us stronger for next year” added Vettel
Silverstone gets lottery funding
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced funding of £20m for a museum to be built to showcase British motorsport at Silverstone. The investment covers nearly half the funding required.
Leading names has welcomed the £9.1m grant including Sir Stirling Moss and Nico Rosberg. The museum which will open in 2019 will display dozens of Formula 1, other racing cars and bikes along with personal items from famous drivers.
Rosberg told BBC News “The heritage of the sport is massively important – and it has such an incredible heritage. I hope one day I will be able to go to the centre and see all the stuff there.”
Part of the museum will included part of the only remaining aircraft hangar which dates from the 1940’s when it was an airfield. The collections, BRDC archive and research centre will also be built on the circuit with other motorsport collections will also be based there.
Sir Stirling Moss who raced in the first British Grand Prix at the circuit in 1948, before the formation of the championship said “I think for people who go up there, they’ll see what it is all about. See how things started – what has been done.”
The museum will also look at the history of the village and people which have lived there snice its earliest recording was in 1086 in the Domesday Book.
Stroll will make mistakes – Symonds
Pat Symonds Williams’s Technical Director says that the team are ready to accept that rookie Lance Stroll will make mistakes next season, the Canadian 18-year old will make his F1 debut next season.
Symonds told the Reuters news agency “Of course he’ll make mistakes and we’ll be repairing cars. These things happen as part of the process. If you look at his Formula Three career, in 2015 he was having quite a few accidents in that. The Monza one is just staggering.”
The Canadian won this year’s European F3 championship, with four races to spare and finished with 14 wins, 14 pole positions and a 185-point margin of victory. “He hasn’t won that championship with anything other than a lot of skill and maturity” said Symonds. ”
“For a guy that young he’s driven really well in pretty well every condition. He’s raced well, he’s led at the front. He’s come through the field a bit, he’s driven well in the wet. He is the real deal.”
Williams have brought successful drivers in at a young age, most notably Jenson Button who won the championship with Brawn in 2009 and Stroll’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Claire Williams added “We firmly believe in the talent that Lance has and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he’ll do. We believe in his talent and think he deserves his place. We had many options available to us but he was the one that we thought really.”