Nearly signed – Wolff
Contract talks between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are nearly done according to boss tote Wolff. Wolff says he is hopeful of concluding discussions with the world champion “soon”.
The talks were postponed in the second half of last season to allow Hamilton to focus on winning the world championship. Last month Wolff said there was no deadlines and the discussions are very positive and it’s down to the detail.
Rumours suggest that Hamilton wants to establish himself as the best-paid driver in F1 following the bumper deals signed by Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
Sauber lose appeal
Saubers appeal against the unfair dismissal case which ruled that Giedo van der Garde was unfairly dismissed has failed.
The ruling means the 29-year old should race for the team this season. This means the team may have to drop Marcus Ericsson or Felipe Nasr. Van der Garde has also launched a contempt of court application to force Sauber to comply with the order.
Failure to comply means all the teams assets could be sized from the team. The case will be heard hours before the start of first practice. But Sauber say it would be unsafe to allow him to race saying “we cannot do is jeopardise the safety of our team, or any other driver on the track, by having an unprepared driver in a car that has now been tailored to two other assigned drivers.”
But s Jenson Button criticised Sauber for taking such a view. Saying “safety is always a concern in motorsport and we shouldn’t be throwing it around lightly. Personally, him driving the car is not a safety issue. I think it is unfair to use that against Giedo.”
Ferrari in “much stronger position” – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says he believes that Ferrari is in a “much stronger position” than it was last year. The team had a season to forget in 2014 with the team only managing just two podiums last season, its worst haul for more than 20 years.
He told Autosport “We feel better overall as a team and I’m sure we are much more ready for this year. We are in a much stronger position. We still have work to do to get to where we want to – but that’s part of the game.”
The team has carried out a major management changes including the departure of president Luca di Montezemolo and team principal Marco Mattiacci after nine months in charge.
Witmarsh joins Newey
The former McLaren boss Martin Witmarsh has been appoint CEO of Ben Ainslie Racing to spearhead its hopes of winning sailing’s America’s Cup.
Witmarsh was ousted in a coup by Ron Dennis last January before he officially left the team in august. In an interview with the telegraph “I’ve been able to spend more time with my kids who are grown up now. Formula One is a sport that can take over your life, it can consume you. And I think it got pretty close to doing that with me.”
He is the second person to join the project from F1 after Adrain Newey joined the project last year.