Bottas stays with Mercedes for 2018
Mercedes have announced that Valtteri Bottas has signed a new one year deal with the team. The Finn joined the German team in January from Williams and has delivered against his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas has impressed the team since replacing world champion Nico Rosberg in January, by taking two victories and seven other podiums from the thirteen races. The news means that Mercedes currently have no drivers signed after next season.
Bottas told Sky Sports “”I am honoured and proud to continue to work with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in 2018 and to remain part of the Mercedes family.”
“When the team hired me for the 2017 season, they took a leap of faith by putting their trust in my skills. This new contract for 2018 shows that I’ve earned that trust.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff added “We gave Valtteri a big challenge this year: joining the team at the eleventh hour, stepping up to the forefront of F1 and pairing with the sport’s best driver as his team-mate.”
It has been a solid season with him taking pole in Bahrain and then holding off Sebastian Vettel at the following race in Russia to take a maiden win. Also the Finn has finished second four times this season, including in Azerbaijan where he came from last and a lap down to finish behind Daniel Ricciardo.
Bottas is currently third in the constructors and is fourty one points behind Hamilton with seven races remaining.
Team relations between Hamilton and Bottas have remaind friendly, compared to the fractious one over the last three seasons between Hamilton and Rosberg.
Red Bull needs big step for Ricciardo to stay
Daniel Ricciardo says that Red Bull needs to make a big step forward next season if they are to convince him to remain with the team. The Australian has been with Red Bull’s senior team for the past four seasons and is out of contract at the end of 2018.
In his time at Red Bull he has won four Grand Prix’s, three of them in his first season with the team when he was partnered with four times champion Sebastian Vettel.
But, the team has struggled to run with Mercedes leaving him unable to fight for the championship, with Ricciardo saying his concern is finishing his F1 career without winning a title. He told Autosport “I went through that impatient phase for sure, and I am still bordering that – because I don’t want to leave F1 without a championship.”
“At least right now, I still believe I can do that, absolutely. I am looking for it – sooner rather than later. I thought we would be in with a really good shot this year, but it hasn’t turned out like that.” He says that really needs to happen within the next year.
“I’ve been here for quite a few years now and I think next year we need to make a bigger step next year.” Ricciardo has been backed by Red Bull throughout his junior career, spending two years with junior team Toro Rosso before moving into the senior team.
Both Mercedes and Ferrari have seats for 2019, Ricciardo could become a major factor in the driver market next year. However he added his next move was “unlikely to be for just one year – it is probably three years”.
Ecclestone blames McLaren for Honda mess
Formula One Chairman Emeritus Bernie Ecclestone says he blames McLaren for the disastrous relationship with Honda and warns that the team are unlikely to be happier if they switch to Renault power next season.
McLaren are expected to confirm the end of their partnership ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, ending months of speculation about its future. The split will see McLaren switch to Renault power for 2018, while Honda will move into partnership with current Renault customer Toro Rosso.
The switch of power unit suppliers, is expected to lead to a contract renewal for Fernando Alonso who has denied the claim of issuing McLaren an ultimatum between keeping Honda and retaining his services for 2018, he dropped numerous hints that the solution required to keep him.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ecclestone said “ “The Renault deal is all done. Alonso staying is super news. But I can’t see why McLaren will be any happier with Renault than they are with Honda.”
“It wasn’t Honda’s fault things didn’t work out, it was McLaren’s. Every day they had a fight about everything, instead of working with them, which was a little bit stupid.”
Over the last week, it has emerged that Carlos Sainz had become a key player, as Renault has him released from his Red Bull/Toro Rosso contract.
Keen to retain Singapore
Formula One CEO Chase Carey says the sport is keen to retain the Singapore Grand Prix on a long term deal beyond this season. This Sunday’s race is the tenth running and set to be the last under the current deal.
Speaking in Singapore Carey told That Matters industry conference “We haven’t concluded a deal yet but we’re having positive discussions and it is certainly our goal to try and reach a deal that works for both of us.”
“We’re proud of the race, we have a good relationship and our goal is to get to a place where we build on that partnership long-term.” However, Singapore has seen a decline from 100,000 fans a day in 2008, to 73,000 last season.
The Marina Bay race is often refered to as the Monaco of the east, the night race takes place against a backdrop of glittering skyscrapers, remains one of the most popular and glamorous on the 20-round calendar.
The race, along with China, is provisional of next season as subject to confirmation by the sport’s commercial rights holder. Carey added “It is certainly a spectacular setting with the city lit up, racing through the streets, a race we are proud of.”
Lucky to avoid cyber attack
A leading expert in cyber security claims that Formula One has been “lucky” to have avoided a serious ransomware attack. Ransomware is software that cripples computers and demands payment to remove the software.
The industry is worth £4.5 billion to cybercriminals and sophisticated groups are offering off-the-shelf programmes, in exchange for a cut of the profits, for anyone wanting to launch an attack. Last year a major attack crippled businesses in Europe as well as the NHS in England.
Last year, Toro Rosso teamed up with Acronis who have helped the team make improvements in several areas including data back-up and safe file distribution.
Acronis president John Zanni believes F1 needs to be doing more to protect itself. He told Autosport “It hasn’t been happening much and teams like Toro Rosso are pretty secure – because they are serious about how they manage and secure their IT.”
“But F1 has been lucky up to now. I hope it will stay lucky and will become even more secure in the future. F1 is a massively popular sport. That is exactly what is usually a target – something that gets you a lot of press.” Zanni says that he has concerns that Formula One doesn’t view cyber crime seriously.
Adding “I’ve asked a few people in F1 about it and they have said, ‘Why would anyone attack us? We just want to make sure our competitors don’t see our data’.”
Zanni fears that ransomware attacks will increase in frequency in the future, because the top-of-the-range software is a high quality and is becoming available to more people.