Consistency key to new contract – Bottas
Mercedes Valtteri Bottas believes the key to renewing his contract with the team is by him delivering consistently strong form. the Finn joined the team from Williams on a one-year deal, replacing world champion Nico Rosberg.
Bottas has started the season well, proving in some races to be on par with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, as well as taking his maiden pole in Bahrain, followed by a maiden win in Russia. However, there has been some more difficult races, including China.
Mercedes and Ferrari are beginning to discuss their options for 2018, with Bottas knowing that to remain with the silver arrows he must perform at a “high level.”
Asked by Autosport what he needed to do to stay on board, Bottas said “I think consistent performance. It’s about delivering on the level where the car is, and helping with the development. It’s about working as a team, and winning races, which normally is what a team requires.”
“It [Mercedes] is a winning team, at a high level, so they expect a lot from the driver. Almost every driver would like to drive for Mercedes, so for sure I need to perform to stay.” Bottas says his aim is to stay with Mercedes long term.
Bottas says his debut win in Russia, has taken the pressure off him. Saying “It was nice it was in the beginning part of the year too, to get it done. I don’t need to think about it anymore. I know I can do it, and the team knows I can do it.”
Bottas trails team-mate Lewis Hamilton by thirty six ponits, but knows he lost out because of an engine failure in Spain and that spin in China.
We still have edge – Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says he believes that the Mercedes engine still holds a tiny edge over Ferrari in qualifying. Mercedes has set the bench mark since the turbo hybrids were introduced in 2014, but Ferrari has closed up in recent years.
Recently Haas a customer of Ferrari, suggested that Ferrari has overtaken Mercedes. Bottas has denied that claim, but says the gap between the two teams is small. Bottas told Motorsport.com “I think Ferrari, they are not stronger than us, but we are very level. Maybe in qualifying, we are a little bit stronger, but not much.”
The gap between Ferrari and Mercedes has meant this season that one tiny mistake can be victory or failure. In Canada, Mercedes had a small boost from Petronas’s new fuel.
Speaking about that Bottas said “It is small things, but F1 is about small detail and every detail helps, especially with this close fight with Ferrari.”
“In some qualifyings, I have been behind Sebastian [Vettel], by a couple of thousands or hundredths, so everything will help in the fight.”
A record number of Grand Prix’s
Liberty Media has released the 2018 calendar which shows the Austrian, French and British Grand Prix’s will all take place in just three weeks.
The 2018 season will start on the weekend of 23-25 March with the Australian Grand Prix, followed by China and Bahrain. Azerbaijan race has been moved back to late April to allow the French Grand Prix in mid-June.
The following two weekends will see the Austrian and British Grand Prix’s take place, creating a triple header. Liberty has had a headache with twenty-two races contracted for 2018.
Vandoorne “not in happy place”
Kevin Magnussen says that McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne is “not in his happy place” as his difficult and the team’s difficult season continues.
The Belgian was given a full-time race seat this season, replacing Jenson Button, however, he has failed to match team-mate Fernando Alonso on track. Vandoorne did not manage to escape Q1 in the first five races this season, while Alonso made it into Q2.
Racing director Eric Boullier has already said he believes that it might be because Vandoorne is sticking to the driving style which gave him success in his junior career. Magnussen says he has also been surprised by Vandoorne’s struggles.
He told Motorsport.com “I don’t know why he is struggling. He’s clearly not in his happy place because he wouldn’t be half a second off Fernando otherwise.”
“I’m a bit surprised – he can be very good I’m sure. I guess I can relate a little bit. He also has a very good opportunity as he’s up against someone who is seen as one of the best in Formula One.”
Magnussen added Vandoorne has the opportunity to show himself as a very good driver and I know he can do it, “but he’s struggling for different reasons but it can be very tough in his situation.”
No engine update, but we can close up
Red Bull are hoping that they can claw back some of their deficit to Ferrari and Mercedes, despite engine supplier Renault dismissing the team’s claims of an engine upgrade this year.
The team had expected the French manufacturer to bring upgrades for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The news that isn’t going to happen will be a blow to the team, who appear to be stuck in third in the constructor’s championship.
One area Red Bull are looking to make gains in performance is with their fuel and lubricants supplier ExxonMobil, which joined the team after ending its long-standing partnership with McLaren in 2016. Horner told F1.com that it as Renault’s decision.
“We take whatever we can when we can — for sure we’d rather sooner than later! We knew that Montreal would be tricky and so will be the next two races, Azerbaijan and Austria.”
“We will probably introduce our next engine [from the season’s allotted allocation] in Austria — and hopefully that will be a bit of a boost as our fuel supplier ExxonMobil did a great job finding performance. In this area, there is quite a bit of potential.”
Red Bull and Renault both lose different suppliers for fuel and lubrications which has become important since the introduction of the hybrid power units in 2014.
ExxonMobil’s global motorsports boss David Tsuruaki said in Montreal “We view it, our team views it as a competition – we want to win, we want to be better. I have told my team as recently as last week that timing-wise will continue to send.
“Develop products and when we get a chance to test and get it approved it will my challenge to work with the engine manufacturers.”
Red Bull has unlike in previous seasons, refused to solely blame Renault for their difficulties.
Bernie takes centre stage
Organisers of next weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will use the main display this year will focus on the life of Formula One Chairman Emeritus Bernie Ecclestone.
The Central Feature which dominates the main lawn in front of the house is usually used to represent g a different car manufacturer.
This move to celebrate Ecclestone, will not be without controversy given his views on various issues including woman in motorsport and homosexuality. Plus, the way he ran the sport.
Festival founder of the festival, Lord March told The Telegraph “This is not so much a tribute, but rather a Goodwood celebration of a racer who has had such a huge influence on the sport we all love.”
“It’s wonderful that Bernie has agreed to spend the weekend at the Festival with many of the great names with whom he has worked during a life dedicated to racing.”
The areas will celebrate the ‘Five Ages of Ecclestone,’ Driver, Manager, team owner, F1 supremo and legend.