Mercedes renew Wolff and Lauda’s contracts
Mercedes have announced they have renewed the contracts of team boss Toto Wolff and non-executive chairman Niki Lauda until the end of 2020. The deals cover the amount of time left on the team’s current deal with Formula One.
Mercedes and the rest of the teams are expected to negotiate a new Concorde Agreement to replace the one that expires in four years in the coming months. Wolff retains his 30% shareholding in the team and Lauda his 10% stake.
Team boss Wolff joined Mercedes from Williams in February 2013, and Lauda took up his position in late 2012. The news comes following a busy winter for the team following the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg, following his title win and the departure of Executive director (technical) Paddy Lowe to Williams.
The team have appointed James Allison as Lowe’s replacement but in a wider role as head of the company. Lowe was Wolff’s, right-hand man. Chairman of parent company Daimler Dieter Zetsche said: “In 2013, we restructured the management of the team with the clear goal of improving our performance.”
“Since then, however, the results have exceeded our expectations. A key factor in this success has been the combination of Toto’s entrepreneurial skills and Niki’s experience.”
“Their renewed commitment gives our programme important continuity for the next four years.”
No problem with Bottas – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is insistent that he has no problems with Mercedes or new team-mate Valtteri Bottas ahead of the new Formula One season. The three-time champion recently spoke out against the practice of team-mates being able to scour each other’s data after practice and qualifying sessions.
Hamilton said in an online interview for UBS. “I go out, do my laps, do all my homework – the other guy can see everything. I don’t think they should do that. I have asked my team, I don’t want to see my team mate’s.”
Saying he believes they shouldn’t be sharing and studying each other game plans. In a series of Tweets, Hamilton said “I wish to clarify, I have not hit out at my team at all. My point on data sharing is solely my feelings about the sport in general.”
“It has been my feeling since the day I started F1 and still is 10 years later. There is zero problems in my team, zero problems with Bottas. Whatever happens, TeamLH we got this!”
In the original interview, he added “I’m not against team engineers sharing data, but I think the drivers shouldn’t be able to study each other’s data,” Hamilton insisted.”
“There are times where, because you only have a limited amount of time and we have all these things we can change, sometimes you just decide to go the wrong way and start on the wrong foot.”
Red Bull can challenge Mercedes – Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the team could challenge Mercedes this season if Renault’s engine produces what has been promised.
With this seasons aero regulation changes it is expected that power unit performance will be key and Horner is hopeful the French manufacturer will deliver a significant step. Speaking about Renault, he told Motorsport.com “It’s a brand new engine for this year, a change of philosophy.”
“We’re hoping for a step in performance, and if that’s delivered then hopefully we can really be a challenger team this year, and give Mercedes and Ferrari a hard time.” But he added that Mercedes remain the team to beat this season.
Horner speaking about progress over the winter, he says the RB13 is one of the prettiest cars the team has designed because of the geometry of the car under these new regulations. He added “The proportions look right, it looks mean, it looks fast, it’s that old adage, if it looks right, it tends to go alright. And this car for sure looks right.”
He admits the team is anxious ahead of testing but that normal. Saying “of course the testing, people get sucked into who’s doing what time, which fuel loads, who’s doing what race runs, etc. It’s all irrelevant, in reality.”
Greatest physical challenge ever – Vettel
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel says that this season will be the greatest physical challenge than ever before, because of the changes to tyres and down force regulations.
Speaking to Channel 4, the German said “The car should be significantly faster. Not so much on the straight, I think the straights will be slower in terms of top speed.
“Cornering speeds will be a lot higher which means that forces are higher, which means it will be more physical as well,” he said. “It’s a big change, I think it will be more of a challenge.” But Vettel says it was impossible to predict how the cars were going to perform.
Last year, Vettel drove a modified 2015 car as part of testing the tyres but says that will be slightly different as the cars will have significantly more downforce than what we tested with last year.
“I think overall, I think we could end up pushing harder for longer in the race, so we shouldn’t be limited too much by the tyres.” He adds. Vettel is unsure if the rules will create more overtaking but is hoping the racing will be better.
Speaking about rumours he could join Mercedes next season, he insisted that winning a title for the Scuderia remained his highest ambition.
“I think if you’re racing for Ferrari and, you know, obviously I had the chance to win some championships so you want to win again, so that’s our target – we win the championship.
Di Resta says with Williams
William’s have announced that Paul di Resta will remain the teams reserve driver this season. The 30-year old raced for Force India from 2010 to 2013, will be back-up for race drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.
Di Resta will race for Mercedes this season in DTM as well as his role as Sky’s analyst and commentator. The Scotsman says he was “delighted” to stay at Williams and “looking forward to understanding the new regulations” introduced to F1 this season in an attempt to make the cars faster, more dramatic and more appealing to the audience.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams said: “It’s great for us to retain someone of Paul’s experience.”
Sauber release car picture
Sauber is the first team to release images of their 2017 car, the C36. The C36 is the first indication of how the teams are interrupting the new regulations this season.
The team’s car looks bold featuring a new blue and white livery with a gold-coloured front-wing. This season the team will be looking for a strong midfield performance after finding new investment and piping Manor in the constructors last season, meaning they secured crucial prize money funds.
Sauber’s drivers this year are Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
However, Wehrlein has been forced out of the first pre-season test of the winter, which starts in Barcelona on February 27, due to a neck injury sustained in a crash at the Race of Champions.
Force India announces ForexTime partnership
Force India have announced that the online trading FXTM from ForexTime will be an official partner from this season. The branding will appear on the rear section of the car’s sidepod as well as on drivers’ and team clothing.
FXTM proves it clients with knowledge of the trading markets for traders on stock markets, allowing users to ‘invest their time wisely. This road is paved by an ironclad focus on educating our customers. Knowledge is power, and empowering traders to get the best value for their investments is our passion.’
FXTM’s mission statement says they aim to offer advanced and innovative services to their clients and strives to ensure maximum performance, customer satisfaction and security in every investment. Team Principal Vijay Mallya said, “I am pleased to welcome FXTM as our latest partner just days ahead of the launch of our new car, the VJM10.”
Adding “The Formula One season will take us to FXTM’s core markets and will allow them to activate and reach a wide customer base. It’s great to have FXTM working with us and I hope we will have lots to celebrate together in 2017.”
ForexTime CEO Olga Rybalkina added “We are very proud to be partnering with the exceptional Formula One team, Sahara Force India. Their commitment to excellence, drive and innovation made them a natural fit for us. We share common values and attributes in the way we approach our respective businesses.”