Hamilton not ruling out retirement
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton is not ruling out following his former team-mate Nico Rosberg into retirement at the end of 2017, claiming it will not change his legacy.
The three times champions current Mercedes deal expires at the end of next season and has previously said he could see himself signing another deal to see him into his mid-thirties.
But speaking to the FIA in-house magazine he didn’t think his standing in the sport would be affected if he were to walk away this year. Hamilton said “My destiny is in my own hands. I can decide to stop at the end of this year.”
“Does that mean my legacy is less great than it would be if I stop in five years’ time? Who’s to say? I don’t like to plan for it because I don’t know what’s around the corner, I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Hamilton says whatever he does he will always strive for greatness.
But Hamilton says he was thoroughly enjoying the fight with Ferrari this season, where he is current twelve points behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Saying “If we’re able to qualify the top 10 within half a second or something like that, now that’s a fri**in’ race. Maybe top five within a few tenths of a second”
Hamilton looking for Baku win
Lewis Hamilton will be looking this weekend to win the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which is the only race on the calendar which he hasn’t won.
The Englishman won dominantly last time out in Montreal and appears to be in high spirits after he bounced back from defeat in Monaco. Earlier this week, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said “”Lewis is in the best place I have seen him during any of the last five years since he joined the team.”
“Not only because he had a great weekend in Montreal, but because he is coping so well with the difficult days. This is what the very best are made of,” added Wolff. Last year’s race in Baku, was a disappointment after he crashed out in Q3.
But that gave his team-mate a free run almost, with Nico Rosberg taking pole, the fastest lap and the win. But Mercedes may have mixed feelings as they struggled on the streets of Monaco because they struggled before taking victory in Montreal.
The Baku City Circuit would appear as if it’s somewhere in the middle of Monaco and Montreal. Hamilton says “You take each experience and you pile them up. What we learned in Monaco will definitely impact Baku.
“It’s a much longer circuit; I think it’s very smooth, a lot more flat,” he told reporters. Downforce efficiency is going to be important there.”
Mercedes have been recently trying to spin themselves as the underdogs, despite them winning four races and leading the constructors.
Bottas last season, in a Mercedes-powered Williams, put in the fast recorded speed in the history of the sport of 231.523 MPH, during qualifying.
Kaltenborn cuts ties with Sauber
Sources close to Sauber say the team, has parted company with CEO and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. The Indian-Austrian became the first woman team boss in 2012.
Sources say Kaltenborn has left the team with immediate effect, leaving Sauber without a team boss ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Last year, Peter Sauber sold his controlling stake to Swiss finance group Longbow Finance.
According to Sky Sports, the Swiss-based investment firm wanted to bring in their own individual to run the team on a day to day basis. Since 2010 when BMW pulled out, Sauber has struggled to deliver consistency in the midfield and to score points.
Kaltenborn joined Sauber in 2000, as head of legal becoming CEO in 2010. Kaltenborn was a pioneer, the sports first woman team principal alongside Williams’s deputy Claire Williams.
Kaltenborn’s leadership hasn’t been without ‘scandal’, in 2015 she was threatened with prison in Melbourne after the team technically signed three race drivers and two seats. That meant the team had to pay significant compensation to Giedo van der Garde.
Eighth and tenth-placed finishes in the Constructors’ Championship have followed that dispute, with Sauber’s only victory coming in 2008 thanks to Robert Kubica’s Canadian GP triumph.
Sauber has struggled hugely with finances since returning to private hands in 2010. Last year, the very future of Sauber was in the spotlight, as the team failed in the first half of the season to pay wages on time.
Though Pascal Wehrlein’s crucial four points in Spain means McLaren are currently at the bottom of the standings.
News – in – brief
Calendar helps promoters – Formula One CEO Chase Carey has told the FIA Sports Conference that the 2018 calendar will assist promoters in achieving Liberty Media’s goal of improving the experience for fans at events. The calendar was released five months earlier than in recent years
Mercedes not getting involved – Mercedes say they don’t want to interfere in the dispute between McLaren and Honda. McLaren’s criticism of Honda ramped up in Canada when they said they had alternative plans in mind if Honda’s struggles continue, with rumours suggesting it could switch back to Mercedes
Bottas in ‘high pressured uncomfortable situation’
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he understands that Valtteri Bottas is in a high pressured uncomfortable situation because of his one year deal.
Bottas joined Mercedes earlier this year, following the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg. Speaking in Geneva at the FIA Sports Conference, Wolff said he was pleased with Bottas’s start but warned he is unlikely to secure a deal early on.
The reason is that both Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso are out of contract at the end of the year. Speaking at the FIA Sports Conference, Wolff admitted it was an uncomfortable situation.
He said, “When we decided to make Valtteri the offer, he knew that we would be taking our time with the decision going forward because the driver market is more open in 2018 and beyond – 2018 and 2019.”
“That’s why we will not rush into a decision but continue to work with him and see how that pans out. But generally, the view of the team is that he’s done a good job.” Wolff said Bottas’s performance on the track and the way he has integrated into the team has been positive.
Wolff says that while Bottas’s financial was a factor in signing him, it wasn’t the main factor. Saying “Today the revenue model for some of the teams, for most of the teams, is also actually to generate income.”
Williams dismiss Honda rumours
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has dismissed the reports that the team could revive their old Honda partnership, insisting that the team is happy with Mercedes.
According to Swiss newspaper Blick who cited rumours from England, suggested Williams could become the Japanese manufacturer’s main factory focus.
Ms Williams told Talksport “We had a fantastic relationship with them back in the 1980s, but I can categorically say that we have not talked to Honda.”
“We are not here ready with a press release saying we are joining forces with them in 2018. We haven’t talked to them.” She added all Williams knows is that Honda pours money into McLaren, but she would rather be fourth in the championship and have the budget, but be ninth.
Next season Honda will supply Sauber as the second team if they don’t spilt with McLaren. McLaren could according to reports switch back to Mercedes.
Sochi delayed because of world cup
Organisers of the Russian Grand Prix says the reason why next year’s race has been pushed back to September is to avoid clashing with next year’s FIFA World Cup.
The city of Sochi will host group matches and quarter-finals at the Fisht Olympic Stadium which sits at the heart of the circuit.
Governor for the region of Krasnodar Kri, Veniamin Kondratyev told the state news agency Tass “The initiative to change the timing appeared a few months ago, and it is very important that our colleagues supported us.”
He said it is much better that the World Cup and the Russian Grand Prix will no longer clash.
“We are talking about a range of initiatives and events and now both ourselves and our partners will be able to avoid these risks,” he added.