Reporters – 16/12/2018

Features Reporters

2018 was a difficult season for Valtteri Bottas with some questions about his performances compared to Lewis Hamilton has been not great. But despise this Mercedes still believe that the Finn is equal to the five times champion?

Bottas is a “alpha” driver like Hamilton

Mercedes CEO and team principal Toto Wolff has reiterated how important Valtteri Bottas was in the team securing both the drivers and constructors championship this season, describing them both as “alpha” drivers.

Bottas failed to win a race this season, while on his way to his fifth title Hamilton equalled his career best with eleven wins. The Finn missed out on two wins this season, the first in Baku because of a puncher and in Sochi he gave up a win to help his teammates title hopes.

Wolff has defended Bottas’s record this season given the number-two role he was forced into by circumstance, and declared to, “we wouldn’t have won the drivers’ championship or the constructors’ championship without Valtteri”.

“To strike the right balance between having two alpha pilots in the car, that are able to push each other, but equally maintain a positive dynamic within the team, a productive working environment is key. Valtteri, even with his bad luck, did never allow the spirit and the mindset to drop within the organisation.”

Wolff says that Bottas was always able to maintain high sprits and kept the team from becoming dysfunctional, as losing out can bed raining.

Bottas could of lead the championship after Baku where alate puncher cost him the win. It will be hard to say and debated into the future if that was the moment his season and championship campaign.

He was hit by Sebastian Vettel at the first corner in France, then retired from the next race in Austria after starting from pole. Strategic decisions went against him in Britain and Hungary, which meant Bottas went into the summer break, trailing Hamilton by 81 points.

But despite his difficulties in the first half of the season, Wolff says that he believes Bottas performed at a higher level and believes he can become and is focused on being a Mercedes champion.

Wolff added “I am sure that it is a big blow that you significant challenge digest and he has not let this negatively affect the team. He needs some time off to recharge the batteries and come back again for another world championship.”

Sergey Sirotkin is leaving F1 after a single season, after his backers decided not to support another season why did despite reassurances did SMP Racing decide to spilt with Williams?

Sirotkin thought it was “obvious” he would stay

Sergey Sirotkin believes it was looking “quite obvious” until the very end that he would get a second season with Williams. The Russian made his debut for the team this season, however, his backers have decided to split with the team.

SMP Racing has said that its decision to split with Williams was because of Williams’s poor performance and is understood to have lacked faith it would be a worthwhile investment next year.

Williams has signed Robert Kubica to partner George Russell for next season. Sirotkin told ”I would strongly hope for [asecond season] and it looked like it was the case. It looked quite obvious it would be the case for quite a while. But it’s F1, it’s a difficult world.”

“To get success there are also many, many different parameters which unfortunately most of the time aren’t up to the performance of the driver or whatever.”

The Muscovite cored a solitary point in his rookie season, aided by Romain Grosjean’s disqualification at the Italian Grand Prix. However, he defeated teammate Lance Stroll in the qualifying battle despite Stroll’s extra year’s experience and beat him in eight times they both finished.

Sirotkin had hoped that something would change in the last few weeks, but the discussions made it clear that it wasn’t going the way he wanted.

Asked to reflect on what being a Grand Prix driver was like compared to his expectations, Sirotkin reiterated comments earlier in the season that he could probably have been less intensive with his off-track commitments at the Williams factory.

AI or artificial intelligence is changing our world, and from next season new graphics will be introduced. But what changes and benefits could it bring for the fans?

New data for fans using AI

Formula One will use artificial intelligence to help explain the racing better to fans, using some data not available to the teams themselves, during broadcasts next season.

This year the sport entered into a partnership with Amazon Web Services to provide new graphics using its Sagemaker tool. Broadcasts used several new graphics in the 2018 season and bosses plan to increase this further next year.

F1 managing director for motorsports and technical director Ross Brawn says that he wants to give the fans access to some of the data available to teams on the pit-wall, he also believes AI can give TV viewers aunique insight of every race.

He told ESPN, “For the 2018 F1 season we started the process. We’re digging deeper to show you where the performance is coming from– when is a car faster, why is it faster? For next season we’re expanding F1 Insights for our viewers.”

“By further integrating the telemetry data, such as the car position, the tyre condition, even the weather, we can use Sagemaker to predict car performance, pit-stops and race strategy.” Brawn gave three different examples on a screen, each of which focused on a key aspect of any grand prix: wheel-to-wheel racing, car performance and pit-stop strategy.

Brawn who has won multiple constructors championships, admitted this was uncharted territory for the sport and says that it will be a fascinating insight for fans.

“We as Formula One know the data from both cars and we can make this comparison, that’s never been done before.”

As for helping fans better understand pit-stops and the strategy around each race, Brawn said: “It’s major strategic element of the race and one stop is mandatory. Stopping at the right time, fitting the right tyre, can win or lose a race.

And that’s all from Reporters for this week, next week we have a special edition looking back at some of the biggest stories from 2018. Goodbye


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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