Bottas disappointed by uncompetitive Williams

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Formula One rookie Valtteri Bottas admits he is disappointed by Williams’ lapse in form over the off-season.

Bottas made his F1 debut in Australia for the team that won the Spanish Grand Prix last year and had the sixth-fastest car of 2012.

But the new FW35 has given the team a lot of trouble and is yet to score a point.

“Of course I was hoping to fight for better positions,” he told Autosport.

“The goal is to get higher and be consistently in the points. It’s what the team was hoping for and what I’m hoping for so of course it’s a bit disappointing.”

Williams’ struggle comes as a surprise after a competitive 2012 and a promising off-season. Bottas and team mate Pastor Maldonado sang the praises of the FW32 after driving it for the first time.

But the new exhaust package the team ran at the final test has failed to work as expected and technical director Mike Coughlan admitted they are considering reverting to last year’s design. Bottas added “some things were better in the car” the team ran last year.

The team’s 2013 campaign has also been struck by personal loss. Team founder Frank Williams’ wife Virginia passed away from cancer shortly before the start of the season.

Daughter Claire Williams was set to take over as deputy team principal but the personnel change was postponed following the team’s bereavement. The next round in China will be her first race in the new role which Coughlan filled in the interim.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”