Mercedes’ Wolff: Brawn is still the boss

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With Lewis Hamilton having publicly backed his Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn amidst rumors that he’ll be leaving in the near-future, one of the team’s key management figures has said that Brawn will still be in charge even with an expected, end-of-season arrival of former McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe.

“One doesn’t obviate the other. Ross is team principal and I don’t want to change that,” Toto Wolff told Formula One’s official website. “We need to get stability in the team as we have a mountain of work to do. From where this team is coming, it is important to have as many good people as possible – that is my focus in all these discussions.”

In addition, Wolff said he wasn’t surprised by Hamilton speaking out in favor of his boss (“I signed with him being here and I’m very happy working with him,” the former World Champion said last weekend in Bahrain).

“Everybody has the highest esteem for Ross and I would be completely mistaken were I to question Ross’ technical skills – someone who has won seven or eight titles,” Wolff said. “Who am I in this respect? I have been in Formula One for only three years. So I completely agree with every word Lewis said.”

Furthermore, Wolff told the F1 website that the most useful lesson he’s learned in his short tenure with Mercedes is understanding “what it needs to make Ross function – or how he functions.”

Lowe is currently on what’s been called a “gardening leave” until the end of the 2013 championship. He has served in multiple capacities for McLaren since 1993, and assumed the team’s technical director role in 2011.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.