Bottas sees Singapore as chance to score first points

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Williams rookie Valtteri Bottas has acknowledged that his best chance to score his first points in Formula One will come at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix thanks to the circuit’s high rate of attrition.

Traditionally, there have been a large number of retirements during the race at Marina Bay, meaning that drivers lower down the grid do get a chance to move up into the points. For example, at last year’s race, Timo Glock managed to finish P12 for Marussia; a result that very nearly secured the team tenth place in the 2012 constructors’ championship. Furthermore, in every edition of the race so far, there has been at least one safety car period. For Bottas, this does present a good chance to pick up some points.

“I think so, this should be the place to get the points,” the Finn said when asked by NBC Sports in Friday’s press conference whether Singapore would be the best opportunity for him to get off the mark.

“Like you said, a lot of things can happen in the race and safety cars etc. If some of the little updates work and we can get a little more speed and be a bit closer to the top ten in pure pace, then it’s always possible to get points and we need to keep pushing for that.”

Williams have endured a nightmarish season so far, scoring just a solitary point from the opening thirteen races. This kind of form is a far cry from their achievements in 2012, when Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish Grand Prix and Bruno Senna was a regular points scorer. However, in a race notorious for surprises, the team’s luck could be set to change.

McLaren unveils 2018 F1 car, the MCL33

Photo: Getty Images
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McLaren F1 Team became the latest to launch their 2018 challenger on Friday, taking the covers off their new MCL33 chassis early on Friday morning.

McLaren endured a difficult 2017 season of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with their partnership with Honda eventually dissolving after a troublesome power unit saw them plagued by unreliability and low power.

A switch to Renault power units is expected to see them get an uptick in form, and the MCL33 chassis itself is actually an evolution on last year’s MCL32. Still, the team highlighted areas to improve upon, and aims for a return to prominence in 2018.

“The McLaren team was created by a brave pioneer, and has had bravery at its core ever since. Whether it’s been with brave drivers, brave leaders or brave fortune, this team has always fought back. And we definitely view 2018 as the year when McLaren will move closer to the front, fighting teams and drivers as we improve our fortunes,” said Zak Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology Group.

Brown also highlighted the car’s new papaya orange livery, a throwback to some of the most popular color schemes that have adorned McLaren entrants in a variety of disciplines. Brown indicated that this came about from requests of fans who wanted to see such a livery return to the McLaren marque.

“Our return to a papaya orange livery for this year wasn’t simply an emotional decision; it demonstrates that we are listening to our fans, building deeper engagement with them and the Formula 1 community as a whole. We want McLaren to earn respect on and off the track, and this felt like a good starting point. We want to show everyone what makes this team special, whether that’s our fans or our partners – there’s room for more on our journey.”

The team’s racing director Eric Boullier expressed optimism about the team’s potential for 2018, but also acknowledged the season will be sure to see its fair share of challenges.

“I think the whole team feels proud of this car,” he asserted. “The design, engineering and aerodynamic departments have done an incredible job delivering a new car with a new power unit in an extremely short timeframe. We never took the easy route or looked to shortcut a process or a solution; and the result is a car that is neat and well-resolved.

“That said, we are under no illusions that it will be difficult to splinter the hegemony at the front; and that the midfield will be full of well-funded, experienced outfits with plenty to prove. We are humble about the challenge ahead, but feel we’ve prepared well, have a solid package that we can build upon and exploit as the season progresses, and have two excellent drivers who will make the difference in races.”

The MCL33 took to the track on Friday for filming at a test track in Spain, and will be run in anger for the first time when testing begins next week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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