Ecclestone: Dominant Red Bull won’t get tired, leave F1

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Four years into Red Bull’s reign of dominance in Formula One, and it’s still pretty amazing that an energy drink company, of all things, has come in and created a team capable of beating the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.

Their latest triumph was a thorough one as well, with both team and driver Sebastian Vettel claiming their fourth consecutive championships in the constructors’ and drivers’ categories respectively with three races to go in the 2013 season.

It’s a remarkable achievement to win one championship, but what Red Bull’s done is even more impressive. However, when you’ve continually shown yourselves to be at the top of your game, you can wind up pondering over new challenges to conquer.

So, would Red Bull one day take a look around F1, say ‘we’ve done all we can here’, and move out? For his part, F1 kingpin Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think so.

In comments to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport, the British billionaire cites the drive of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the bounty that the team’s received thanks to its current run of glory, and the benefits of doing business in F1 as reasons why he’s not counting on an exodus anytime soon.

“Dietrich Mateschitz is so competitive, he loves racing, he likes when his car wins,” Ecclestone explained. “The successes of recent years also mean his team has earned much more than some of the others.

“Not only that, where else is he going to find as good a platform to advertise his brand?”

F1 is a nice platform indeed, but considering Red Bull’s ubiquitous stature in the landscapes of both sports and pop culture, it’s not the only one that the beverage giant has.

Still, you figure Ecclestone’s right to think Red Bull won’t leave F1 any time soon. The group enjoys worldwide exposure every weekend during the season, boasts one of the greatest drivers to ever race in F1 in Vettel, and has even managed to revive the Austrian Grand Prix for this coming season at its Red Bull Ring track.

Nothing lasts forever, of course. But right now, Red Bull’s presence in the sport appears ready to continue for a while.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.