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Mercedes preparing for the demands of Montreal

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Mercedes might already be poised to win the 2014 constructors’ championship in Formula 1, but the team is refusing to lift its foot off the gas just yet, especially in the wake of Valtteri Bottas’ problem in Monaco.

The Williams driver suffered from an engine failure towards the end of the race, causing some concerns for the supplier, Mercedes. The works team co-chief, Paddy Lowe, explained how the it is now investigating just what caused this issue ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.

“We now head to Canada, which is another unusual circuit but in the opposite vein to Monte Carlo,” Lowe explained. “It’s very much a power circuit and we’re looking forward to seeing how the Mercedes-Benz Hybrid package performs around this type of track layout.

“Endurance will also be an important factor given the high demands placed on the components, so this weekend will provide a comprehensive test of the Power Unit.

“There were some concerns after Monaco following a retirement for Valtteri Bottas but the team at Brixworth have been working extremely hard to understand that problem and ensure that it is contained across every engine. We are confident that this will be the case.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has traditionally excelled around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, winning the race on three occasions. As a result, Lowe expects the Briton to be up for a fight to win against teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg.

“In Montreal, we have a circuit at which Lewis has traditionally excelled and, with both him and Nico on top of their game, we’re expecting them to push each other all the way through the weekend once more,” he said. “As always this will of course depend on the team providing a good package and equally strong reliability.

“We will be bringing a number of updates to the car, both on the power unit and aerodynamic side, so it should be an interesting weekend.”

Mercedes may have dominated proceedings so far this season, but Canada could be its biggest win yet.

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen: Verstappen is already “a real pro”

during a media interview at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards on April 15, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
© Getty Images
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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.

In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.

Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.

“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.

“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”

Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.