Hakkinen comments on Bottas rumors, backs Hamilton over team orders

4 Comments

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen is not surprised by speculation linking protegé Valtteri Bottas away from Williams for 2015.

The Finn has been the breakout driver of the season so far, scoring three podium finishes and the majority of Williams’ points. After a difficult 2013 campaign with a troublesome car, Bottas has now flourished and met the expectations that many had for him.

Naturally, this has led to speculation about his future, with British newspaper The Guardian linking the Finn with a move to McLaren for 2015. For Hakkinen, this comes as little surprise.

“This is quite natural,” the Finn wrote in his column for Hermes. “Valtteri is still a young driver who has been in Formula 1 for only a short time.

“Valtteri is interesting not only because of his speed; he can motivate the others in the team and manages to create an atmosphere, as it is necessary for success.

“There is interest and that is good. What happens in the future remains to be seen.”

Hakkinen also gave his support to Lewis Hamilton following the Briton’s decision to ignore team orders during the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton was given the call to let teammate Nico Rosberg past as they were on different strategies, but did not allow him to do so. He eventually finished the race ahead of Rosberg, cutting the German’s championship lead to eleven points.

“Nico had the greater pace and softer tires, so the team thought Lewis should let Nico past for the best result,” Hakkinen wrote. “Lewis, of course, looked and noticed that Nico was not close enough in the rear-view mirror.

“He probably worked out that it made no sense to let Nico past because he would lose two seconds and a place on the podium. In my opinion, Lewis was right.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
Leave a comment

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.”