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Keeping Bottas ‘crucial’ to Williams’ success amid Mercedes rumors

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Williams Formula 1 technical chief Pat Symonds believes that keeping Valtteri Bottas is “crucial” to the team’s future success amid speculation that the Finn could move to Mercedes for 2017.

Following Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire from racing after winning his maiden F1 title at the end of November, Mercedes is currently in the process of signing a replacement for next season.

BBC Sport reported earlier this week that Williams had rejected an advance from Mercedes for Bottas, with the team apparently uneasy about fielding two young drivers in 2017 after being offered Pascal Wehrlein as a replacement.

Bottas is currently set to partner 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll at Williams next year, with Symonds believing that an experienced driver who knows the team will be key to its success.

“We will have Lance Stroll on his debut, with no F1 experience, so to hold on to Bottas will be crucial for our success,” Symonds told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“People often underestimate the importance of continuity. Despite all the instruments we have, the driver is still the final link between the engineers and the data to be interpreted.

“You can replace one of them, but you need the other as a milestone, especially in a season of rule changes as 2017 will be.

“To lose him would have heavy consequences on the team.”

Bottas made his F1 debut with Williams back in 2013, and finished a career-high of fourth in the drivers’ championship during his sophomore season.

The Finn was thought to be in contention for a Ferrari seat in 2016, only for the Italian marque to stick with Kimi Raikkonen for another year.

Bottas was subject to interest from Renault for the 2017 season amid its ongoing rebuild, but he opted to remain with Williams, as confirmed by the team at the beginning of November.

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

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