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Bernie Ecclestone denies planning to set up rival series to F1

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Recently-deposed Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has issued a statement to clear up speculation suggesting that he is planning to set up a rival championship.

Ecclestone resigned as F1 CEO on Monday after over 40 years at the helm of the sport, making way for American executive Chase Carey to take over the role following the completion of Liberty Media’s takeover.

In his first comments since his exit was confirmed on Monday, Ecclestone issued a statement responding to speculation that he could create a rival series to F1.

“I wish to clear up the rumors that I am starting a series to compete against the FIA Formula One World Championship,” Ecclestone said, as per Press Association.

“I have built the championship over the last near 50 years, which is something I am proud of, and the last thing I want is to see it damaged.

“The new owner of the company will be able to carry out the administration of the company in a different way to the way I had, which was to produce financial results for the shareholders, the normal actions of a chief executive.

“This, I have done for the different shareholders over the last years and also when I owned 100 per cent of the company. I would have loved the luxury of what Chase Carey, the CEO, is able to do.

“I hope the F1 supporters appreciate this as Chase intends to put money back into the sport.

“I am very touched by the support and thanks that I have received from the people that I have dealt with over the years.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.