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Bottas set for five-place grid penalty at Silverstone after gearbox change

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Valtteri Bottas is set to receive a five-place grid penalty for this weekend’s British Grand Prix after his Mercedes Formula 1 team was forced to change the gearbox on his car.

Bottas led both FP1 and FP2 for Mercedes at Silverstone on Friday, but his hopes of a second straight win following last Sunday’s victory in Austria have been dashed after the team confirmed his gearbox had been damaged.

The Finn’s gearbox has not reached the end of its required life cycle, meaning he will drop five places on the grid following the change, just as teammate Lewis Hamilton did in Austria.

“I can confirm that Valtteri will be taking a new gearbox this weekend and therefore incurring a five-place grid penalty,” a spokesperson from Mercedes said.

“His gearbox was damaged in the same way as Lewis’ but less severely, and we had hoped to coax it to the end of the cycle. However, we have not been able to do so.

“The cause of the damage is understood and now behind us, just as for Lewis’ problem.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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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.”