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Williams taking ‘wait and see’ approach on Massa’s F1 future

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Williams is taking a “wait and see” approach on deciding Felipe Massa’s Formula 1 future, preferring to focus on its performances on-track towards the end of the 2017 season than distract itself with driver discussions.

Massa, 36, had planned to retire from F1 at the end of last season, only for world champion Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement and Valtteri Bottas’ subsequent move up to Mercedes to free up a seat at Williams once again.

Massa has appeared to enjoy a new lease of life in 2017, finding the new-style cars both fun and challenging as well as leading Williams’ charge on-track alongside rookie teammate Lance Stroll.

The Brazilian’s performances have led to suggestions he could continue for a second year beyond his planned exit from F1, but deputy team boss Claire Williams is not looking to firm anything up yet.

“Felipe has done a fantastic job, it’s been a bonus year for us. He very kindly came back and he’s really delivered for us,” Williams said.

“Obviously the past couple of races have been tough for him with his medical issue [in Hungary] but we’re through that now and we’re looking forward to him delivering for the rest of the year and we really just have to wait and see.

“I think I’ve made it really clear that the team at the moment are focusing on the constructors’ championship, we need to make sure that we consolidate our P5.

“I don’t think we’re going to close the gap to [Force India], unfortunately, but there’s a lot of teams behind us that would love to overtake us and take that P5 and we can’t afford that.

“So for us the focus really has to be on track performance at the moment rather than diluting that effort with thoughts about driver line-up.

“There’s still eight races to go, there’s plenty of time to be thinking about next year.”

Pirelli reveals new super-hard, hyper-soft F1 tires in Abu Dhabi

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Pirelli has confirmed it will add two new tires to its range for the 2018 Formula 1 season, launching the ‘super-hard’ and ‘hyper-soft’ compounds in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Pirelli currently makes three of its five dry compounds available to teams for each race weekend, and despite varying selections across the course of the season has struggled to offer much in terms of strategy options, with one-stop races being the norm.

The hope is that the addition of two new tire compounds and a re-alignment of their durability will offer teams more choices in races.

Pirelli confirmed plans to introduce a new softest tire below the current ultra-soft earlier this month, inviting fans to pick a name.

The pink-colored compound will be known as the ‘hyper-soft’ from next year, with the arrival of a new ‘super-hard’ (colored ‘ice blue’) also being confirmed at a launch event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“Compared to this year, when the tires grew by 25% to fit a brand-new generation of cars, the changes for next year are less far-reaching,” Pirelli head of car racing Mario Isola said.

“However, we’re pleased to present some important innovations with softer and faster compounds across the range: including the new hypersoft.

“We realized that, under the unique circumstances of this year, some of our 2017 compounds were perhaps conservative: the tires we have created for 2018 addresses this, in line with the objective of having around two pit stops at most races.

“However, the fundamental design concept of the tires hasn’t changed next year, preserving the attributes that all drivers have appreciated this year and allowing them to push hard from the start to the finish of each stint.

“The new range consists of faster tires that should lead to even harder and more spectacular racing in 2018.”

Besides the seven dry compounds made available, there will be the two rain tires – wet and intermediate – taking it to a total of nine for the 2018 season.