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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 01:  Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff and Mercedes GP non-executive chairman Niki Lauda in the Paddock during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 1, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Wolff, Lauda renew deals at F1 champion Mercedes

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BRACKLEY, England (AP) Two leading officials at Formula One team Mercedes have signed new contracts through 2020, concluding a busy offseason of activity at the world champions.

Mercedes announced Monday that Toto Wolff, the head of motorsport, and Niki Lauda, the non-executive chairman, have renewed their deals.

Wolff joined Mercedes from Williams in February 2013 and owns 30 percent of shares in the team. Niki Lauda began working with Mercedes in late 2012 and holds a 10 percent stake.

Since winning a third straight constructors’ title last year, Mercedes has seen executive director Paddy Lowe announce his departure to join Williams and world champion driver Nico Rosberg retire and replaced by Valtteri Bottas.

F1: Williams team retains Di Resta as reserve driver for 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17:  Paul Di Resta of Great Britain and Williams in the Paddock during previews to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 17, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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LONDON (AP) British driver Paul Di Resta has been retained as reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team this season.

Di Resta raced in F1 for Force India from 2011-13, scoring 121 points with a best finish of fourth, but was not retained in 2014.

After two years away from F1, the 30-year-old Scotsman returned last year as reserve driver for Williams.

The new season starts at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 26, where Di Resta will be back up to Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa and 18-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll.

Massa retired from F1 after last year’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but returned when Valtteri Bottas left Williams to join Mercedes after world champion Nico Rosberg’s surprise decision to quit.

Sauber reveals its 2017 challenger for 25th year in F1

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Sauber F1 Team has revealed its C36 chassis, which takes on a deep blue and white livery to commemorate 25 years in Formula 1 (debuted in 1993) and is a redesign from the ground up according to its new technical director Jorg Zander.

The team scored points only once last year with Felipe Nasr coming ninth at the Brazilian Grand Prix, although those two points were enough to move it ahead of Manor for 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship. Nasr though is replaced by Pascal Wehrlein for the season alongside Marcus Ericsson, with Antonio Giovinazzi set to fill in for Wehrlein at the first test next week in Barcelona.

“We clearly have to improve,” said team principa Monisha Kaltenborn. “With the Sauber C36-Ferrari we have a solid basis as well as the resources to further develop the Sauber C36-Ferrari through the season. This will be important to establish in mid-field.”

Zander described the changes to the car, based on the new 2017 regulations.

“We put greater emphasis on aerodynamic stability as opposed to maximizing downforce,” Zander said. “Basically, big teams also have an advantage when it comes to major changes in the regulations, but when the cards are reshuffled new opportunities always present themselves as well.”

You can read the full release from Sauber here.

F1 2017 set to spark into life next week with car launches

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 17:  The RB11 featuring the 2016 livery is unveiled during the launch event for PUMA and Red Bull Racing's 2016 Livery and Teamwear at Old Truman Brewery on February 17, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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The official start of the new Formula 1 season in Australia may still be over a month away, but next week will see the 2017 racing year spark into life as all 10 teams launch their cars.

2017 will mark the beginning of a new era for F1 following an overhaul of the technical regulations, giving us faster, more radical looking cars.

With any rule change, a re-shuffle of the pecking order is possible, although defending champion team Mercedes will be keen to extend its run of three successive world title doubles to four.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap for F1 over the next eight days, taking us to the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Spain.

MONDAY FEBRUARY 20

Sauber will be the first team to reveal its new car in the flesh next week, with the C36 breaking cover on Monday. Sauber could be set to move away from its recent bold blue livery, potentially incorporating more white into the design as part of its 25th anniversary in F1 celebrations.

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 21

Following Sauber, Renault is next up on the launch schedule, with the R.S.17 set to be unveiled in London on Tuesday. Nico Hulkenberg will be on hand for the launch following his move from Force India, with Jolyon Palmer continuing at Renault following his rookie campaign in 2016.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 22

Force India will follow suit on Wednesday, presenting the VJM10 car to the media at Silverstone. Sergio Perez is joined at the team by Esteban Ocon for 2017, the Frenchman having raced at Manor for the second half of last year.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23

Thursday sees the first of the ‘big guns’ launch their 2017 car – and they come no bigger than Mercedes right now. The W08 will also be revealed at Silverstone before completing a filming run on-track, with both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas set to attend.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24

Friday is the first double-launch day as both Ferrari and McLaren reveal their cars. As is tradition, Ferrari will reveal its car at its test track at Fiorano, but the real talking point is McLaren’s unveil. A livery change is set to happen, with orange due to be incorporated somehow as a new era begins for the British team. McLaren will reveal its car at its factory in Woking, England.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25

We already know what Williams’ 2017 F1 car, the FW40, looks like after the team released a couple of renders earlier this week. However, the team will officially launch the car on Saturday ahead of the start of pre-season testing.

SUNDAY FEBRUARY 26

The day before testing begins in Barcelona is set to be the busiest. Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso will both launch on Sunday, as will Haas ahead of its second season in F1. Toro Rosso is rumored to be planning a significant livery change for its car.

MONDAY FEBRUARY 27

With the launches done, next Monday will see testing begin in earnest in Barcelona. Running will take place each day until March 2, with another four-day test schedule for March 7-10.

Haas confirms driver running order for Barcelona F1 tests

MONTMELO, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 24:  Romain Grosjean of France and Haas F1 drives during day three of F1 winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on February 24, 2016 in Montmelo, Spain.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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The Haas Formula 1 team has confirmed its driver running order for the two upcoming collective tests in Barcelona, Spain.

Haas will unveil its new car for 2017, the VF-17, on Sunday ahead of the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on February 27.

New signing Kevin Magnussen will get the first run in the VF-17, having joined Haas from Renault during the winter.

Magnussen will take the first two days in Barcelona before handing the reins over to Romain Grosjean, who returns to Haas after an impressive year leading its charge in 2016, for days three and four.

Magnussen will once again open proceedings for Haas at the second test, starting on March 7, and is also due to run on March 9. Grosjean takes March 8 and March 10, the latter being the final day of testing before the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia.

“In our first test of the season, you try to make sure everything works as you designed it,” Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said.

“You just prove out whatever you did, and in the second part of the test, you try to get performance out of the car. Or, better said, you try to get performance as quickly as possible.

“First of all, make sure everything works. Everything is new on the car. The first test is quite important just from a reliability factor.

“You try to learn as much as possible about the car. You get the baseline on the car and you work off that baseline the rest of the year.”

Haas F1 Team – Barcelona Test Schedule

Test 1
February 27 – Kevin Magnussen
February 28 – Kevin Magnussen
March 1 – Romain Grosjean
March 2 – Romain Grosjean

Test 2
March 7 – Kevin Magnussen
March 8 – Romain Grosjean
March 9 – Kevin Magnussen
March 10 – Romain Grosjean