Williams retains Massa and Bottas for 2015 F1 season

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MONZA, ITALY – Williams Martini Racing has confirmed that both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be remaining with the team for the 2015 Formula 1 season.

In a press conference ahead of today’s Italian Grand Prix, team founder Sir Frank Williams presented both drivers to the media and was delighted to announce the news.

“Both of our drivers are very hard working, and understand who the competition is,” he said. “Beating the best is very, very difficult, but with our driver pairing, we will be strong in the constructors’ championship, and both of our two drivers could be world champion next year.

“That’s our announcement: both of our drivers will be staying with us next season. I’m delighted personally. This is really a triumph for us I think.”

Williams has turned its fortunes around in 2014, bouncing back from one of its worst ever campaigns. After scoring just five points in the entirety of last year, the team currently ranks fourth in the constructors’ championship, and is in the race to finish ahead of bigger teams such as Ferrari and McLaren.

For Massa, this announcement confirms that he will enjoy a second season with the team following his move from Ferrari at the end of last year.

“It’s fantastic to be part of the Williams team,” the Brazilian said. “It’s an amazing team with fantastic people. It’s like a family.

“It’ll be fantastic to do another championship next year and we are preparing to make this team stronger and stronger, bigger and bigger and I’m sure we can do a great job for the second part of the championship this year fighting with four teams.”

Valtteri Bottas has been one of the breakout stars of the 2014 season, scoring four podium finishes and producing some stunning drives that reportedly caught the eye of McLaren. However, the Finn will not be on the move for 2015.

“First of all I’m really, really happy to continue with the team for next year. With Williams, I got the opportunity to get to Formula 1, so I’m very pleased [the team] gave me the opportunity.

“Why is it good to stay? Why not? We are on the right way. We have made a big step from last year. The team has a really good future and we are not yet at the peak.

“Williams has in the past many, many years at the top, so I’m really confident we can do it again it again, so I’m really looking forward to next year.”

With this announcement, the 2015 F1 driver market begins to become a bit clearer. Reports had linked Bottas with a move away from the team, whilst the likes of Jenson Button and Felipe Nasr were rumored to be in the running for a seat at Williams.

However, it now looks even more likely that the status quo from 2014 in the top teams will remain for next season.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.