Williams open to letting Valtteri Bottas move to Mercedes F1 for 2017

© Getty Images
0 Comments

Williams is open to letting Valtteri Bottas move to Mercedes for the 2017 Formula 1 season, so long as it can find a “credible, experienced” driver to replace him.

Mercedes has one free seat for the 2017 season following Nico Rosberg’s shock decision to retire from racing just five days after winning his maiden F1 World Championship.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Williams had rejected an initial approach from Mercedes for Bottas, knocking back an offer that included a discount on engines and junior driver Pascal Wehrlein’s services for 2017.

Williams was apparently uneasy about partnering sophomore Wehrlein, 22, with rookie driver Lance Stroll, 18, for next season at a time when development will be key under revised technical regulations.

Speaking to BBC Sport, deputy team principal Claire Williams said that she would be open to letting Bottas leave, but only if an experienced driver could be signed in his place.

“I’m delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico,” Williams said.

“We have always known Valtteri is one of the sport’s key talents and are proud that the championship leaders recognize this.

“However, Williams has its own ambitions and we must always ensure we give our team the best opportunity to move forward. Any changes would only be made if Williams remains in a strong position to compete and develop in 2017.

“If we did allow Valtteri to leave, we would only do this if an experienced, credible alternative was available, such as someone like Felipe Massa, for example.

“Whatever we decide, it must be in the best interests of this team.”

Massa announced his retirement from F1 in September, making his 250th and final start for Williams in Abu Dhabi as his 14-year career came to an end.

However, a report from French newspaper L’Equipe published this morning said that the team was in “advanced” talks with Massa about a possible comeback in 2017 should Bottas leave for Mercedes.

Much like Mercedes is now, Williams would find itself scrambling for a new driver should a seat become free, with the majority of the grid already locked into contracts for next year.

Mercedes confirmed earlier today that it would make no announcement regarding its driver line-up until after the new year.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
0 Comments

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.