Vettel 2018 move ‘not on the table right now’ for Mercedes

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says the team is not currently considering a move for Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 season, although he could not rule the German out as an option for next year.

Mercedes currently races with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in F1, the latter having joined the team at the start of the season on a one-year contract following world champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement.

Bottas has made an impressive start to life with Mercedes, winning his fourth race for the team, but his seat is one of the most attractive on the grid.

Vettel is one of the biggest-name drivers out of contract at the end of the year, and currently leads the drivers’ championship by 25 points from Hamilton following his third victory of the season in Monaco last weekend.

Speaking to Press Association, Wolff said that a move for Vettel is not currently on Mercedes’ radar, but added that there are a number of drivers who would be under consideration.

“Taking Sebastian out of the equation at this stage would be silly, but equally it is not on the table right now,” Wolff said.

“I don’t see a reason why Sebastian should leave a team that probably have an equal package with us at the moment.

“‘He would not be the only one to look at. We have our young drivers that are developing well and I like both of the Red Bull drivers.

“When the time comes to assess I think there could be up to 10 drivers we would look at more closely.”

However, Wolff said that if Bottas were to continue his upward trajectory and progression with Mercedes from the early part of the season, the team would have no need to alter its line-up.

“If the season were to continue like it was now, with Valtteri’s performance ramping up all the time and him being an important and well-performing part of the team, I don’t see a reason for change.”

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

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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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.