Sauber shows new C36

sauberSauber has shown the first pictures of the new C36, which retains its basic blue livery but in a much revised design.

Technical director Jorg Zander said that the team had “put greater emphasis on aerodynamic stability as opposed to maximising downforce.

The team will use the engine spec with which Ferrari the 2016 season. Zander noted that it was “a tried and tested system with higher durability to begin with,” adding that “being able to get started early and defining the engine environment was an advantage because the team was familiar with the engine and the transmission as well as the cooling requirements the engine entailed.”

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Wolff and Lauda extend Mercedes contracts to 2020

Mercedes F1 bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have extended their contracts with the team until the end of 2020.

The significance of that date is that it is aligned with the end of the current commercial agreements with F1, made by Bernie Ecclestone. From 2021 onwards new owners Liberty will have to put new deals in place. Wolff and Lauda are also shareholders in the team, so the timing of the deal is logical

In 2013, we restructured the management of the Team with the clear goal of improving our performance,” said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman and CEO of Daimler AG. Since then, however, the results have exceeded our expectations. A key factor in this success has been the combination of Toto’s entrepreneurial skills and Niki’s experience. Their renewed commitment gives our programme important continuity for the next four years.”

The last few years have been some of the most enjoyable I have had in Formula One,” said Lauda. “Toto and I formed a perfect partnership at Mercedes and we have a great team on every level that has delivered results.”

Wolff added: “Winning is never down to single individuals – it is about the right group of people coming together, aligning themselves with a common objective and then combining their talents to achieve that target. Each day I come to the factory, I am humbled to have the privilege of representing this inspiring group of people.”

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Allison confirmed as Mercedes technical director

Mercedes has finally confirmed the long expected arrival of former Renault and Ferrari man James Allison as replacement for Paddy Lowe.

Allison has the new job title of technical director, but in essence he fills Lowe’s shoes and will report directly to Toto Wolff. He will start work officially on March 1st.

His appointment is a big boost for Mercedes, with some observers believing that the loss of both Lowe and Nico Rosberg would cost the team some momentum.

It’s a massive privilege to be given the trust of a position in a team that has done so spectacularly well in the past three seasons,” he said. “I am really looking forward to playing my part in helping Mercedes go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

Wolff added: “Our technical team is extremely skilled at every level and at the top of its game after delivering three world championships in a row. It wasn’t an easy task to find the right personality who can strengthen our experienced group of engineers, give our talented young team members the space to develop and also bring his own vision to this role. James is a sharp engineer; I think we have found the perfect guy and the right fit with our senior leaders.”

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Liberty confirms Ecclestone’s demotion to advisory role

Liberty Media has formally confirmed that Bernie Ecclestone has been succeeded as the CEO of F1 by Chase Carey, who already held the chairman title.

The company says that Ecclestone will be the “Chairman Emeritus” and “will be available as a source of advice for the board of F1.” Liberty will be renamed the F1 Group later this week.

I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO,” said Carey in a statement. “F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans overtime.

I would like to recognise and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie’s role as Chairman Emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved.”

Greg Maffei, President and CEO of Liberty Media Corporation, said: “There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this. I’d like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes Chairman Emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport.”

I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1,” said Ecclestone. “And would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with. I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

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FIA World Council green lights Liberty F1 deal

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has formally approved the sale of the F1 business, just a day after Liberty Media’s shareholders agreed that the deal could go through pending the go-ahead from the governing body.

The FIA’s role in the sale has come under some scrutiny as it owns 1% of the business, and as such stands to benefit.

Liberty made a presentation at the WMSC meeting in Geneva today, before the deal was voted through.

A statement today from the FIA said: “The World Motor Sport Council has unanimously approved the change of control of Delta Topco Limited (the holding company of the Formula One Group and thus the owner of the Commercial Rights of the FIA Formula One World Championship) from CVC Capital Partners in favour of Liberty Media Corporation at an extraordinary meeting today in Geneva.

The transaction will see the transfer of 100% of the shares in Delta Topco to Liberty Media Group, one of the tracking stocks of Liberty Media Corporation.

During the meeting, the representatives of the prospective new owner made a detailed presentation of their strategy. The members of the World Motor Sport Council then had the opportunity to ask questions about the specifics of the agreement, the ongoing working relationship with the FIA and Liberty’s plans for the sport.

Liberty, Formula One Group and the FIA intend to collaborate to create a constructive relationship that will ensure the continued success and the development of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the long term.

The World Motor Sport Council’s decision confirms the FIA’s belief that Liberty, as a renowned media organisation with expertise in both sport and entertainment, is clearly well positioned to ensure the continued development of its pinnacle Championship.

The FIA holds a one per cent shareholding in Delta Topco. As part of the sale by CVC to Liberty Media Corporation, and in line with the agreements between the FIA and the Formula One Group, the FIA will be dragged along in the sale process under the same conditions as CVC and all the other shareholders.

The FIA looks forward to working with the new owners of the Formula One Group on further developing the unrivalled global spectacle that is the FIA Formula One World Championship for all stakeholders.”

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Mercedes finally confirms Bottas arrival

After weeks of speculation Mercedes has finally confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will replace the retired Nico Rosberg this season.

Williams had earlier said that Bottas is moving to Mercedes, and will be replaced by Felipe Massa.

The Finn made a speech to team members in the Brackley factory, accompanied by Toto Wolff.

Wolff noted: “I think Valtteri fits very well in our team, as a driver he’s very fast, and he has also the heart in the right place. He shares our values and passion, and he’s modest and humble and he’s hard working.”

Although Mercedes did initially explore all its options – and there was no shortage of enquiring phone calls – other big names were contractually tied elsewhere, and it soon became clear that Bottas was the

The deal was eased by the fact that Williams is a Mercedes customer, and Wolff’s role as part of the Finn’s management team. However Pascal Wehrlein was kept on standby as a back-up in case he was needed.

In addition to coming to a commercial arrangement with Mercedes Williams had to find a replacement, and persuading Massa to return from his brief retirement, which was forced on him by the lack of a top drive, was not too difficult.

It’s very exciting times for me,” said Bottas. “I think it’s going to take a while to understand that this is really happening. It’s definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history – especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive. I’m really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity.

“I’ve had a really warm welcome so far. Of course, I have a lot more people to meet and new faces to remember. But initially everything has felt very good. I’m really impressed with the facilities and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better. My first experience with Mercedes power was in F3 back in 2009 and, of course, I know the Power Unit well from the last three years with Williams. But there are a lot of new things to learn with the car and also with how the team operates at the factory, in testing and at the races.”

Bottas knows that he faces a tough challenge.

“I’m ready to work hard, to prove myself to the team and to prove my skills. It’s going to be a challenging season and joining a new team makes it more work than normal. But I’m 100% ready for that. I’m training hard to be at my physical best because it will be much tougher with these new cars. I always set the bar really high, so my target is to perform from the first race. I’m full of energy and ready to get to work for this year and hopefully many more to come with Mercedes.”

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Williams confirms Massa is back for 2017

Williams has confirmed that Felipe Massa has changed his mind about retirement and will return to the team as a race driver in 2017, on a one-year deal.

The Brazilian replaces Valtteri Bottas, whose deal to join Mercedes has finally been completed after weeks of negotiation.

Massa announced his retirement well before the end of the 2016 season, but it was clear that he had been motivated in large part by the lack of an offer to stay with the Grove team, which already had its sights set on Lance Stroll. With no obvious decent opportunity elsewhere, he preferred to walk away on a high.

However when it became obvious that Bottas was available to Mercedes he was quickly approached about the vacant seat.

The announcement is also good news for Bernie Ecclestone, the Interlagos promoters and Brazil’s Globo TV company, all of whom were keen to ensure that there was a Brazilian driver on the grid in 2016.

Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams,” said Massa. “I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve. Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.

In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 Formula One campaign, it felt like the right thing to do. I certainly have not lost any of my enthusiasm for racing and I’m extremely motivated to be coming back to drive the FW40. The support from my fans over the last few weeks has been a huge boost and I’m grateful for that. I also look forward to working with Lance; I’ve known him for many years and seen his talent develop during that time, so I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said; “I’m delighted that Felipe has agreed to come out of retirement to be a part of our 2017 campaign. With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the current Constructors’ Champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to give Valtteri this fantastic opportunity.

Valtteri has been part of the Williams family since 2010 and in that time has proved a huge talent, securing nine podium finishes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of the whole team, and wish him a successful season as he joins Mercedes.

Felipe has always been a much-loved member of the Williams family, and having the opportunity to work with him again is something we all look forward to. He was always going to race somewhere in 2017, as he has not lost that competitive spirit, and it was important that we had a strong replacement in order for us to let Valtteri go. Felipe re-joining us provides stability, experience and talent to help lead us forward. He is a great asset for us.”

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