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A year ago, Haas F1 Team was building toward its inaugural Formula One season, racing to finish its first car as the clock counted down toward preseason testing at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. The team succeeded, firing up its Ferrari engine and peeling out of its garage at 10 a.m. local time on the first day of testing around the 4.655-kilometer (2.892-mile), 16-turn circuit.

As Haas F1 Team readies for its sophomore season in the FIA Formula One World Championship, it does so under a significantly new set of regulations that will make this year’s racecar a drastic departure from the version the team built in 2016.

The 2017 car features an advanced aerodynamic package that will create a higher level of downforce via a longer nose, wider front wing, larger barge boards, the sidepods being pushed out, a lower and wider rear wing and a diffuser that expands 50 millimeters (two inches) in height and width. Augmenting these changes are wider tires from Pirelli, by 60 millimeters (2.4 inches) in the front and 80 millimeters (3.1 inches) in the rear.

After building a new car from scratch in 2016, Haas F1 Team is doing the same in 2017. But unlike in 2016, the team’s personnel are already assembled and, more importantly, have a year of experience working together. And its infrastructure, from the garage setup and the necessary equipment it houses to the trucks that transport said equipment from the team’s European base in Banbury, England, has been in place for more than a year. The only new item that needs to be put together is the car. 

The car, however, is not the only new element at Haas F1 Team. Kevin Magnussen forms the other half of Haas’ driver lineup, with the 24-year-old joining Romain Grosjean after spending 2016 at Renault Sport. Magnussen comes to Haas F1 Team with 40 Formula One starts and a best finish of second, earned in his debut race at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Grosjean scored all 29 of Haas F1 Team’s points in 2016, allowing the organization to finish an impressive eighth in the constructor standings. With Magnussen on board, the team has set its sights on modestly moving up in the constructor ranks.

“I think with the knowledge we have, we should actually perform a little bit better this year,” said Gene Haas, founder and chairman, Haas F1 Team. “If we can do a little bit better because our business model in Formula One allows us to operate more efficiently, we might be able to move up a position or two.”

Moving up a position or two will take some heavy lifting, as Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsports where the best in engineering and design compete. To accomplish Haas’ goal and to wheel these new-generation cars that some speculate will drop lap times by as much as five seconds, Grosjean and Magnussen have done plenty of heavy lifting this offseason to prepare for the effects these increased speeds will have on their bodies.

Both drivers adjusted their training regimens to include more weight lifting, as the added strength will be needed to muscle their cars on tracks where a handful of corners will be taken flat out thanks to the heightened levels of downforce. An example of this will be seen at Barcelona’s turn three, where some estimates have drivers taking the corner 30 kph (19 mph) faster than in 2016. The downforce available on the 2017 cars means engines that once ran at full throttle for 50 percent of a lap at Barcelona could increase to 70 percent.

The home of the Spanish Grand Prix provides a test for both man and machine, and after passing its first test a year ago at Barcelona, it is back to the future for Haas F1 Team.

 

 

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It's been 45 days since Nico Rosberg dropped the bombshell of his immediate retirement from Formula One. And it left the team with a conundrum: how to best fill the vacant seat alongside three-time champion Lewis Hamilton in order to defend the Constructors' Championship?

Following six weeks of detailed evaluation, deliberation and negotiation, the answer can now be confirmed officially: we signed Valtteri Bottas this morning. The 27-year-old native of Nastola, Finland has completed four seasons in Formula One with Williams, making 77 starts and scoring 9 career podiums so far.

"Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities. Nico's decision in December was a big surprise - certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow," explained Toto Wolff as he introduced the fourth driver to race for the Silver Arrows in the modern era.

"Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us. He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1. But now it's time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for Championships. We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we've got a busy programme to get him integrated into the team. One thing is for sure: as I know Valtteri, he will give it everything."

Valtteri was cautiously optimistic when he met his new team-mates in the factory today. "It's very exciting times for me," he grinned. "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."

The scale of the challenge ahead cannot be underestimated. New aerodynamic regulations mean a reset for the entire field and there is genuine uncertainty about which team will emerge on top; Valtteri is paired with probably the most ferociously fast team-mate in the sport, Lewis Hamilton; and there are just 70 days until the red lights go out at the start of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

"We have confidence in Valtteri's ability and it's one of the reasons that he is the driver we set our sights on this winter," continued Toto. "The next weeks will be busy as we work to build relationships so Valtteri understands the team and the car. But that's an exciting challenge that will bring us fresh energy and a new dynamic between the drivers. And, of course, we're working hard to give Lewis and Valtteri the car they need to do the job."

Valtteri is under no illusions about the task ahead: "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."

The agreement for Valtteri to join Mercedes has not happened in isolation. With today's announcements that Pascal Wehrlein will join Sauber for 2017, and that Felipe Massa will return to Williams, the final pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place for this year. And that has only been possible thanks to positive working relationships between all the teams involved in a complex chain of negotiations.

"On behalf of Mercedes, I must thank Williams for their cooperation in allowing Valtteri to make this move - and also Monisha and Sauber for their patience during the past weeks," concluded Toto. "It's been a busy day in the driver market and I am pleased to know that Pascal will be racing at Sauber to continue his development in F1. He had a good first season with Manor and we feel this is the right path for him in the sport. It's satisfying to have both of our Young Drivers taking on new challenges in F1 this year, with Esteban also racing at Force India. We'll be following their progress closely; I'm sure we've got an exciting season ahead of us."

From Valtteri, too, there were warm words for his friends and colleagues at Williams: "I had a great seven years there, starting as a test driver in 2010. I'm very proud of what we achieved together and I leave with some very good memories. My debut in F1, my first points and nine podiums all came with the guys and girls at Grove, so I must say a big thanks to everyone and I wish them all the very best for the future."

As Valtteri now begins a busy week of technical and physical preparations for the new season, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is pleased to confirm that Nico has accepted an ambassadorial role with the team for 2017.

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The world governing body of motor sport, the FIA wishes to thank the outgoing CEO of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone for more than 40 years of dedication to the FIA Formula One World Championship and as a member of both the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council.

The FIA was responsible for creating Formula One when it established the first regulations for the category in 1946.

The Federation remains committed to regulating the FIA Formula One World Championship fairly, safely, and in the best interests of the sport – as it has strived to do since its inception 67 years ago.

The FIA President, Jean Todt, congratulated the new owners of the Formula One Group, Liberty Media Corporation.

“As Formula One’s governing body, the FIA would like to welcome the new CEO, Chase Carey and his entire team to the Championship.

“The whole FIA organisation is looking forward to working closely together, with the common goal of improving and growing the sport further with the support of the highly recognised skills of Liberty Media Corporation in the media and sport domains.”

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No doubt that Brazilian Felipe Massa had never exected to talking in this Q&A when he walked to his Williams F1 team garage during the last Brazilian GP.

But the circumstances after the retiring world champion Nico Rosberg has played to his favor to go back to the Formula 1 grid in 2017, with the big rules changes

Here, Massa gives his thoughts.

Q: You said at the end of last season that you felt it was the right time to retire from Formula One, what has changed?

A: My intention was always to race somewhere, as I still have the passion for racing and competing. I also have a strong love for Williams as I have enjoyed the last three years with the team, and therefore coming back to help give stability and experience to drive things forward in 2017 was something that felt right to do.

Q: Could you have looked at other opportunities to stay in Formula One, if you were still open to the idea?
A: I have a passion for racing, for competing and for fighting on the track. My return is not about seeing Formula One as the best option, but is about seeing the role at Williams as the best option. I would not have returned for any other team.

Q: You left the sport on such a high at the end of last season, is there a danger that you won’t get the same reception now you have returned?
A: The scenes I saw in Brazil and Abu Dhabi last year are ones that I will never forget. I am so grateful for everything that happened last year and all the kind messages. Whatever happens this season, I will always leave the sport with my head held high.

Q: Do you still have the desire to race in Formula One?
A: When I joined Williams back in 2014 I found a team – and a family – that I have loved being a part of. I certainly haven’t lost the desire to race and fight on track. Whatever I would have turned my hand to this year, I would have been putting 100% effort into doing the best job that I can, and if I didn’t have that passion, I would not have agreed to return.

Q: You have been linked to a number of different race series over the winter, how far had conversations gone?
A: Since announcing my retirement last year, I had been assessing my options and there were a number of opportunities presented to me that I could have pursued. However, I have made my decision and therefore this is now my focus.

Q: How does it feel to be replacing your old teammate Valtteri?
A: Going to the current World Champions is a great opportunity for Valtteri. He is a talented racer and it was great working alongside him for three years. I wish him all the best for the next chapter of his career.

Q: Can we assume that money was a factor in your decision to return to Formula One?
A: I won’t be discussing figures or any details regarding the negotiations. All I will say is that this was the right decision and I am happy to continue as part of the team.

Q: What helped make the decision and what factors did you take into consideration?
A: I think what happened at the end of last season with Nico’s unexpected retirement sparked a unique turn of events. Valtteri has been offered a fantastic opportunity and, as a result, an opportunity arose for me. When the media began reporting that I might return, I was touched by the response from so many fans who wanted to see me back in the sport. That was certainly a factor in the decision, so I’d like to thank the fans for their support. But, at the end of the day, when I received the call it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was Williams!

Q: Can you confirm this is a one-year deal?
A: At present this is a deal for 2017 only and I have not thought beyond.

Q: What are your thoughts on your new teammate Lance Stroll?
Q: I’m looking forward to working with Lance, having known him for a long time. He has proved in the championships he has competed in so far that he deserves this opportunity, and it’s great to welcome new talent into Formula One. Lance may be young, but Williams has a history of bringing young drivers into the sport. He knows there is a steep learning curve ahead, but motorsport is a team sport and I look forward supporting him in any way I can.

Q: What are your thoughts and hopes for 2017?
A: It’s going to be an exciting year with all the regulation changes and I’m going to be spending lots of time with the team now preparing for the season. It’s too soon to make predictions, as we haven’t even turned a wheel. But I can say that I’m very much looking forward to driving the FW40 when testing begins next month.

Q: Williams is celebrating 40 years in Formula One this year, are you looking forward to being part of that?
A: Yes, very much. Williams has such a great history in the sport and reaching this milestone is a fantastic achievement. I know the team has more plans to celebrate this year and I’m looking forward to being part of them.

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Following his accident during yesterday’s Race Of Champions at Miami’s Marlins Park, German driver Pascal Wehrlein will take no part in today’s ROC Nations Cup as a precautionary measure on doctors’ advice.

Wehrlein said: “I’m very sorry to withdraw from today’s ROC Nations Cup. I’d really like to race again and I feel fine, but the doctors have advised me to rest so of course I will take their advice. It’s no more than mild discomfort but my real priority for the coming year is my Formula 1 season. So while I’m sad to be missing out on all the action, I send my best wishes to my team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the competitors here in Miami and I wish them another exciting day’s racing.”

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Williams F1 team confirmed that Felipe Massa has agreed to re-join Williams on a one-year deal, coming out of retirement to replace Valtteri Bottas who the team has released to join Mercedes for the 2017 season.
 
Felipe will race for a fourth consecutive season with Williams, alongside Lance Stroll who will make his Formula One debut in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship.
 
Having joined Williams in 2014, Felipe has been instrumental in the team’s improved performance supporting a resurgence to third place in the Constructors’ Championship in his first and second years. 
 
Speaking about the announcement Felipe Massa said; “Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. 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.”
 
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, 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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Colombia’s 2015 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya put in a stunning performance to eclipse 16 fellow stars of motor sport and earn the title ‘Champion of Champions’ for the first time on a thrilling afternoon of action at Miami’s Marlins Park.

Today’s individual Race Of Champions pitted many of motor sport’s biggest names in identical cars on a brand new figure-of-eight track. On a hot and sunny day in Miami, the best-of-three Grand Final boiled down to a battle between two of the biggest stars of world motor sport. But in the end ROC debutant Montoya saw off ‘Mr Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen in two straight heats to become Champion of Champions in front of 15,000 race fans in Miami.

Juan-Pablo Montoya drives in the Race Of Champions at ROC Miami 2017

 

Kristensen was making a record-equalling 15th consecutive Race Of Champions appearance, matching the mark set by rally legend Stig Blomqvist. The Dane, a nine-time winner of the Le Mans 24 hours, has now reached the Grand Final no less than five times but he has never won the big prize. By contrast Montoya was making his ROC debut here in his home town Miami.

Montoya said: “First I want to thank all the fans who came out today. Fredrik Johnsson and everyone at the Race Of Champions have put together an amazing event, it’s unbelievable. Today I’m regretting not having done this before. It has been an amazing experience.

“It’s not our job, it’s a fun event. But when you go to the grid you want to warm the tyres and the brakes. You think about how to drop the clutch, what to do in the first corner. It’s unbelievable how focused you are. It’s like qualifying. I don’t know what gave me the edge. I don’t have pride, I just kept asking people what they were doing. That way I kept adding things to the database of what I needed to do. I spoke to David Coulthard just before the final to ask whether I had to change gears in the cars because I had no idea. It went well… must be beginner’s luck!”

Kristensen added: “I’m proud to have made it to the final and I enjoy it immensely to be here. I’ve been retired for two years but coming here of course you don’t forget what you live for. We are racing drivers and to be invited to the Race Of Champions brings the best out of us. If you’re too cautious you don’t win but if you are too brave you can get it wrong so easily. But the camaraderie is special. You try to do your best and in the end all the races are extremely close so you never know beforehand who will win. So well done to Juan Pablo. I’ve known him for many years and I always knew he would have an exceptional career.”

In the semi-finals, Montoya beat 11-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Felipe Massa 2-0 after the Brazilian earned a time penalty for contact with the wall in one of the heats. Kristensen won through over 2014 Champion of Champions and Formula 1 star David Coulthard by the same margin.

In the pick of the quarter-finals there was almost nothing to split Kristensen and 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button. But the Dane won the third and deciding heat by just 0.06 seconds to progress. Coulthard knocked out NASCAR champion Kyle Busch, putting paid to the hopes of an American winner for the Miami crowd.

Elsewhere in the last eight Montoya defeated action sports legend Travis Pastrana in two straight heats, ending the American’s unbeaten run. Massa won an all-Brazilian battle against triple Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.

Pascal Wehrlein drives in the Race Of Champions at ROC Miami 2017

 

To start the afternoon’s action the drivers were earlier split into four groups of four, battling for the right to line up in the knockout stages.

Pastrana dominated Group A with three wins out of three, while Castroneves made it through with two wins. But in an early shock, reigning ROC Champion of Champions and four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to get past the group stages. 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi was also knocked out, shortly after prevailing in a qualifying race against Global Rallycross Champion Scott Speed.

Group B was a tighter affair but Montoya and Massa took two wins each. They went through at the expense of double World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg despite the Norwegian’s victory over Massa. Formula 1 driver Pascal Wehrlein also won one of his heats but he failed to progress after dramatically crashing out of his last heat.

Button stormed through Group C with three wins, while Kyle Busch joined him in the semi-finals with two. It was a bad group for IndyCar stars as 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan and last year’s Indy 500 pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe both went out.

Coulthard came away from Group D with a perfect record and he was joined in the final stages by Kristensen, who took two wins. NASCAR champion Kurt Busch was unable to join his brother in the quarter-finals despite a win over 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who also missed out on the latter stages.

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Pirelli announces the following compounds for the third and fourth rounds of the 2017 Formula 1 season.

In BAHRAIN*, to be held from April 14-16 on the Sakhir circuit:

P Zero White medium
P Zero Yellow soft
P Zero Red supersoft
These are the tyres that must be available (at least one of them to be used) at some point in the race:

One set of P Zero White medium
One set of P Zero Yellow soft
There are the tyres assigned for Q3 in qualifying:

One set of P Zero Red supersoft
In RUSSIA*, to be held from April 28-30 on the Sochi circuit:

P Zero Yellow soft
P Zero Red supersoft
P Zero Purple ultrasoft
These are the tyres that must be available (at least one of them to be used) at some point in the race:

One set of P Zero Yellow soft
One set of P Zero Red supersoft
There are the tyres assigned for Q3 in qualifying:

One set of P Zero Purple ultrasoft
*The tyre nomination for long-haul events has to be made 15 weeks in advance, whereas for European races the deadline is nine weeks in advance.

In accordance with the regulations, each driver must save for Q3 one set of the softest of the three nominated compounds. This set will be given back to Pirelli after Q3 for those who qualify in the top 10, but the remaining drivers will keep it for the race.

For the first five events of the season all 13 sets for each driver are identical and defined in the regulations: seven sets of the softest of the three nominated compounds, four sets of the middle compound and two of the hardest compound nominated.

ABOUT THE 2017 TYRES:
The range has been completely transformed, with new sizes (305/670-13 at the front and 405/670-13 at the rear) as well as new profiles, constructions and compounds.
The compounds in particular make use of entirely new materials and a completely fresh design philosophy.
After a very positive testing programme with the new sizes Pirelli has decided to additionally homologate a back-up compound alongside each of the five new base compounds. These extra compounds are formulated using more traditional criteria compared to the new base compounds.
For the first part of the championship, only the new-generation base compounds have been selected.
The back-up compounds could be introduced later in the season to respond to any particular requirements once the real performance levels of the 2017 cars have been identified.

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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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Following three and a half very successful years, Paddy Lowe will be leaving Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. He has now begun a period of garden leave. 
The company's Board wishes Paddy well with his future endeavours and thanks him for his significant contribution to the team's achievements. 
In the short term, our stable technical organisation will continue to operate under the proven and established leadership of our senior directors Aldo Costa (Engineering Director), Mark Ellis (Performance Director), Rob Thomas (Chief Operating Officer) and Geoff Willis (Technology Director).
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff commented: "Paddy has played an important part in our success during the past three and a half years and we thank him for his contribution to this significant chapter in Mercedes' motorsport history. 
"Success in Formula One is not about single individuals but about the strength in depth and technical capability of an organisation. 
"We have the talent in place to continue our success of recent years and we plan to build upon it in 2017 and beyond." 
Outgoing Executive Director (Technical) of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Paddy Lowe said: "I have had a fantastically successful and enjoyable three and a half years at Mercedes working with an incredible team of people. 
"I am now looking forward to a new challenge and wish everyone well at Mercedes." 
Further information will be communicated in due course. 

 

         

 

 

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