Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Being too slow in the best car has consequences in F1
    Being too slow in the best car has consequences in F1

    'Weak' Bottas loses main F1 sponsor

  • Rivola hopes Leclerc given chance to win
  • Ocon determined to race again in 2020
  • Hamilton Buys Manhattan Penthouse for $40.7 Million

'Weak' Bottas loses main F1 sponsor

(GMM) Valtteri Bottas has lost his major personal sponsor.

Billionaire Antti Aarnio-Wihuri, boss of the Finnish conglomerate Wihuri, told Ilta Sanomat newspaper that sponsoring formula one has become "too expensive".

He also admitted that Bottas' poor performance at Mercedes last year was another reason for the decision.

"Partly it was not his own fault, but I think he was quite weak at the end of the year," Aarnio-Wihuri said.

"It's difficult to be Hamilton's teammate, but Valtteri was also left behind by many others. It was a pretty weak result," he added.

Aarnio-Wihuri has sponsored Bottas, 29, for his entire racing career.

Bottas' business manager Ville Ahtiainen told the Finnish broadcaster MTV that losing Wihuri is not the end of the world.

"Wihuri was a great supporter of Valtteri's journey, but we are in a really good situation," he said.

"Pretty soon there will be good announcements on the partner side. This does not affect Valtteri's situation in any way."

Aarnio-Wihuri agrees with that, saying that while Bottas is "a little sad" about the news, "he understands".

"He's at a stage in his career where he earns enough to succeed. He doesn't need it," he said.

Rivola hopes Leclerc given chance to win

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

(GMM) Massimo Rivola thinks Ferrari will give Charles Leclerc a fair chance to win the 2019 world championship.

Many insiders think highly rated youngster Leclerc, who is replacing Kimi Raikkonen at the great Italian team this year, can give Sebastian Vettel a run for his money.

But others think a clear number 1 policy in Vettel's favor is a better bet.

"Leclerc looks really good and he has a great future ahead of him," F1 legend Mario Andretti told Sky Italia. "It was always Sergio Marchionne's plan to take him to Ferrari.

"But I don't know if it's the right time for him. In every team there must be a first and second driver. Two number ones never works," he added.

But Rivola, who got to know Leclerc well while he ran the Ferrari driver 'academy', thinks Leclerc can take on Vettel.

"I believe and hope that Ferrari will give both the same opportunities, and that the best will prevail," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"There is no doubt that 2019 is considered an apprenticeship for Charles, but you can be sure that he will try to win right away," Rivola added.

He said Leclerc, 21, is more like Fernando Alonso than German Vettel.

"I had the opportunity to work with Sebastian when he debuted in Toro Rosso, and with Alonso in his debut season in Minardi," said Rivola.

"It is Fernando with the same anger as Charles in qualifying, and the same ability to always show amazing results," he added.

Ocon determined to race again in 2020

The question is what Ocon will be racing in 2020
The question is what Ocon will be racing in 2020

(GMM) Esteban Ocon says he is determined to return to racing in 2020.

Despite his talent and his strong form in 2018, the Frenchman has lost his place at Racing Point Force India to Lance Stroll, the son of the team's new owner.

But Ocon, 22, continues to enjoy the strong backing of Mercedes.

"I will be at all the grands prix and informed about everything in case I have to return at one point or another," he told France's Auto Hebdo.

"You never know what will happen in F1."

Ocon said the European races will be particularly busy for his new Mercedes role in 2019.

"I will be in the simulator after FP2 to test all the possibilities for car adjustments and prepare ideally for Lewis and Valtteri's qualifying," he revealed.

"After that I will fly out on Saturday morning and be at the circuit that day," Ocon added.

Ocon said he is happy with his new role, because it means he can remain 100 per cent focused on a future in F1.

"I want to be world champion one day. It's my goal and my dream," he said.

"Of course it's not great not to compete this season, but I'm still focused on F1 and I think it's the right choice. After that, if I do not find a seat for 2020, then I will go to something else, because I have to continue racing," Ocon insisted.

Hamilton Buys Manhattan Penthouse for $40.7 Million

70 Vestry Street
70 Vestry Street

Less than two years after snapping up a $43.991 million apartment in a celebrity-studded condo project in Manhattan’s Tribeca district, 5-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has invested his winnings in Manhattan real estate again, this time buying a $40.7 million trophy penthouse in another big-name building a block away reports Katherine Clarke of the Wall Street Journal.

According to people familiar with both deals, Mr. Hamilton recently bought a penthouse at 70 Vestry Street, a limestone building developed by the Related Companies and designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Its owners include quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, model Gisele Bundchen.

The penthouse has four bedrooms and spans about 6,547 square feet plus more than 3,000 square feet of outdoor space, according to marketing materials. The home has unobstructed views of the Hudson River. The building has a gated entry that leads into a courtyard to protect the privacy of its residents, as well as an 82-foot-long swimming pool, a fitness center, a squash court, a library and a lounge where residents can host seated dinners and cocktail parties.

Another home in 70 Vestry recently sold for $55 million to an Italian entrepreneur, setting a price record for a New York apartment south of 14th Street, The Wall Street Journal reported.

One block east is Mr. Hamilton’s other apartment at 443 Greenwich Street, the people familiar with the transactions said. The loft-style apartment is located in a former book bindery, and the project’s amenities include a 71-foot-long indoor swimming pool and a wine cellar. Other celebrities who have owned units at that building include actress Jennifer Lawrence and actor Mike Myers. Mr. Hamilton bought that unit in March 2017 through the same holding company, according to the people familiar with both deals.

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