Sir Jim and Toto at 2020 launch. Image courtesy Mercedes F1.
With Toto Wolff’s Mercedes F1 contract due to expire in a couple of months Eddie Jordan is spruiking to anyone who’ll listen that it’s time for Toto to take a hike.
Jordan, the somewhat eccentric former Mercedes F1 driver and team owner, is adamant Sir Jim Radcliffe British billionaire and owner of INEOS – one of the world’s leading chemical companies – has stumped up 700 million pounds to buy a majority holding in the famed Silver Arrows.
INEOS was signed up this year as a major Mercedes sponsor at a pomp and ceremony launch In London and Jordan says the reputed deal would see Mercedes holding a stake in F1’s most successful team.
“The team will be called INEOS but it will still be run from the factory at Brackley (UK) and Mercedes will retain a 30 percent share in it,” Jordan said.
“If I was his advisor, I’d say ‘Please leave, Toto. You won’t get any better than this!’
“Aston Martin? Could be. But all I am really sure of is that INEOS will buy the Mercedes team.
“That is the only thing I am absolutely sure of!”EDDIE JORDAN
Austrian Wolff, a media darling and one of the most likeable team principals in the paddock has been linked to another billionaire, Lawrence Stroll owner of Racing Point – to be renamed Aston Martin for the 2021 season and beyond.
Toto still has to sign off on the mammoth pay cheque for Lewis Hamilton’s future services!
This weekend’s Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Circuit is one of the few events not affected by the virus, and retains its regular date on the F1 calendar. Sochi is Russia’s largest resort city, situated on the Sochi River, along the Black Sea in the country’s south, with a population around 500,000.
Inaugurated in 2014 and built around the Olympic Park, the asphalt in Sochi has gradually matured over the years and is well-known for being relatively easy on tyres. Equally it has a reputation for offering comparatively low levels of grip.
The most demanding corner is definitely Turn 3: a 750-metre constant radius left-hander, working the front-right tyre hardest.
The rest of the circuit is largely composed of slow to medium speed 90-degree corners, giving Sochi something of the feel of a street circuit.
After the three hardest tyres were used at Mugello last up, Pirelli brings the three softest tyres in the P Zero range to Sochi: C3 as the White hard, C4 – Yellow medium and C5 – Red soft.
The tyre choice is actually one step softer than last year, when most drivers stopped once and just five of the 15 classified finishers stopped twice, largely influenced by the safety car.
“We’ve gone a step softer with the tyre choice in 2020 to provide extra speed and an additional challenge in terms of tyre strategy.
“Thanks to the current reduced tread depth, which was first introduced in 2019, the softer C3, C4 and C5 nomination this year should encourage the use of all three compounds – without the drivers having to manage them extensively during the race.
“With last year’s strategy having been heavily influenced by neutralisations – plus 2020 cars that are faster than ever before – the teams will certainly have a few unknowns heading into this year’s Russian Grand Prix.
“Having said that, Sochi places relatively low demands on tyres, so a one-stop race should still be possible.
“The teams will work out during free practice if this is still the fastest way: which we expect to be a popular choice as teams tend to target one-stoppers whenever possible.”MARIO ISOLA – Head of F1 and Car Racing.
MENTORED BY F1 Mark Webber, Renault junior driver Oscar Piastri was crowned Formula 3 champion at the championship’s final round in Mugello for Prema Racing, becoming the first Australian ever to win the title.
The 19-year-old receives a 300,000 euro scholarship from Pirelli to help him graduate to Formula 2 next year.
And Formula 2 resumes in Russia for its first round without F3 as well, with Mick Schumacher – who demonstrated his father’s Ferrari F2004 at Mugello – leading the F2 standings.
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