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Formula One: Williams-Mercedes optimistic about chances

By Anjali RaguramanEvents - 18 September 2014 4:55 PM | Updated 1:27 PM

Formula One: Williams-Mercedes optimistic about chances

After many years of underperforming, F1 racing team Williams-Mercedes is finally back in contention.

Backed by the experience of former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, and buoyed by the performances of up and comer Valterri Bottas, who has had four podium finishes in the current season, the team has a shot at the championship for the first time in many years. 

Currently ranked third in the constructors standings, the team has been on the up since 2013. Coming into the race in Singapore on 21 September, Bottas is fourth in the driver standings.

Key members of the Williams-Mercedes racing team were at Zouk on 17 September for a celebration of their tie-up with Italian alcohol brand, Martini. 

Bottas, who is tipped as one of the hottest young talents in Formula One alongside Redbull's Daniel Ricciardo, acknowledged the challenges of the Singapore street circuit. Like most other drivers, he called it "more of a challenge than most other places".

"Because it’s a street circuit, it’s quite slippery. And you can’t really make mistakes. You’re really getting out of your comfort zone but i like the challenge," the 25-year-old Finn said. 

Massa added that switching to from a Renault to Mercedes engine has also helped the cause. The team and Renault parted ways after two seasons. Massa said, “The team has made very good changes from last year to this year, especially on the technical side. The Mercedes engine is really fantastic."

Also on hand was Susie Wolff, who has the distinction of currently being the only female development driver in Formula One.

Earlier this year, the 31-year-old Scot was the first female driver in 22 years to drive at a Formula One Grand Prix weekend, taking on a practice lap at Silverstone in the UK. Disappointingly, however, the engine of her Williams gave out after four laps. Later in the year at Hockenheim in Germany, though, she managed to complete a full hour-and-a-half behind the wheel.

“You say (Formula One) is a male-dominated world, but we’re on the stage and it’s 50 per cent male and 50 per cent female,” she said, referring to the Williams team representatives on stage.

Her concerns are about delivering results for the team. “I don’t view myself as a female in a man’s world. I just view myself as a racing driver who drives to perform for the team,” she said.

"DUSTING WILLIAMS OFF"

Deputy team principle Claire Williams, who has a pivotal role running the team day-to-day, mirrored all her drivers' sentiments about looking ahead. 

She said, "We’re on a new path in Formula One, which is hopefully a path to future championship success. The Martini brand has given us a whole new opportunity to dust Williams off and to create this new exciting Williams Martini branding."

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

F1 2014: Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix

Date Sep 19, 2014 - Sep 21, 2014

VenueMarina Bay Street Circuit

Ticket PriceS$68.00 - S$1,288.00
 (excludes booking fee)