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GP Week : Issue 225
reMeMBerING JuLes In support of their fallen comrade, the Formula One fraternity sported all sorts of messages across the weekend with stickers appearing on cars from the Mercedes to Manor remembering Jules Bianchi. The drivers too got in on the act, Lewis Hamilton carrying a hashtag in memory of Bianchi on top of his helmet. There was also an inscription on the start- finish line saying 'Ciao Jules'. MIsseD DeADLINe Having opened the sport to expressions of interest for a new team, the FIA has extended its deadline to allow more time for prospective teams. So far none have publicly stated their interest, the high cost of entry known to deter at least one leading contender. OuT OF THeIr HANDs With the tyre tender now closed, the fate of Formula One's tyre supplier now resides with Bernie Ecclestone who will decide between Michelin and Pirelli for the sports supply from 2017. TeMPTING reNAuLT Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that, should Renault buy its way back into the F1 grid as a contructor, it would be eligable for bonus prize money payments as it would be deemed a historic team. 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> news BrieFly One of the biggest pieces of news to come out of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend was that Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has finally given an indication that the rumoured talks with Ferrari could be taking place after all. Speaking from the Hungaroring circuit, the Finnish racer revealed that nothing is confirmed with Williams for 2016, while team boss Claire Williams said it would be a huge disappointment if their man was to leave. “There are a lot of conversations. They are private conversations, they have to be private because they are contractually related,” she said. “If Valtteri were to leave, and it’s a big if, of course there would be disappointment, because we have invested that time and resource and he is a great talent; that would be the greatest disappointment.” Bottas is currently the key piece in the 2016 driver jigsaw as Ferrari decides whether or not the youngster would fit alongside Sebastian Vettel in place of Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari is currently weighing up Raikkonen's future, the former world champion having been on average half a second off the pace of Vettel in qualifying this season. However, there have been weekends where he's displayed glimpses of the brilliance he posseses, making Ferrari's task all the more difficult. “Of course as a driver you want to know as soon as possible, but sometimes you need to wait,” Bottas said. “It doesn’t really change anything. No matter if I’m going to start some other transfers or not.” If Bottas were to move, with some reports suggesting he's already done a $13million deal with the Italian squad, it would trigger a domino affect through the rest of the driver market. As reported elsewhere in this issue, Jenson Button has emerged as a front runner for Bottas' seat, should the Finn head to Ferrari, potentially opening a space at McLaren for Kevin Magnussen or Stoffel Vandoorne. But Bottas isn't the only driver to have been linked with the Ferrari seat with both Nico Hulkenberg - who has been overlooked by the Scuderia in the past - and Romain Grosjean linked to the drive. There are also question marks over the future of Lotus, with mounting financial problems and suggestions Renault could buy the team, which could cast Pastor Maldonado's future in doubt. It makes for one of the busiest silly seasons in some time, with the only safe seats those at Sauber, which has confirmed Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for 2016, Mercedes, Red Bull and, ironically, Toro Rosso. the siLLy season steps up a gear