Long-time Bottas sponsor leaves its driver and F1 behind


Finnish conglomerate Wihuri Group has ceased its sponsorship of Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes, the company claiming its involvement in F1 was no longer cost-effective.

Wihuri, which enjoys a diversified presence in a multitude of industries such as packaging, food distribution, construction equipment and jet charter services, had been supporting Bottas since the driver's junior years in motorsport.

Headed by Antti Aarnio-Wihuri, a former racing driver and team owner, Wihuri was instrumental in helping Bottas move from Williams to his plum Mercedes seat in 2017.

Aarnio-Wihuri confessed to being disappointed with his driver's 2018 campaign and Bottas' inability to win or challenge team mate Lewis Hamilton.

"That's right, we won't go on," Wihuri's chairman told Ilta-Sanomet. "With regard to the benefit of investing, we decided that it was too expensive.

"It was disappointing. Partly it was not his [Bottas] fault, some of it was due to the team and to technical problems, but I think he was quite weak at the end of the year."

However, Antti Aarnio-Wihuri conceded that racing alongside the outstanding Mr. Hamilton was a demanding task.

"It's difficult to be Lewis Hamilton's team mate, but Valtteri was also left behind by many others and was only fifth overall. It was a pretty weak result."

While Bottas' is contracted to Mercedes for the 2019 season, the Finn's future is likely to be conditioned by this year's results rather than by commercial or sponsorship considerations.

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