Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was dealt a major blow as his main sponsor, Wihuri has left him. The company stated that the price of investing in F1 is ‘not worth the end result’. The Finnish company has backed Bottas for much of his career, progressing with him through the junior categories.
It is not known exactly how much Wihuri paid to transfer the Finn from Williams to the title-winning Mercedes team, however it is believed to be in the several million region.
The company is currently headed by Antti Ilmari Aarnio-Wihuri, a former racing driver and team owner. He stated to Ilta-Sanomat: “That’s right, we won’t go on. In regards to the benefit of investing, we decided that it was too expensive.”
The Wihuri Group is a long-standing conglomerate that handles services in the areas of packaging, food distribution, aviation and construction equipment retail, private jet charter, and ambulance services.
Wihuri’s decision to pull out of F1 comes as a blow to Bottas, who is already under pressure to keep his seat for the 2020 season. Last week, Toto Wolff offered an ultimatum, claiming that the 29-year-old must perform on teammate Lewis Hamilton’s level going forward after a disappointing 2018 campaign.
The Finnish driver is aware that he needs to perform next season as there are candidates eyeing his seat. One such candidate is Esteban Ocon, although the Frenchman is not racing this season, he is Mercedes’ third driver. In other words, the German outfit have a plan in place in the event of Valtteri Bottas underperforming. Hopefully for Bottas’ sake, he will be able to find a new sponsor and up his game in comparison with teammate Hamilton.