Finn-based Wihuri Group has decided to end its existing deal with Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes ahead of the 2019 F1 season.
Wihuri joined Mercedes as the team’s partner when Bottas moved from Williams at the start of the 2017 F1 season after Nico Rosberg’s untimely exit at the end of 2016. It has been a personal sponsor of Bottas for nearly two decades.
The company engages in ‘packaging products, daily goods wholesale operations, technical trade investment products and aviation’ and has been in F1 since 1970 as a sponsor with various teams and drivers.
Following a low-key season for Bottas in 2018 where the Finn finished fifth in the standings when his teammate Lewis Hamilton took the title, the Wihuri Group took the decision then to not renew its deal with Bottas and Mercedes as well.
Along with the results, the large sum of investment also made it difficult for the company to continue. While no official announcement has been made thus far but Finn’s Ilta Sanomat has quoted owner Antti Aarnio-Wihuri stating that the deal has ended.
In fact, FormulaRapida.net connected with Mercedes and the German outfit confirmed that the deal with the team wasn’t renewed indeed for the 2019 F1 season. We await the response from the Wihuri Group on the same.
The Mercedes’ team website as well no longer features the company’s logo or a landing page. With the deal ending, it means, the logos will not appear on the team’s overalls, official merchandise and even the drivers’ helmets from 2019.
Following a long holiday in Argentina and Chile for Bottas, the Finn will have an early start to his 2019 campaign when he competes in the Artic Lapland Rally in Finland driving a Ford Fiesta WRC car during January 24-26 weekend.
In addition to the news regarding Bottas and Mercedes, the report also states that the company has ended its relation with Niko Kari as well, who moved from GP3 to Formula 2 in 2018. The ties with GP3 racer Simo Laaksonen though will continue on.
[Read: Bottas on F1 2019 Mercedes car development]