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Why making gin is such a tonic for Valtteri Bottas



However, some people prefer to do things that take them out of their comfort zone and not only effectively distract them from career-related stress but also lay the groundwork for their retirement.

Case in point is Lewis Hamilton, who had wide-ranging interests in clothing, music, food and now filmmaking. The seven-time world champion has always insisted that it is important to have a good time outside of competition.

His former Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas went in a different direction by becoming a gin producer.

Finn is not the first race car driver to dabble in the alcohol business. Jarno Trulli, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Stefan Johansson and Daniel Ricciardo are just a few examples of drivers associated with wine, while Jenson Button and David Coulthard are both associated with whiskey.

The extra appeal of the gin business to Bottas was that he took on the project with partner Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell. So it’s something that both parties can put energy into.

“It was really sparked by passion from both of us,” Bottas said. “Before we met, we both liked gin.

“We’ve been collecting gin ever since we started living together and traveling together. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to different countries and try different products.

“So ultimately we wanted to do our own thing. We just decided that one day let’s do it because it’s a shared interest.

“Then we started working on it. We launched the product less than two years later, and that was last year.”

The first step is to find like-minded business partners with in-depth knowledge of the beverage industry.

“We worked with a couple of guys from Blue Coast Brewery, which is a beer from Nice,” says Bottas. “They were involved in starting that company a long time ago and they got out. They’re also looking for something to do.

Valtteri Bottas, Tiffany Cromwell

Valtteri Bottas, Tiffany Cromwell

“Then we started looking at all the options. One was to try distilling the gin in Monaco because that’s where we lived. But we then chose Finland because we knew the people from the distillery we used.

“They already have a number of award-winning gins. One of them is Arctic Blue, which was voted best gin in the world five years ago. They know what they’re doing. So we started working with them Research the recipe and what we want.

“A big reason we chose Finland was actually the purity of the water, because water is very important in distillation. Basically, the purer the water, you don’t have to filter it, and it’s always better.

“In fact, you can even get water from any tap in Finland. If you compare it to bottled water like Evian, it’s always purer. It’s a good product. That’s why we chose Finland as a distillery s reason.”

A big choice to make is finding the formula that sets the product apart. Bottas is keen to use oats from his family’s farm as the main ingredient.

“It’s been around for many, many generations, and it’s a small farm in southern Finland,” he said. “My dad was born on that farm but moved away when he started school.

“So my dad’s brother now runs the farm. They grow oats, wheat, rye and barley. The bakery buys it, or the companies that make porridge or something.

“It’s something new, we believe it’s the first gin distilled with oats, which gives it a really nice smoothness and a bit of sweetness. And because I love porridge! So it’s pretty cool.”

Cromwell’s roots in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills apple-growing region provided inspiration for the other key ingredients, although examples grown in Finland are used.

Bottas added an extra element to the brand by specifying the vacuum distillation process, which is highlighted on the Oath label.

“There are some wineries that use it, but it’s not very common,” he explains. “Vacuum distillation means you can do the process at a lower temperature than normal. A lot of times when you have to use high temperatures, you lose quite a bit of flavor.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team, Tiffany Cromwell

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team, Tiffany Cromwell

photographer: motorsport pictures

“For example, if you do the usual distillation with oats and apples, you definitely lose quite a bit of those properties.

“Our brewers have found that, especially with conventional oats, you can easily get an almost burnt flavor. So it works right there.”

It’s one thing to have a good product, it’s quite another to have a product that can actually be sold to the public.

“There’s a lot to learn, we’re really starting from scratch,” admitted Bottas. “We did get some help from a marketing agency. But I was involved in everything from labeling to what kind of bottle and all that, so it was a lot of fun.”

Choosing a brand name that is different and fits the concept is the biggest challenge. The first option, designed to conjure an image of a solid Finland, was out of the question.

“The original idea was to have ‘sisu,’ which is Finnish for mental strength or willpower,” admits Bottas. “But obviously trademarks are very strict about it.

“I had to find a plan B, and then we went through something different. The vow became the word because it was like a promise, and on the back of our bottle, there was a poem and a promise.

“So these are strong words from two athletes who have dreams and have been chasing them.

“And it’s distilled from oats, so obviously the word is there too. You can play with it, like Blood Oath and all that stuff! So it makes sense.”

So how does it work financially? Bottas admits there were a lot of costs up front, but the business is starting to make sense now.

“When you start a company, there is an investment,” he said. “When you start producing stuff. But hopefully by the end of the year we should be profitable. That’s the plan.

“Obviously we don’t intend to lose money in the long run. But I don’t think it will make me rich in F1 racing!

“In the first year we sold about 33,000 bottles in Europe. Obviously we expect to sell even more this year. The distillery is still running ample capacity, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

“But we definitely want to make sure we can maintain quality. We’re not going to be a mass producer. That’s not in the plan because it’s a passion project.

sworn gin

sworn gin

“We are now entering more and more different countries. That is probably the biggest challenge, getting the right distribution network and getting approvals in different countries.

“So we now have Finland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy. Certain countries require their own lab testing before approval, and the whole process for alcohol products takes a long time. So step by step.”

Australia is one of the toughest markets, but Bottas and Cromwell are keen to break into it given its ties to the country.

As a first step, they teamed up with well-known South Australian producer Ambleside to produce a special gin called Omena (meaning apple in Finnish) for the domestic market, using gins from nearby Cromwell House. Made from the peel of Adelaide Hills apples.

The initial batch is limited to just 1477 bottles – Bottas’ race number is the deciding factor – but it is hoped that Oath will eventually be sold at a low price.

“We absolutely want to go to Australia,” he said. “For that, we’re still looking for the right solution in the long term, because export costs and taxes are quite high. So one option is to try and make gin there. Still to be determined. Then. The US is definitely on the list, and there’s U.K.”

Now that the Oath name is up and running, the possibilities for using it for other products are endless. Some ideas are already brewing.

“We’re not just planning alcohol,” Bottas said. “One we’ve been working on is electrolyte water because we’ve been asked to drink something non-alcoholic because you can’t drink gin all the time!

“As Tiff and I get into sports, we feel like Europe is still not on the same level as the US. They’re very interested in electrolyte water and stuff like that. So that’s an area we might target.

“We’re also looking at other alcoholic products, maybe next year. But I don’t want to reveal anything just yet.”

Bottas admits it’s good to have something to take his mind off the car.

His life at Alfa Romeo is a little easier these days, but it’s worth recalling that he embarked on his gin adventure while still dealing with the intense pressure of being Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate and facing the prospect of keeping his job. Annual challenge.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo Racing

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo Racing

Photography: Alfa Romeo

He really threw himself into the project and during the recent Australian Grand Prix weekend he worked hard to promote the Oath and Omena, taking part in events at the track and in central Melbourne.

“Of course for me, I feel like sometimes I need to do something else or my brain will explode!”, he said.

“It’s really refreshing to do other things and focus on other things for a while. Then when you get back into the game, you feel refreshed and ready to give it your all again.

“It’s really, really enjoyable. And, like the example, it’s different doing a PR campaign for a vow than for some partner that you have to do. You’re obviously passionate about it.

“It’s not just that you’re giving energy, but it’s feeling like you’re getting something or doing something you love in a way.”

The vow project, and the parallel adventure of coffee production, also gave Bottas something to look forward to when he hung up his helmet.

“This is a long-term plan we have for this company,” he said. “We’ve all really enjoyed working on it and want to see how we develop it further. So it’s a long-term thing, for sure.

“But I’m also involved in a lot of other things and investments. I think it’s important to have something when you’re in sports so that you don’t end up doing nothing, basically, when you’re in the middle of an active career. So I think Oath is part of the plan. But I’m sure there are many, many more years!”


Vandoorne to drive Aston Martin F1 car in Pirelli tyre test at Spa




Aston reserve driver Vandoorne will share driving duties with team principal Lance Stroll, while Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will each drive a day for McLaren.

It will be the Belgian’s first time driving an active F1 car on track since December 2020 when he represented Mercedes in Abu Dhabi testing.

While the Spa test will focus on Pirelli’s no-carpet tyres, it will give Vandoorne a valuable opportunity to sample the 2023 car, helping him correlate with Aston Martin’s simulator work.

If either Stroll or Fernando Alonso were unwell at any point for the rest of the season, his life would also be made easier.

The 31-year-old shared the Aston substitute with defending Formula Two champion Felipe Drugovich, and the two took turns on call.

Dubovic drove the AMR23 for two days during the Bahrain test in February, when Stroll was not present, and he had the opportunity to test drive the AMR23. Since then, the Brazilian has continued to rack up more miles in private testing of the 2021 car.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures

As well as his role at Aston, Vandoorne is one of McLaren’s backup drivers and his performance at Spa will also make it easier for him to step into the MCL60 should the need arise.

As well as giving him a general feel for downforce levels for 2023, the two cars share the Mercedes powerplant and thus have similar settings on their respective steering wheels.

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Vandoorne made his F1 debut for McLaren in Bahrain in 2016, replacing current Aston team-mate Alonso.

He then completed two full seasons in 2017 and 2018, the first with Honda power and the second with Renault. He finished 16th at the World Championships in both seasons, with a best finish of seventh.

He was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2018, but has since rebuilt his career in Formula E, winning the 2021-22 championship for Mercedes and serving as an F1 substitute.

He currently drives for the DS Penske Formula E team and is also a substitute for the Peugeot WEC team.

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McLaren “true contenders” for F1 best of the rest tag




McLaren has only scored one point after three rounds in 2023 as it struggles to find the car competitive.

But both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have seen plenty of upgrades in recent races, allowing the former to finish second in a row, while Piastri has finished in the top five in each of his past two races.

Despite being 136 points behind second-placed Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, Russell believes McLaren is a real threat for the remainder of the race behind leaders Red Bull.

“Obviously they’re a real contender for second fastest team,” Russell said of Woking.

“Oddly enough, Aston Martin was clearly second at the start of the year.

“And they don’t seem to be that competitive now. Ferrari haven’t made much progress. McLaren has made huge progress.

“So without McLaren we’d be very, very happy with the progress we’ve made. Leading the midfield, widening the gap and closing in on Red Bull.

“McLaren has just fully embraced it. But that makes you optimistic that bigger strides are possible.

“I believe in my team. I think it gives us the confidence and optimism to take this step towards Red Bull.

“We’re not too focused on McLaren, Aston or Ferrari. We’re focused on Red Bull. We’re trying to make that big step.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Steve Etherington/ motorsport pictures

Russell fought his way back from 18th on the grid at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, jumping to sixth at the checkered flag after Mercedes strategists told him 11th was his favorite.

Russell was pleased with the final result, but felt it was “proof” of a “missed opportunity” for Hungary.

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“The strategy tells me that if we maximize everything, the P11 is the most realistic, the P7 is the most realistic,” Russell told Autosport.

“Sixth place without a safety car, without a VSC, it’s a really great result.

“But it also proved that this weekend could be a missed opportunity. I believe I could have gone there with Lewis yesterday, it’s one of my favorite circuits and the car always does well here.

“When you have two cars out there, fighting for second gives you more options, and Lewis is also very strong. If things turned out a little differently, he would also be P2.

“So as a missed opportunity we will learn from it. But the positive side is we are leading Aston and Ferrari.”

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Top speed, car sizes, race weekends and more compared




Formula 1 has relied on junior classes to develop the next generation of drivers, and its teams are eager to snag their brightest talent.

The ‘old’ Formula 2 car was a ruleset rather than its own separate entity, sometimes sharing the grid with F1, and later rule changes made the two cars separate championships.

The second class was renamed the F3000 in 1985 as the series switched to a naturally aspirated engine formula and extended the life of the earlier Cosworth DFV lineage. Throughout the life of the F3000, different engine and chassis suppliers came and went, with companies including Reynard, Lola, Ralt and March among them, all producing cars before the championship became a single specification.

When the F3000 championship began to fade due to declining team interest and declining track quality, the second level of racing was reborn in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone tried to bring the junior championship to F1’s bottom line and, along with Flavio Briatore and Bruno Michel, helped build the GP2 series.

GP2 became the FIA ​​Formula Two Championship in 2017, but many key hallmarks of GP2’s early series have stood the test of time. The GP3 series, a third-tier category designed to compete with the myriad Formula 3 championships around it, was added to the F1 Act in 2010 and became FIA ​​Formula 3 in 2019.

There are major differences in the way F2 is run compared to F1, there are subtle changes in form and there are big differences in the overall performance of the cars. The following are the key areas of comparison between F1 and F2.

F1 vs. F2 – key differences


Formula 1

Formula Two

top speed

220+ mph

208 mph

Minimum weight including driver

798 kg

788 kg




engine size

1.6 liter V6

3.4 liter V6

Approximate Power

1,000 horsepower

620 hp

car size

5.63m x 2m x 0.95m

5.22m x 1.9m x 1.09m

tire size

18 inches

18 inches

game every weekend

One (two for sprint weekends)

Two (one sprint, one feature)

game length

305 km/190 miles

Sprint – 120 km/74.5 miles

Features – 170 km/105.6 miles






twenty two

2023 Pole Times – Red Bull Ring

1 point 04.391

1 meter 14,643

2023 Pole Times – Monaco

1 meter 11.365

1 meter 21.053

2023 Pole Times – Silverstone

1 meter 26.720

1 meter 39,832

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

What is the difference between F1 and F2 racing?

In F1, each team designs its own chassis according to a set of well-defined technical regulations laid down by the FIA. For the 2022 ruleset, the FIA ​​has updated the wording of the rules to better define the bounding box within which bodies can be developed and build a system more in line with the proliferation of available CAD products.

It features a range of safety systems such as a roll cage, halo and anti-intrusion panels mounted around the monocoque. There are also anti-collision structures on the side, front and rear of the car to minimize the impact on the driver in the car.

F2 is a single-spec series with all teams using the Dallara F2 2018 model. The car and driver must weigh a minimum of 788kg and feature F1 standard safety features such as the aforementioned crash structures and halos. Use only parts supplied by Dallara, Hewland or sold by F2 promoters.

F2 cars use floor venturi tunnels, which F1 adopts in 2022, 40 years after banning ground-effect aerodynamics. These designs aren’t as extreme as those in F1, but they work on the same principle, and the car is also enhanced with front and rear wings to create downforce. Like F1, F2 cars are fitted with a Drag Reduction System (DRS), which operates on the same parameters as its parent series.

While F1 cars typically reach speeds in excess of 220 mph during a race, with DRS switched on, an F2 car could theoretically hit 208 mph at full low downforce.

What is the difference between F1 and F2 tires?

Pirelli supplies all championships on the official F1 ladder, and F2 and F3 also use the Italian company’s rubber.

F2 started using 18-inch tires in 2020, two years before entering F1. F2 tires are slightly narrower than F1 tires and generally have less grip because of the naturally lower speeds of the junior series cars.

There are four dry-weather tire compounds for the F2: hard, medium, soft and supersoft – with the first three using the same white, yellow and red color coding as the F1. Extra soft textures are indicated by purple text on the side walls. Each car is supplied with five sets of dry weather tires per wheel, consisting of two of the prescribed compounds, with a set of “premium” tires to be returned after practice. Three sets of wet tires are also available – the F2 has no intermediate compound.

Tire blankets are banned in F2, meaning drivers must warm up their tires naturally. This often creates a larger offset during the pit stops, with drivers leaving the pits vulnerable to those who have already completed laps in the new group.

The “primary” and “option” compounds (harder tires are the main tires and softer tires are the options) must be used during featured races, and pit stops are required to replace them. Tire parking is allowed during a sprint, but not mandatory. Since only two dry compounds are used each weekend, Pirelli and F2 decide which tire to use before the weekend. There may be a single step in the compound (for example, medium and soft), or there may be a larger step for greater excursions (for example, medium and extra soft).

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

Photography: Sutton Images

What is the difference between F1 and F2 powertrains?

F1 has used a turbo-hybrid system since 2014, with a turbocharger and a motor-generator set on the rear axle to form a hybrid package. The internal combustion engine is a 1.6-liter V6. By 2022, F1 engines run on E10 fuel, where 10% of the fuel composition consists of combustibles of biosourced origin.

The MGU-K in an F1 car can produce up to 160bhp for a total power output of around 1000bhp. Figures for F1’s current four powertrain manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull Powertrain) vary but are all believed to have efficiencies in excess of 50%.

F2’s single-spec powertrain is produced by French manufacturer Mecachrome, which briefly participated in F1 in 1998 and 1999, and took over Renault’s engine program. The Mecachrome unit was a 3.4-litre V6 engine, virtually the same one used in the F3, but with a modified turbocharger from Van der Lee. It produces around 620bhp and is driven by a six-speed Hewland gearbox.

To ensure fairness in powertrain supply, Mecachrome units are randomly assigned to teams, as there may be minor differences in overall power output.

F2 is currently being used as a test bed to assist F1 in developing more sustainable fuel, using Aramco-produced fuel with 55% of its content from sustainable bio-sources, with the aim of increasing this figure to 100% by 2026/27. The Saudi oil brand replaced longtime supplier Elf as the sole producer of the F2 fuel.

How much does F1 cost compared to F2?

In recent years, Formula 1 has been constrained by a cost cap of about $135 million through 2023, with some minor adjustments for inflation and other ancillary costs. The cost cap covers most development and operating costs, but excludes driver salaries, salaries of the team’s three highest-paid employees, travel costs and marketing expenses. As Red Bull found out in 2022, violating this cap carries a range of penalties depending on the extent of the overrun.

The bulk of this budget comes from the FIA’s prize money, investment and sponsorship mix. Some teams, such as Red Bull and Mercedes, are self-sufficient in terms of bonuses and sponsors and do not require direct input from their ownership structures.

F2 teams have much smaller budgets, and with the series’ fairly limited reach, teams will rarely start the season with a full sponsor portfolio ready to fund every race. As such, drivers should pay for their rides through their own sponsors or a driver academy.

Depending on the team, the budget of an F2 driver can vary from 2 million to 3 million euros, and can even exceed this budget to get a seat in a better team. To keep costs down, F2 limited the number of employees working on each car on race weekends and designed the cars to be relatively cheap. A team can buy a complete F2 car, without the engine, for around 500,000 euros.

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

Photography: Glenn Dunbar/ motorsport pictures

How do drivers get from F2 to F1?

To compete in F2, drivers must hold an A or B international FIA license. They cannot conduct private tests on F2 machines, only the group tests offered by the series. There are also restrictions on the single-seater cars that drivers can test in private, and if a driver is double-duty in another category, they must commit to racing in F2 in the event of any conflict.

Depending on a driver’s final standing at the end of the F2 season, they may receive Superlicense points to help qualify for F1. To obtain a super license to compete in F1, a driver needs to earn 40 points.

The distribution of Super License points is:

end of season position

SL points

first place


second place


third place


fourth place


the fifth place


sixth place


Number 7


number 8




No. 10


These can be applied cumulatively over the course of three seasons.

F1 VS F2 weekend format

F1 has been running in the same basic format for years, with FP1 and FP2 taking place on Fridays, each one hour long. FP3 races are also one hour long and take place on the Saturday before the three-stage qualifying format in place since 2006. F1 races must be at least 305 kilometers in length (excluding Monaco) and must not exceed two hours in duration, with a three-hour window if any red flags are raised.

However, sprint weekends are different and that changes for 2023. The only practice session kicked off with Friday’s race, followed by qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Sprint qualifying and the race are both held on Saturdays, with 2023 seeing six sprint weekends for added variety.

F2 has a practice session lasting 45 minutes on Friday, with a half-hour qualifying session later in the day. It’s effectively a time trial and drivers just need to maintain the fastest lap at the end of the race to secure pole for Sunday’s race.

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Photography: Red Bull Content Pool

The sprint race takes place on Saturday, using the same grid as qualifying, but with the top ten swapped. The number of laps “equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 120 km (100 km in Monaco)”, according to the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system, the score is finally dropped to eighth place, and the fastest lap points are awarded to the top 10 competitors.

The F2 weekend’s featured race “should be equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 170km (140km in Monaco, 160km in Budapest)”. It features mandatory pit stops where drivers must use both primary and optional compounds during the race. If a driver pits before completing the sixth lap, the mandatory stop does not count. This information is also not recorded if a driver stops under the Virtual Safety Car unless they are already in the pits when the VSC is triggered.

F2 attempted three weekend races in 2021, but the practice was generally unpopular and canceled for 2022 due to gaps left on the calendar. Prior to this, the main race was held on Saturday, and the starting position of the sprint race was determined by the results and the reversal of the top eight.

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