Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Changing teams a bigger challenge than expected – Bottas

2017 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas has admitted his move from Williams to Mercedes has been more disruptive than he thought it would be.

Williams is the only team Bottas has raced for in Formula One and his move to Mercedes came at short notice following Nico Rosberg’s unexpected off-season retirement.

“Changing teams is maybe a slightly bigger thing than I initially thought it would be,” Bottas said.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Testing day four in pictures
“But it’s not a hurdle that you can’t go over, it’s definitely possible, and I’ve been working since the announcement pretty flat out to get comfortable with everything and that’s why everything has run so far quite smoothly.

“I’m sure next week we will make big progress and still before Melbourne I have time to go back to the factory, analyse everything with the engineers, and I’m sure I’m confident we are going to be ready and I will be completely part of the team before Melbourne.”

Bottas described the differences he’s experienced in moving from Williams to Mercedes. “Being at the factory you realise some things, how the team is approaching simple things like debriefs, pre-event meetings, checklists and in terms of setting up the car with different perhaps mechanical approach the car itself.”

There can be many different things how you set up the car and getting very comfortable with those, because I’m that type of a driver that likes to understand everything what is going in the car and what is really affecting what.”

“Also on track the communication within the team, getting that absolutely perfect, that’s always going to take time. Like I said with how the car behaves there is still a bit more work to do with all the tools, adjusting the balance in the car with the steering wheel, there’s plenty more to experience and to learn.”

“When you add these together, plus trying to know the names of I don’t know how many people in the team – more than 800 in Brackley – there has been a lot of work and still work to be done. But not impossible and already feeling very good.”

However Bottas said he is “definitely feeling more comfortable and more part of the team every day”.

“I already feel good, for example this morning walking in having breakfast it felt normal so that’s a good feeling. Definitely a big difference to last week, this was the proper first time of working as a unit, as a team on track with the engineers, finding performance, which I learned very much from. I still think there is work to do.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 20 comments on “Changing teams a bigger challenge than expected – Bottas”

    1. nelson piquet
      5th March 2017, 11:52

      just beat hamilton and i can die in peace

      1. Ha ha, not likely

        1. You need to pay attention to what he said, “I’m that type of a driver that likes to understand everything what is going in the car and what is really affecting what …Like I said with how the car behaves there is still a bit more work to do with all the tools, adjusting the balance in the car with the steering wheel, there’s plenty more to experience and to learn … finding performance, which I learned very much from. I still think there is work to do.”
          If Valtteri is going to beat Lewis then he has to do it by being better than Lewis, and that means lots of homework and lots of practice in the simulator. Part of that is understanding the car better than Lewis, getting a better setup than Lewis, and then putting all the training and homework it into action better than Lewis.

          1. As we can see last year, it not just a matter to be better than Lewis, because something that Lewis has to do this year better than the last one, is that he also try to be better or at least the same Lewis of the past, because he loose some focus and some ground last year.

            1. Hopefully they have roughly similar levels of car reliability so one of them isn’t worse off than the other, and then we can truly see who is the better driver. From I have seen of Bottas at Williams, though, he is competent enough a driver, but nothing special. Explains why he was second choice for Mercedes (to replace Nico: they called Alonso first, found out he wasn’t available, then settled for Bottas).

    2. Wasn’t this exact news story published about 3-4 days ago?

    3. Barely any comments. Another unexciting teamamte for Lewis. That makes three out of five; Jenson and ‘Lonzo the only exciting ones.

      1. I don’t know what you mean by excitement, but IMO Rosberg years were much more exciting than Jenson’s: more championships at stake, more controversies, more battes for the lead, more collisions..:

      2. Uh, somehow I think Nico made it pretty exciting between the two drivers.

      3. @david-beau
        How was Jenson exciting but Nico wasn’t?

    4. I don’t think Bottas stands a chance this year. He’s going up against a Hamilton sore from defeat and even though I think Bottas has some talent, I’ve never seen the kind of quality you see in say Hamilton or Verstappen where they can drop into a team and bring the fight straight away.

      If he can keep Hamilton honest this year and score a contract for next year I think we’ll see a more representative challenge from him, I just hope Hamilton doesn’t beat him by too much and effectively kill his career.

      1. Well I think it is only natural that VB starts out on his hind foot vs LH who is obviously a ton more engrained on the team. As to killing his career…no way…at worse he will have been bested by a multi-Champion fully engrained in his team, VB in only his first year in a race- winning car. VB is not in a high pressure situation this year, just like DR going to RBR beside SV. If VB beats LH the odd time it’s gravy…if he doesn’t it’s no surprise given who he is up against.

        1. Kovalainen was pretty well matched against Rosberg in GP2 and Kovalainen’s career pretty much ended after partnering with Hamilton.

          Rosberg had it easy with a car that would at least get #2 and often at least #1 when Hamilton’s car had technical issues again, but Kovalainen was driving a car with which even Hamilton had to fight for a podium.

          1. @patrickl
            In 2008 Hamilton won the championship while Kovalainen only managed 7th. In 2009 Hamilton was 5th while Kovalainen was 12th.

            So yeah, if Bottas fails that badly, his career is (and it should be) over. But I don’t think he will.

        2. @robbie

          Like I said I’m expecting Hamilton to beat him, it’s a matter of by how much though.

          Hamilton came into Rosbergs team and took charge. Rosberg ran him close for 3 years until finally beating him which is why he stayed in high regard. Bottas needs to pose a challenge to Hamilton otherwise he’ll only establish himself as a competent also ran rather than championship material.

          1. @philipgb Yeah fair enough VB’s fate is in his own hands, but I also think that there will be a level of understand that this is his first foray with a truly competitive car, so it’s not like he will be drummed out of F1 if he gets trounced by LH, imho.

    5. He has a one year contract, so yes he’s in a high pressure situation this year.

      1. All he has to do is beat Lewis on track a couple of times and he’s on for another year, no doubt whatsoever.
        It’s not gonna be easy, but the pressure isn’t in the one year contract, it’s in the “beating Lewis” bit :P

        1. Last year i wanted Nico to win.But this year i don’t care who wins.If Lewis stops being so arrogant i think i like him more.It will be fun to watch.If they would have chosen Wehrlein , that would have boon boring to watch.

          But anyway if i would be Bottas i would say this year is actually easier to beat Lewis.Because Lewis is going to try hard to win and make mistakes.

          1. I’ve heard quite a few people call Lewis ‘arrogant’. Always brushed it off as haters’ issues, but it would be interesting if you gave us some examples of Lewis being ‘arrogant’. Something specific he said or did that shows he has got “…an exaggerated sense of his own importance or abilities…”. Obviously, for the label to have been used on him and not every other F1 driver, this would need to be something that only Lewis has said or done, not any other driver not normally labelled “arrogant”.

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