Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas unsure if Mercedes will be in contention for victory in Melbourne

2019 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes are still trying to solve balance problems with their W10 and isn’t sure if they will be contenders for victory from the first race of the season.

Asked about team mate Lewis Hamilton’s reference to “little hurdles” the team was trying to overcome with its new chassis, Bottas said “Hurdles or obstacles, there’s always those in this sport and with a new car.

“But definitely we have some kind of balance issues we still need to solve. Many things in the car we can still improve.”

He is confident the team will be able to solve the problems it has with the W10.

“I have faith in the team, we’ve been in difficult situations before with the car, we’ve had race weekends where we’ve been under-performing with the car. So any obstacle I feel it is possible to overcome.

“But again it’s all about how to work and working together as a team for that. I trust everyone in our factory, I think the race team is really making sure with the starting point we have for the season that we’re going to the best possible shape for Melbourne.

“If it’s going to be enough to win races that’s completely unknown at this point, time will show. But for sure we will try everything we can for that.”

[smr0901]Mercedes brought a major aerodynamic upgrade for its car this week. Bottas said this was not a reaction to the performance of rivals Ferrari during the first test.

“The package we have here has been developed for a long time, like the first package. It was not like last week we realised we needed to change something and brought something new, it was well planned a long time ago. I’m sure we’ll try to bring some improvements for Melbourne as well.

“I feel with the regulation change even though it’s not massive, [because of] how complex the cars are aerodynamically from the start of the season to the end of the year we’re going to see bigger improvements from each team compared to last year.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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15 comments on “Bottas unsure if Mercedes will be in contention for victory in Melbourne”

  1. The main question is where RBR will start to season.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      28th February 2019, 19:57

      Probably very near where they left off.
      Great chassis, slightly less engine power and reliability. They’ll probably be in contention for occasional wins, but I think they won’t be beating Ferrari (whose car appears to be very good) yet.

      The real question is whether the Honda can get closer to the Mercedes and Ferrari engines than Renault could. RB don’t actually need them to be better than Ferrari/Mercedes. They demonstrated what they can do with a good chassis and a decent engine in 2011 and 13.

  2. Oh Jesus give a rest already Mercedes, you’ve got it in the bag because your budget says so.

    1. It, give it a rest. Why’s there no edit button?

    2. Exactly. They can pretend they’ve got problems all they want and believe me, I wish it was true, but they’ll just win again.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        28th February 2019, 19:59

        They always do. prior to any season they always hype the competition up.

        I do believe Ferrari might have the slightly better car, but MB will certainly be competative.

  3. I’m sure Mercedes will be in contention. After all, it is quite likely that it will be another Merc/Ferrari duel for the trophies. The only thing that will change that is if Ferrari are now about to utterly dominate ala Merc in 14, 15, and 16, locking out the front row almost always. Failing that, I don’t expect anyone to be all that near these two teams, so I don’t see how we won’t see at least one Mercedes on the podium in Australia, and I call that ‘in contention.’

  4. Inb4 Hamilton on pole by 0.5s and an easy win for Merc.

  5. Bottas needs to be solely focused on geting on top of Hamilton – anything less over the first few races and I am afraid his reputation as a great No.2 driver will be cast in stone forever

  6. Dire situation down at Mercedes, same thing year after year, weekend after weekend, the downward spiral never stops

    1. Toto is basically doing the complete Opposite of Claire

    2. Or rather the complete opposite of Zac

  7. Time to bring back the 2018 championship-winning car and bolt a 2019-spec front wing on it then. End story.

  8. They will be in contention because it is very unlikely they are definitely slower than any other team bar Ferrari. So if you’re car is good enough for 3rd, you are a contender to win because the top 2, to me it will be Ferrari, can have issues or a blunder in tactics and throw away a win.

    But I’m more and more convinced that Mercedes will not dominate this season, it will be their hardest season in the V6 era.
    But that does not mean they will not win

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