Valtteri Bottas has said his involvement in the development of the 2019 Mercedes F1 car is equal as Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas joined Mercedes in quick terms in 2017 when he couldn’t be involved hugely in the car’s development. The phase from 2017 to 2018 was easier considering his stay for the whole of the winter which is similar this year for 2019.
From the outside, it looked Bottas suffered in 2018 in terms of performance but the Finn was clear that he was close to his teammate all-season long even if the result sheet did not show it as he finished fifth while Hamilton took the title.
For a driver to perform to his fullest, the car needs to be tuned to his liking as any hindrance will mean the driver won’t be able to extract as much as possible. There were times when Bottas looked more comfortable in 2018 but Hamilton extracted more.
The British driver had his moments but looking at the overall picture, he found himself more tuned to the 2018 car. With a difficult year behind, Bottas is certainly looking towards 2019 where he says the involvement is pretty much equal by both drivers.
“We have been involved equally being part of the next year’s car and whatever we have been speaking in race weekends and of course when I get to the factory, we get updates about next year, so I am definitely as much involved as he is,” he said.
“Once we get on track, we will see how it is going to perform – anyway it is going to be a different car and we have to adapt to it, I look forward to that.” It is always difficult to have a car which is balanced for both the drivers.
Sometimes it does ends up to the liking of one driver with the feedback but the team always tries to tune it to the liking of both the drivers to score as much for the constructors’ championship.
Meanwhile, the 2019 season could become a make or break year for Bottas with Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings as the team’s reserve driver. The Frenchman lost out in the silly season but stuck with the German manufacturer.
When asked Bottas if he will have an added pressure with the Ocon factor in 2020, the Finn said he will take the year with ‘nothing to lose’ attitude. “This sport is funny, you never know what happens in the future,” he said.
“But I think the right mentality for me to approach next year is like I have nothing to lose. I just want to go for it and drive like I stole it, like it’s my last race, last day ever. So, yeah, I think that’s it. That’s a good plan.”
While he drew criticism from the fans and pundits for his performances, the comparisons with Nico Rosberg was discussed as well. Since the German managed to beat Hamilton for the 2016 title, FormulaRapida.net asked if Bottas would ring up Rosberg for any help.
“No,” he promptly and clearly responded to the question. “Every human, every sportsperson and every athlete is completely different. I have to find my own way to be the best version of me – as a driver and as a person.”
[Read: Bottas on where he lost out in 2018 title fight]