Valtteri Bottas speaks on driving at KymiRing as he hints on rallying future post F1 with James Allison also featuring in Reddit AMA.
Despite a vibrant racing scene, albeit one that is centered around racing on mixed surfaces, the country of Finland – the home to many F1 drivers of both the past and the present – has never hosted the pinnacle of motor racing.
The nation is the birthplace of two active F1 drivers in Kimi Raikkonen and Bottas, and was the country in which greats of F1’s history grew up, among these Mika Hakkinen, known among the the sport’s fandom as the ‘Flying Finn’.
Previously, a lack of any legitimate venue made impossible a Finnish GP, but that changed in 2019 with the completion of the Kymiring, an FIA Grade 1 circuit. The 18-turn track, which has been described as technically challenging, was to host a MotoGP race this year as its first major event, but COVID-19 made this impossible.
Nonetheless, confidence in the facility’s capability to host a major event has instilled hope into those who have long been waiting for a race in the Northern European nation. Among those classified in this group is Bottas, who stated in a Reddit AMA for Mercedes’ Youtube that he has driven the circuit.
The 31-year-old also expressed his opinion on a potential F1 race there, which he would thoroughly enjoy racing. Bottas did, however, admit that the circuit might need some new buildings on its campus to be truly ready for the pinnacle form. “During the lockdown period I was able to go to the circuit once to do some laps,” he said.
“It’s a really nice track, they did a good job with it. Obviously, MotoGP this year was cancelled – [that’s] pretty understandable, but in the future I hope that we could race there”. They’re still missing some buildings to make it F1-approved, but never say never. It is a great track with a good flow. It is quite technical, actually.
“A bit of everything is there, you go up and down, low and high speed corners and a pretty big straight as well. They’ve done a really good job — hopefully one day we can race there.” In his AMA session, Bottas also covered his training, how legends of Finnish motorsport guided his career, what slight changes are most beneficial in his life, his champagne etiquette on the podium and coffee preferences in the kitchen, and his race number.
In fact, on the Finnish influence and particularly rallying, Bottas did not shy in admitting that he might take it up in the future. “All the Finnish drivers really motivated me to get to F1 but I think it was Mika Hakkinen definitely for me that triggered that I want to be a Formula 1 driver, but of course, thanks to Keke before him because he was the one that opened up the road for Finns in F1.
“There’s been lots of good drivers from Finland, they’ve all done good, so I am pretty pleased to carry that but don’t forget rallying, I might do that more often in future, who knows,” added Bottas, who has drive multiple WRC cars, whether as a test run or competitively.
Meanwhile, later in the video, the Finn talked about visibility when racing in the rain, the halo, the necessity of mechanical inclination as a driver, the risks of driving on the road versus on track, and his favorite track, which he maintains is Suzuka.
He also answered questions on his career’s turning point, what drivers he most enjoys wheel-to-wheel combat with, the innovation of DAS, and the repercussions of his “To whom it may concern” radio message.
Here’s the full video:
This AMA was the first of two, preceding one that featured James Allison. In his episode, Allison spoke to the percentage of ideas that proceed to the design stage of development, as well as the most frustrating misconception of ‘armchair experts’ on the matter of car design, and the advice he’d give to an aspiring engineer attempting to make the step up to F1.
On a hypothetical note, Allison also answered to the question of what rule change he’d inact if he had the chance. Peculiarly, he said that he’d enjoy seeing the removal of blue flags from the sport. The Brit also shot down a request from a fan for Mercedes to go slower, before addressing some of the common misconceptions of how a car performs.
Allison then discussed a topic that he has previously spoken about extensively — that of machine learning in F1 — before discussing his interest in the sport, and the aspects of racing at a new track that are most challenging. In a similar vein, the Mercedes engineer covered what details of their 2020 car are the most challenging to deal with, and what he views as the most underrated F1 development.
Here’s the full video:
A third video posted by the team had technology director Mike Elliott on to discuss a wide range of topics in the latest installment of their series, ‘Factory Friday’ – one of many that are active currently.
Here’s full video:
Here’s Lewis Hamilton defending Valtteri Bottas on Mugello re-start