Mercedes Car Launch 2018: Q&A with Valtteri Bottas (Press Conference)
As you will have seen in this post – Mercedes-AMG Petronas launched their car for the 2018 Formula 1 season at Silverstone and both drivers spoke to the media, check out Lewis Hamilton’s Q&A feature here.
Below, you can see the press conference with Valtteri Bottas who looked relaxed, determined and ready for the upcoming season.
Q&A with Valtteri Bottas (Press Conference)
Question: Valtteri, last year you had a hectic winter as you joined Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport at short notice, how was your winter this year?
Valtteri Bottas: “This year I could really relax, focus on my health and my training. I did a lot of training, especially in January and February. I’m feeling fresh, healthy and fit for the season.”
Question: You spent a few days in the category over the past weeks, how would you describe the atmosphere in the team?
Valtteri Bottas: “It’s always really interesting to go to the factory for the first time after the break and to see how things have been going since December. Even though people get some holiday over Christmas and New Year, there are always people at the factory, working on the new car. I had a number of meetings with my engineers regarding the approach for the new season and I also did simulator work for winter testing and the season ahead.”
Question: You are the first person to drive the new Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ challenger for the 2018 season, how does it feel?
Valtteri Bottas: “It’s really amazing to know how many hours have been spent on designing and manufacturing the car and how much effort people have put into it. As a driver, you feel really special to be able to drive that machine.”
Question: 2018 comes with a few changes – the halo, less power units to be used per driver, per championship. What are your thoughts on this?
Valtteri Bottas: “I have done more than one race distance in the simulator with the halo and I got used to it during the first race. Initially, it was a bit weird to see the halo but I got completely used to it, it’s not disturbing any more so I’m fine with it. I’m sure it’s going to look a bit strange for all the fans initially as well because there’s never been anything like that in Formula One. If the halo can protect even from a small injury, then that’s a good rule change. Regarding the power units – we hope to keep a similar level of reliability like last year when we were very reliable. That’s all thanks to the hard work in Brixworth – we hope the new PU’s (Power Units) will be powerful and reliable and that we won’t have any problems with the new regulations.”
Question: Formula one is coming back to Germany in 2018 and we will also see the addition of a French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard. How do you feel about that?
Valtteri Bottas: “I’ve raced so many times at Hockenheim, the first time was probably in 2007 with Formula Renault. I’ve been racing there in F3 and GP3 and it’s always a great circuit to go to. I have a lot of good memories from the 2014 F1 race when I can second with Lewis just behind me – hopefully we can get the same result this year – just one place better and it’ll be good for Mercedes as it will be a home race for us.”
Question: That’s your goal for Hockenheim, what’s your goal for the season?
Valtteri Bottas: “I want to use all the things I learned last year. This year it’s all about executing and delivering the results. For me, consistency is the key – I had some really good races but then I had races when I was not on the level that I wanted to be. I want to be on a good level on every single race weekend – that’s going to be the goal for me this year. I definitely want to fight for the championship.”
Question: We saw a close battle with Ferrari last year. Who do you think are going to be the main competitors this year?
Valtteri Bottas: “On paper, Ferrari and Red Bull look like they will be our toughest competitors however we should not underestimate any of the other teams. It’s a new season and you never know what people in other teams have come up with. McLaren and Renault can be very strong and you never know about Williams either as they have shown strength in the past few years so it’s going to be really interesting.”
Question: What are the tree things you’re most excited about in 2018?
Valtteri Bottas: “Number one will be getting into the car – it’s always super exciting when you drive the car for the start and get a real feel for it. Knowing that so many hours of work have gone into the car makes it even more special. Number two will be Melbourne – it’s always really cool at the starting grid for the first race and seeing what we can do as a team compared to the others. Number three – I’m looking forward to all the new wins and a good result for the end of the year.”
Below, you can also see the video from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas launch at Silverstone, along with features from the press conference featuring Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.