Bottas ‘tingling’ before 2013 car debut

Valtteri Bottas has admitted he is “tingling” ahead of the debut of his 2013 race car.

After teammate Pastor Maldonado drives the new FW35 on day one in Barcelona, rookie Finn Bottas will get his first taste of the 2013 Williams on Wednesday.

Unlike every other F1 team, the Grove based team did not debut its new car recently at Jerez.

“I believe we made the right decision,” 23-year-old Bottas told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

“It was our plan all along to bring the new car only to Barcelona, in order to give us more development time in the wind tunnel,” he added.

Bottas admitted the anticipation is therefore great, insisting “I would be lying” if he denied he is “tingling” ahead of the debut of his first F1 racer.

He said: “Personally I have big expectations, and the entire team believes that we now have a better car than last year.”


Wolff to ‘keep an eye’ on Williams’ Bottas

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ new co-owner and director, has admitted he will be keeping an eye on rookie Valtteri Bottas’ progress in 2013.

Before switching to Mercedes, Austrian Wolff had the very same role at Williams, where last year Finn Bottas, 23, was groomed for a future race seat as reserve driver.

Now, as the youngster steps up to race, Wolff has jumped ship.

But Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper quotes Wolff as saying: “I am still involved as an investor of Valtteri’s, and of course he is my friend.

“Didier Coton however is looking after his contracts and the business side, and Mika Hakkinen is also involved,” he revealed.

“I’m very happy for him (Bottas) and I will be keeping an eye on how he gets on. You don’t just take off your blue shirt (Williams) and put on a white one and leave everything behind. I am still fond of the Williams family and a hope they do well.”


Wolff: Bottas has time to reach full potential

Williams will give Valtteri Bottas at least half a season to get up to speed.

After a full season of preparation as the famous British team’s reserve driver last year, practising on most Friday mornings at grands prix, 22-year-old rookie Bottas will make his full time race debut in 2013. And the young Finn can’t wait.

“Well, it was mentally tough,” he told the MTV3 broadcaster, referring to 2012. “At the end of practice just when I had found a rhythm in the car I then had to give it back. And I knew that I would have kept improving if only I could have driven more,” said Bottas.

“As I then watched the race, of course I thought about what I might have been able to do. It was not so easy. Especially the weekends where I could not drive at all — they were very long,” he smiled.

The team, however, will be urging Bottas to be patient. Williams co-owner Toto Wolff, who is also involved in the young driver’s management, said the 22-year-old will enjoy some “puppy protection”.

“He needs mileage and racing experience,” he told Motorsport Aktuell, a Swiss weekly. “He is very fast and extremely intelligent,” Austrian Wolff insisted, “but we have to give him the right environment so that he can realise his potential.

“We can’t assume that he will be on the second row in Melbourne, even if the car is capable of it,” he continued.

“I believe he can get the full potential from the car by the middle of the season.”


Backer says Bottas not like other pay-drivers

Valtteri Bottas is not like other ‘pay drivers’ on the F1 grid, his main backer insists.

The young Finn, set to debut for Williams next year, is backed by Antti Aarnio-Wihuri, whose company Wirhuri is a global industry and trade conglomerate. Aarnio-Wihuri is quoted by Turun Sanomat: “I have a personal acquaintance with Frank Williams, which played a role.

“On next year’s car we will have big ads. We are talking about substantial sums, but not tens of millions, as has been mentioned for some of the other (F1) drivers. We hope to get back the money we have invested through the advertising.”


Bottas: Williams race deal won’t change my life

Valtteri Bottas insists securing a contract to race a Williams in 2013 would not change his life. The young Finn, who this year has been testing on Fridays for the famous British team, is waiting to know if he will debut as expected alongside Pastor Maldonado next year.

“I don’t think it would change anything,” Bottas told Finland’s Turun Sanomat, when asked how a race contract would change his life. “I would race just as I have done in other classes. Of course, I would then be racing against the very best in the world’s fastest cars, but on the other hand, nothing else changes,” he insisted.

“This year has been good in the sense that I know now what to expect through a season. I’ve been all over the place. Of course, it takes more energy to do more driving, and perhaps even more media work as well as more with the sponsors even in the breaks.”

As for his likely 2013 teammate, Bottas said he has a “good relationship” with Venezuelan Maldonado, and thinks the pair would enjoy a competitive 2013 car.

“The rules are staying the same and so I think the balance of power will be pretty much the same as now,” he said. “Some though will make small improvements. At Williams we have been developing the car for a long time and we believe that it will certainly be better than this year.”


Bottas: I’m ready for Williams race seat

Valtteri Bottas has admitted he is very keen to end his reserve duties and join the F1 grid as soon as possible.

The Finn, who is managed by Williams’ executive director Toto Wolff as well as Mika Hakkinen, usually replaces Bruno Senna on Friday mornings, and is tipped to step into the seat full-time next season. Asked if he is ready for that, 22-year-old Bottas told Russia’s “Yes, I hope so, but at the moment the situation remains unchanged.

“I will do the Friday sessions, except in Singapore and Austin. “As for a contract for next year, I don’t know — it’s a fact. But this season has taught me a lot, and I feel ready now. If I am offered the opportunity, I will of course take advantage of it.

“I think at some stage you just have to go for it, whether you are 90 or 100 per cent ready,” he added.

Bottas admitted he has been in a privileged situation in 2012, having enjoyed plenty of mileage in the FW34 despite F1’s tightly-controlled testing limits.

“It’s really the most a young driver can expect,” he said. “But, of course, all my life I have been racing. It was impossible for me to take part in GP2 and Friday practice at the same time. So if I had to select my programme for this year again, undoubtedly we would have chosen the Friday practice. Concentrating solely on formula one was the best choice.”

Bottas said he is reluctant to feel sorry for Senna, who has been giving up his car in practice and then often struggling for the rest of the weekend.

“When he signed the contract,” the young Finn insisted, “he knew that on Fridays I would be at the wheel of the car. We try to act as a team, but if I was a race driver then I probably wouldn’t like it either if someone else is driving my car. It’s a normal reaction.

“This is my third year with Williams, and my role in the team has been always becoming more important. This team has become my home and I would very much like to continue to work here.”


Wolff: It is too early to say if Bottas will race next year

Valtteri Bottas is waiting in the wings at Williams, according to Toto Wolff.

Austrian Wolff doubles up as a Williams shareholder and executive as well as team reserve driver and Finn Bottas’ manager. In the context of Romain Grosjean’s Monza race ban, the word in the paddock is that the FIA is also running thin on patience for Pastor Maldonado.

“Of course I don’t hope that Pastor gets more penalties, and certainly not a ban,” Wolff told Turun Sanomat newspaper. “He wouldn’t deserve that. He has certainly made mistakes, but he is aware of what has happened, and often the penalties have hurt him a lot.

“I don’t want to see race bans, but if that were to happen, we have a third driver Valtteri Bottas ready to enter immediately,” added Wolff.

Bottas, 22, has regularly practiced in Bruno Senna’s Williams this year.

“Sometimes he has exceeded our expectations, but we want to keep Valtteri’s feet firmly on the ground rather than have him thinking he is a superstar before he is a superstar,” said Wolff.

Wolff also said it is too early to say if Bottas will have a full race seat in 2013.

“No, we don’t know yet. We have only just begun to think about the situation and the timing of the decision,” he said. “We want to take (an overview of) the situation as a whole, rather than trying to do it a couple of weeks before Singapore.”


Bottas: More sponsors would help race seat hopes

Valtteri Bottas has admitted that a flood of sponsorship would boost his chances of debuting for Williams in 2013.

Earlier reports from Finland said the British team’s 22-year-old reserve driver has been asked to put together more money to compete with Bruno Senna’s millions.

“Some gestures from Finland would help him a lot,” Toto Wolff, who is not only a Williams shareholder and executive director but also Bottas’ manager, said.

The highly-regarded Finn already brings some sponsors from his native country, but when asked about his chances of moving up the pecking order at Williams in 2013 he said in Belgium: “I sure hope that the cooperation with Williams will continue. I’ve been here for a few years and I like it. I know all the people and how the team operates — yes, it would be a big help,” he is quoted by the MTV3 broadcaster.

Bottas said he does not want to have to spend another year on the reserve bench.

“Definitely the next step in my career is a race driver’s seat,” he said. “I haven’t competed this year at all. Another year without that might be too much; I could lose the feeling,” explained Bottas.

More money from Finland would be the answer.

“Of course it would help; it’s a bonus for the team,” he admitted.


Bottas: Williams better than recent races show

Williams’ 2012 car holds more potential than has been seen at recent grands prix according to reserve driver Valtteri Bottas, who is hotly tipped to step into the race cockpit in 2013.

A vast improvement on last year’s Williams, the FW34 has even won a race from pole this season. But Bottas, 22, thinks the car is better than it has appeared more recently, with the best finish since Pastor Maldonado’s victory in Spain being Bruno Senna’s seventh place last time out in Hungary.

“I think that we were really unlucky in the results of the last races,” Bottas is quoted by Brazil’s Globo Esporte. “We should have more points,” he added, referring to Williams’ seventh place in the constructors’ championship, placing the team between Sauber and Force India.

“The car has more pace than it has seemed,” said Bottas.

Results aside, he insists the team is on the right track in terms of car development.

“We’re definitively developing and understanding the car much more since the beginning of the year,” said Bottas. “The direction has been right all of the time. Of course the other teams have developed as well, but if we keep up the good work, even if all the others continue to develop, we can get some good points.”


Bottas hopes for long career with Williams

Valtteri Bottas, currently Williams’ reserve and ‘Friday’ driver, has admitted a race seat at the British team would be “ideal”.

The young Finn is hotly tipped to step up for his grand prix debut next year, with the reigning GP3 champion now focusing only on his F1 duties, and managed by Williams shareholder and new executive director Toto Wolff. Bottas, 22, is quoted by Turun Sanomat as saying making the next step also with the Williams team “would be ideal”.

“I like working with these people and with Frank Williams,” he said. “The team has a great history and it’s the third year I’ve been involved with them. I feel at home now and so it would be great to stay here. I hope for a long career with Williams.”

When he steps in for morning practice duties at grands prix, Bottas always takes the place of Williams’ Brazilian race driver Bruno Senna. But Senna’s advantage over Bottas is his sponsorship purse. Bottas insists it’s too early to know what’s going to happen next.

“It’s hard to say what the opportunities are,” he said. “It’s still too early. We are only halfway through the season and so the teams still have plenty of time to decide. I really can’t say that anything is impossible,” Bottas concluded.

Wolff said recently that driver choice is an “essential part” of success in F1.

“It’s all about developing your own drivers and trying to keep the ones who are good in your car, so it’s as challenging as building a good car and getting a good engine,” he said.