Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas says the speculation last summer of him moving to rival Scuderia Ferrari was “disturbing” something that he believes affected his concentrations and results.
Bottas was linked with a race seat with Ferrari for 2016 as a possible replacement for fellow Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, but this ended when Ferrari announced that they were retaining Raikkonen for the 2016 season.
“It was the most disturbing time of my career so far,” said Bottas. “I could really feel what media can do, they keep asking the same questions every race.
“Even on the street, normal people ask you about the same thing all the time, it’s like 24/7 the same thing. It’s not ideal, because when you go to a race weekend, the only thing you want to have in your mind is how do you get the perfect result.
“When there are rumours like this, it makes it more difficult. It didn’t help, but that is F1. I think it all went well, for sure it didn’t help with the results and concentration at all but I don’t think it hurt that much.”
The scenario Bottas faced, he believes was a good learning experience for the next time his future is the subject of speculation.
“It was a good experience for me,” he said. “I still hopefully have a long career ahead of me and there will most likely be lots of speculation to come, maybe in 2016.
“It has prepared me well how to deal with it. Now I’ve been in that situation, I think it’s probably good for the long term.”