Newly recruited Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas was excited to get the new season underway at todays F1 W08 EQ power+ launch, where he finally got to drive the new silver arrows car and officially be seen as a Mercedes driver.
“It’s a new chapter in my career, a new team, new regulations… new everything!
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this car out on track and, although this is just a Filming Day, I’m looking forward to starting to test properly next week in Barcelona and to really understand the car that we’ve been given by everybody in Brixworth and Brackley.”
Since his whirlwind inclusion into the German team, it has been a busy time for Bottas who has been trying to manage his time between preparing physically for the new regulation changes this season, and getting to know his new team and surroundings.
Though the Finn feels completely ready, he knows there will still be plenty to learn and take on board at the start of the season, and is by no means expecting that to be easy.
“It has been a busy winter for me since signing with Mercedes and we have tried to make the most of the time we have had.
“We’ve been going day by day, making the most of each one, spending a lot of time in Brackley and going through as much stuff as possible with the engineers.
“I feel well prepared in such a short time but, of course, the learning curve is still steep and I’m getting more useful information every day. It’s up to us to make the most out of the time together.”
All drivers have upped their training programmes during this pre-season, to prepare them for the faster and more physically demanding cars they will be driving this year, and the Finn is no exception, ramping up the intensity and amount of training he usually does, to ensure he has reached peak fitness by the Australian Grand Prix.
“In terms of my physical preparation, I think I have done the most amount of training of any winter so far. I have done some good training camps and feel in the best shape I’ve ever been, definitely ready for the season ahead.”
Today was a special day for Bottas, who experienced being behind the wheel of a silver arrows car for the first time since joining Mercedes, and is unsurprisingly excited to be contesting the upcoming season as a driver of the world championship winning team.
He is also aware however, that having got the most time-consuming part of the process out of the way, there will now be a lot of hard work to come from him on track, but the Finn is certainly ready for the challenge ahead.
“Right now, it’s a very exciting feeling for me. I want to say a big thank you to everyone in our factories for getting this car ready to go. It’s been a massive effort and I’ve got a lot of respect for the shape we are in at the moment.
“But it’s only the first step – and this is where the work really begins.”