Valtteri Bottas believes that this year’s cars could fall victim to the wind, proving difficult to handle and resulting in more spins.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team racer was one of a number of drivers to be caught out by sporadic bursts of wind during testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week, and suffered a high-speed spin at turn nine following an unexpected gust of tail wind.
Some rumours place the blame directly onto the tyres losing grip and causing a sudden snap of oversteer. But the Finn considers the wind to be a bigger contributing factor to the situation.
“I think in terms of tyres, from my feeling, it is not a massive difference in terms of how sudden the loss of grip is,” he explained. “Only in the case if the tyre is not hot enough, which is easy in these kind of conditions, especially with the harder compounds, sometimes it can quite tricky to get them to work. They they are quite snappy if you have oversteer, it’s very sudden.
“But with the softer compounds, once you get them to do the temperature, it felt like very much the same rate of sliding or losing the grip than last year’s. I think, as we had on day two, very windy conditions, the cars in general felt quite snappy then.
“I think the wind does make a bigger effect now because the overall downforce, aero-wise, produced is bigger. And, if you get a gust of wind, you lose a bigger amount of downforce than you would normally. So that makes it a bit more tricky.”