Having made the switch from Williams Martini Racing to the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team this season, Valtteri Bottas has found the move more of a challenge than he had anticipated.
The Finn joined the world champions at relatively short notice, after driver Nico Rosberg confirmed he would be retiring form the sport just days after winning the 2016 title, leaving both Bottas and the team very little time to get acquainted before the work for the new season began.
So far, things have gone extremely well for the 27-year-old, who set the fastest lap time and completed the most laps of any other driver at this week’s pre-season test session at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. Nevertheless, Bottas is not underestimating just how much work is still required to be fully up to speed with his new squad.
Different ways of working in terms of de-briefs, meetings and on-track communication, as well as getting used to a new car, have seen the Finn have to work extra hard to become accustomed to the German teams way of doing things, as he explained to motorsport.com recently.
“Definitely I’m feeling more and more comfortable and more part of the team every day. I already feel good.
“I still think there is work to do. Changing teams is maybe a slightly bigger thing than I initially thought it would be, but it’s not a hurdle that you can’t go over.
“It’s definitely possible and I’ve been working since the announcement [in January], pretty flat out, to get comfortable with everything, and that’s why everything has run so far quite smoothly here.
“And I’m sure next week we will make big progress, and still before Melbourne I have time to go back to the factory, analyse everything with the engineers and I’m sure, I’m confident we are going to be ready and I will be completely part of the team before Melbourne.”
Although teammate Lewis Hamilton is likely to have the upper hand over Bottas this year, having been with the Brackley based squad for coming up to five seasons now, the Finn believes the timing could not have been much better, given the rule changes in 2017.
The 27-year-old also feels he has the perfect template from which to work from in Hamilton, advising he would definitely be utilising the Brit’s knowledge as much as he could
“He has been part of this team for a long time, he knows exactly how the team works.
“Having a new teammate, I think there’s always something you can learn, and definitely Lewis is going to be a guy that I will be watching closely. It would be stupid not to.
“But I think in the team there are many other people who are extremely clever as well that I can learn massively from.”