Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Valtteri Bottas believes the main cause of the German squad’s performance issues so far this year, has been more down to car set-up than anything more serious.
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton appears to have felt the brunt of the problems so far, which involve difficulty in getting the softer compound tyres working in the optimum performance window, but the Finn definitely struggled with similar effects in China, earlier this year.
The issues have caused Mercedes to lose valuable points to Scuderia Ferrari, who they are in a close battle for the title with this season, something they cannot really afford to do, with things so tight at the top.
Monaco was a particular low point for Mercedes, which is why a thorough investigation was immediately implemented, in order to find the root cause of their nightmares.
Following on from that research, Bottas is happy that the analysis indicates that set-up is the main area they need to work on, rather than it being linked to their new, longer wheelbase car design, as he explained to motorsport.com recently.
“I think the long wheelbase of the car had probably a minimal effect.
“The team has done simulations and calculations and it [the wheelbase] was only a small problem – much more it was a set-up issue.
“We learned about our issues and probably just struggled to get the car well set-up for the track [Monaco]. Also, it is a type of track where the Ferrari car is better.
“They seemed to find a much better balance than us in Monaco and, as a driver, if you find a good balance and do a lot of laps with confidence, it can make a big difference.”
Bottas is confident that if the team can get the car set-up in the perfect range at each individual track, then they will outperform Ferrari, or anyone else on the grid for that matter, every time.
“I think it [the W08] is sensitive in general mechanically and aero wise as well.
“Everything is done in such fine detail that if you get it right it is the fastest car on the grid; if not it is more tricky.”