Valtteri Bottas believes that Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing are going to be Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s toughest rivals in 2018, but is also wary of progress from other teams.
After Ferrari’s various mishaps in the second half of the 2017 Formula 1 season, Mercedes eased their way to a fifth successive Constructors’ Championship, but Bottas is not counting on a repeat situation.
“On paper, Ferrari and Red Bull look like they will be our toughest competitors,” said Bottas at the Silverstone International Circuit launch of Mercedes’ 2018 car, the W09 EQ Power+.
Bottas then looked at the potential threats that could be posed by the McLaren F1 Team and the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team; both are expected to enjoy noticeable performance improvements in 2018 – McLaren boosted by Renault Sport customer engines after a nightmare three years with Honda; whilst Renault are confident that the R.S.18 is total improvement on last year’s car. The 28-year-old also said that the team he left a year ago to join Mercedes – Williams Martini Racing – could provide cause for worry.
“We should not underestimate any other teams.” the Finn mused.
“It’s a new season and you never know what people in other teams have come up with.
“McLaren and Renault can be very strong. And you never know about Williams either they have shown some strengths in the past few years.
“So it’s going to be really interesting how it’s going to be.”
Bottas’s contract situation for 2019 is currently in limbo, with his performances in the first half of 2018 crucial to his future with the German marque. The three-times Grand Prix winner faces threats from Mercedes protégés Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon as well as Ferrari lead driver Sebastian Vettel, should he choose not to honour his three-year contract, signed in August of last year.