2013 F1 season
New Williams driver Valtteri Bottas says he’s eager to get back to racing after spending a year testing for the team.
His only outings this year have come during 15 free practice sessions during race weekends.
“I’m a naturally very competitive person and I’ve been competing in triathlons throughout 2012 to keep fit and keep my mind sharp,” said Bottas in a Q&A published by the team.
“Obviously I’ve missed racing a great deal so can’t wait to get back onto a starting grid, but I’ve been racing constantly since a very young age so when the lights go out in Australia It will be business as usual.”
His practice outings will be a “big help”, he added. “It means there are only a handful of circuits on the 2013 calendar that I have never driven, in Australia, Monaco, Valencia, Austin and Singapore. There will still be a lot of work to do but it means that I do have some knowledge to work from heading to most races next season.”
Bottas denied his connection to Williams executive director Toto Wolff had a bearing on him taking the seat for 2013: “Toto is part of my management team and has always supported by career, but because of his involvement with Williams he wasn’t part of the negotiations for my contract with the team.
“As with all decisions at Williams, Sir Frank [Williams] and the board of directors get to make the final decision. I’m grateful to Toto for helping introduce me to the Williams F1 Team, but it has been up to me to prove to Frank and the rest of the team that I have the talent and commitment to deliver the results they desire.”
He said he is unsure how competitive he can be in his first year of Formula One: “It’s difficult to set objectives before the season starts, so I’m just trying to make the most of this opportunity to prove the team has been right to promote me to a race seat.
“I want to look back on 2013 and feel that I’ve improved as a driver and helped the team improve its performance on the track.”
“As a team I think we should be aiming to score more points than this year and really get the most out of the car,” he added. “Personally I hope to look back and feel that I have learnt a lot and developed as a driver over the course of the season, having scored a lot of points for the team.”
Team principal Frank Williams said that having Bottas in the teams for three years already is a “big advantage”:
“He spends a lot of time in the factory so has managed to develop good relationships and knows how we like to operate. By that token we also know how he likes to work, which is crucial as developing a car throughout the season requires good two way communication.
“Having a new driver who has spent three seasons testing the car and conducting extensive simulator work means that he is as prepared for his first season as you can get.”
2013 F1 season
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Image © Williams/LAT