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Valtteri Bottas Q&A: Williams the best place for me to be

03 Sep 2015

Widely regarded as a champion in the making, Valtteri Bottas has found himself the subject of endless speculation in recent weeks - who would he be driving for next season? On Thursday that question was answered - he's staying put. Speaking to the media at Monza, Bottas discusses his decision, confirms Ferrari was never in his plans, and gives his views on tyres, closed cockpits and more...

Q: Valtteri, has peace returned to the team now that the driver line-up for 2016 is clear, with confirmation that you will not be disappearing?

Valtteri Bottas: Of course I didn't think about that issue all the time, but now it is done it is a bit of a relief. Now we can focus again on the job of making the car quicker, and working on the development of next year's car - now we can share all information.

Q: What were the crucial elements for you in staying on?

VB: It is the best place for me to be. There are not so many available seats, so it was logical for me to stay. Continuity is quite important - that you have the same team mate, the same engineers and the same team structure. That is comfortable, as we have a good basis together to work for even better results. 

Q: What does it mean mentally?

VB: Ah, that is difficult to describe. Ideally it shouldn't make any difference, as you should always give one hundred percent wherever you are. But, of course, when it is confirmed that you are staying with a team for next year maybe that gives you that extra bit of openness with different things - for example, when you speak about next year's car.

Q: Speaking of next year's car, no doubt you are not completely happy with this year's. What should be changed for 2016 to at least get you back to where you were?

VB: One thing is crucial. We cannot afford to have bad tracks for our car anymore. We need to be strong anywhere. If we want to challenge for the wins, we have to be quick anywhere. We should, for example, be better prepared for a track like Spa - have a Spa aero package like many other teams did. We need to be more reactive to different kind of tracks. We know now that we have some tracks that play to our advantage, but that is not enough to win. 

Q: Now that your Williams deal is done and dusted, can you tell us whether you were ever eyeing Ferrari?

VB: No, never.

Q: What about your management?

VB: Please ask them!

Q: There was speculation that you were too costly for Williams, that the figures were simply unprofitable, regardless of talent…

VB: Please ask Claire (Williams). Maybe I know, maybe not, but that is something that I can't share.

Q: Do you think that all the speculation about your future damaged the team in any way?

VB: No, it has not been damaged at all. In a situation like this it could happen, but no, no damage done! I am really happy to stay where I am. And the team obviously is very happy to keep me. We all get along very well. And as I said before, it was the best option for me at this point in my career. It feels very natural to stay. I started here as a test driver and will remain here - and with every year we get better together. And that is extremely promising.

Q: Valtteri, let's speak about the tyre situation. After Sebastian's (Vettel) comments at Spa, there were some suggestions that the drivers have been concerned for some time. What are your thoughts?

VB: We have all reacted to Spa, limiting some set-up options for the car and tyre pressure. In fact we haven't seen many tyre blow-ups this year, so I think that Spa was basically a one-off. Personally I am not worried. We should be fine with the changes that have been implemented.

Q: What is the crucial point for tyres on this track?

VB: The high-speed corners - but of course you don't have anything like Eau Rouge here. The kerbs are fine here - but they were also fine in Spa, so I don't see issues at all.

Q: What do you expect performance-wise from your car here?

VB: Obviously we do have a ‘Monza package', just like everyone. It is a low-downforce track, which normally is good for our car. In Spa we didn't get everything out of the car, as we ran a bit too much downforce because of an incorrect ‘Spa package'. So I think we should be better here than in Spa. With a good qualifying we really should be targeting the podium. 

Q: Did the team find out why the car in Spa was not so good on the softer tyres but much better on the harder ones?

VB: We do understand the problem. Most of it is related to tyre temperature, but we are still looking at how we can fix this. 

Q: Was Spa the worst it's been in terms of that issue?

VB: We had issues in Monaco and in Budapest, but it was a slightly different problem. 

Q: What would the drivers like to have, if they could influence the tyre development?

VB: Definitely more grip. It would also be nice to push a bit more and for longer in the race. And, of course, they need to be safe. These are points that drivers are interested in.

Q: Speaking of safety, there is the discussion about the pros and cons of closed cockpits. What's your stance?

VB: Well, many will argue that a closed cockpit is no longer a Formula One car, but I don't really see what difference it would make having a cover. When it is for safety I am open to anything.