Four questions to Valtteri Bottas
About the 2019 season, his relationship with IWC and the renewal with AMG Mercedes F1 for 2020.
During the 2019 F1 Charity Night gala dinner, organized by Laureus Italia in Milan ahead of the Monza GP, Valtteri Bottas participated as the special guest. The Finnish driver has recently renewed his agreement with AMG Mercedes F1, securing a seat in the top Formula One team for another year, and winning against the German brand's Academy Sebastian Ocon, who joined the Renault F1 team instead, alongside Daniel Ricciardo, for the 2020 season.
Before Valtteri eventually took the stage, we had the chance to sit down and ask him some questions, included what to expect as a result of its recent renewal with the manufacturer from Stüttgart.
Q: Hi Valtteri, your performance has significantly improved this year, and you often lead the qualifying session. Did you change anything in how you prepare yourself for the racing weekend?
A: Yes, I changed some things, the main thing is I try to do more the things I enjoy between races. So, I used to be very strict on all program between the races, always had a plan of what to do, which kind of training each day and so on but, if you do it too long, it gets tiring and you can easily lose the enjoyment.
I think I learned to relax properly in the winter and also between the races, I take it day by day, there's always a big training plan, but it's a bit more flexible, and I do more the things I want to do.
Q: During the first part of the season, many discussions arose about the racing commission's GP victory assignments, especially during the Canadian and the Austrian GPs. What is your opinion about that? Don't you think that drivers should be allowed to compete more freely against each other?
A: I'm a big fan of tough racing and hard racing but also fair racing.
I think we all drivers don't like unnecessary penalties, we all want to go in a wheel to wheel and push hard. That's my opinion. I think it needs to be fair, for sure safety is important, but I'm sure everyone likes to see proper hard racing.
Q: How is your relationship with IWC, is it exclusively a business partnership, or do you like to give feedback about what you want in a watch and what you would like to be different instead?
A: I really only got to know IWC properly when I joined Mercedes, in 2017, and obviously, I was pleased with the partnership, they do beautiful watches. It is our team partnership, I'm not doing anything with the watches, although I would love to design a watch one day myself or at least give some guidance; for now, I take the privilege of enjoying the partnership and the watches, be part of very nice events.
The main thing is to learn more about the world of watches, watchmaking, and follow very carefully when the new watches are coming, the details and materials, something that I find very cool.
Q: You just announced the renewal of your agreement with AMG Mercedes for 2020, so congratulations on this achievement, first of all. What are your expectations for the second part of the season and 2020, moving forward?
A: Thank you! I'm delighted to continue with a team that has dominated pretty much all the championships for a few years now, so I think it's the best bet to be in this team and win the title. My goal is now to get more wins, I only have two wins this season, and I'm still hungry. I try to take every weekend as a separate one and focus on that weekend.
I don't want to overthink about the championship standing, and I have a big gap to the lead, I hope it can shrink; who knows what it's going to happen at the end of the season. I'm just going full attack for the rest of the year, there's a good feeling with the team, and I've been able to improve every year step by step, so I'm aiming to improve for the next year too.
As you know, Valtteri arrived second at the end of the 2019 Monza Grand Prix, raising to second place in the final laps, after overtaking Lewis Hamilton, and tried to compete with Charles Leclerc, who was on fire last Sunday. He failed to win; nonetheless, he showed a consistent performance throughout the race along with driving skills that often help him reduce tire consumption over his competitors.
(Photo credit: courtesy of IWC Watches, AMG Mercedes F1)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®