Valtteri Bottas has expressed optimism with his future at Williams, despite no official confirmation regarding the Grove-based outfit’s driver line-up for the 2014 season. With Pastor Maldonado once again strongly linked with a move to Lotus, Valtteri Bottas could well find himself with a new team-mate in 2014 should the team elect to retain him.
Although Valtteri Bottas has endured a tough debut season in the world of Formula 1, the former GP3 Champion has unquestionably improved throughout the year. In the last few races at venues which the Finn has never before raced upon, he has successfully managed to out-qualify his more experienced team-mate at the last four races. Earlier in the season he greatly surprised the entire Formula 1 fraternity by qualifying 3rd at the Canadian Grand Prix, in a session plagued by inclement weather conditions.
With only three races remaining in the season Williams sit a lowly 9th in the Constructors’ Championship with only one point scored, when Pastor Maldonado finished 10th at the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier in the season. Although Valtteri Bottas has so far been unable to add to the team’s meager points tally, his entire debut season has understandably been a big learning curve. After the mid-season summer break, the 24-year-old Finn visibly began making further improvements with his qualifying pace, which has greatly assisted in his out-qualifying of team-mate Pastor Maldonado.
“The whole season I’ve been learning a lot and there are little things you’re picking up all the time.” Explained Valtteri Bottas in the FIA drivers’ press conference. “In qualifying, it’s been very tight this year – it’s always like that – and every hundredth counts. I think after the August break, for sure I’ve also improved in qualifying. I think I can now maybe get a bit more out of the car more consistently than before. I feel more confident all the time, so maybe we can see that in the results. It’s been a challenging year. We’ve been learning a lot the whole year as a team. It’s been very tough. So we’re definitely I think going in a good direction, we’re now very focussed for next year. What I’ve seen at the factory, the working at the factory is changing. We’ve got some new people and I’ve already seen some good things. I really think the future of Williams will be much better than what we’ve seen this year.”
When asked directly about his future with the team, Valtteri Bottas remained unsurprisingly coy on the matter. However, with rumours floating around the paddock strongly liking Pastor Maldonado to Lotus and Felipe Massa to Williams, the Finn could well find himself with a new team-mate next season. Regardless of such rumours, the Finn will be striving to find his maiden point in the sport throughout the last three races this season, before turning his attention to 2014.
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