Valtteri Bottas says speculation linking him with a move to Formula 1 rival Ferrari last summer was "disturbing" and affected his concentration and results.
The Finn was touted as a potential successor to Kimi Raikkonen before Ferrari took up the option on his countryman for 2016.
Bottas later signed up for another season with Williams and finished fifth in the drivers' standings, one place worse off than the previous season.
"It was the most disturbing time of my career so far," Bottas told Autosport.
"I could really feel what media can do, they keep asking the same questions every race.
"Even on the street, normal people ask you about the same thing all the time, it's like 24/7 the same thing.
"It's not ideal, because when you go to a race weekend, the only thing you want to have in your mind is how do you get the perfect result.
"When there are rumours like this, it makes it more difficult. It didn't help, but that is F1.
"I think it all went well, for sure it didn't help with the results and concentration at all but I don't think it hurt that much."
Williams technical director Pat Symonds felt the speculation did impact on the Finn's performance.
"I wish that hadn't happened because I think it did affect him," he told Autosport.
"But Valtteri has come through it, he has absolutely bounced back."
Bottas believes the scenario was a good learning experience for the next time his future is the subject of speculation.
"It was a good experience for me," he said.
"I still hopefully have a long career ahead of me and there will most likely be lots of speculation to come, maybe in 2016.
"It has prepared me well how to deal with it. Now I've been in that situation, I think it's probably good for the long term."