Bottas: Top F1 teams play weird games during pre-season testing

Valtteri Bottas says he is refusing to read too much into Ferrari's comments downplaying its pre-season Formula 1 testing performance, saying rivals often play "a weird game"

Bottas: Top F1 teams play weird games during pre-season testing

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has said repeatedly the team is trailing rivals Mercedes and Red Bull after making a quiet start to testing with its new SF1000 car.

Sebastian Vettel lifted Ferrari to the top of the timesheets for the first time on the penultimate day of pre-season testing, but still trailed Bottas's winter benchmark from the opening week by over a second.

Asked if he believed Binotto was bluffing about Ferrari's place in the pecking order, Bottas said the games between teams to hide their true performance were no surprise.

"It's a weird game in this sport sometimes with how much you're showing, your speed in testing," Bottas said.

"Only the teams themselves know the true form they have.

"They can calculate and add up everything in terms of performance, what lap time they could do in theory, and we can only guess what other teams are running and how much they have in their pocket.

"It's so difficult to say. We've also learned as a team it's very important to keep focusing on our own work and own performance, doing our job, and eventually the time will come that everyone will show their cards."

Ferrari stated last week it would change its approach for testing after raising expectations with an impressive display in 2019 as it chased performance, only to then struggle come the opening round in Australia.

Bottas said the big change in conditions between testing - held at Barcelona at the end of winter with cold mornings and evenings - and the first few races meant it was hard to accurately judge the pecking order.

"You always need to remind yourself that the conditions here are pretty unique," Bottas said.

"Especially in the mornings and late afternoons, the air temperature is something that you do not see for the grands prix.

"The track temperature in the mornings is really cool, which allows you, for example in the long runs, to push really hard because the tyres don't really overheat in those conditions.

"We know there will be quite a big difference in Melbourne, it's quite a different track obviously, but even coming back to Barcelona in May, it's quite different feeling then in the car.

"We know more or less what to expect, but we need to keep reminding ourselves [of the difference]."

Bottas remained certain there would be three teams fighting for victory come the opening round in Australia on 15 March.

"We felt we really struggled last year in testing, and then we were really strong form in Melbourne, so you never know what other packages teams are bringing to the first race from testing," said Bottas.

"Even from testing times, it's tricky to read.

"I still think it's going to be three teams challenging, at the beginning of the season at least, for wins."

shares
comments
Vettel: Bit draggy Ferrari F1 car slower than we want on straights

Previous article

Vettel: Bit draggy Ferrari F1 car slower than we want on straights

Next article

Mercedes swaps F1 engine for final day of 2020 pre-season testing

Mercedes swaps F1 engine for final day of 2020 pre-season testing
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Author Luke Smith
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Plus

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Plus

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Plus

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Plus

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Plus

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The big F1 questions of 2021 Plus

The big F1 questions of 2021

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Plus

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz Jr in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new team-mate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021