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
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021