Bottas ‘not worried’ about Ferrari’s lead

Mar.1 (GMM) As the 2019 winter tests approach their conclusion, Valtteri Bottas has admitted again that Ferrari continues to lead the pecking order.

Charles Leclerc set a blistering fastest time on Thursday, the penultimate test day in Barcelona, and also impressed on a so-called ‘long run’.

“When we calculate everything, then Ferrari would have beaten us to the finish of a race by five seconds,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted to Auto Motor und Sport.

“That’s the bitter pill. But the good news is that we were faster than Red Bull on both of their drivers’ long runs,” he added.

But that may not be the full story. One analysis in the paddock on Thursday is that Mercedes’ 2019 car could be like its 2017 predecessor – a “diva”.

In other words, even some midfield teams like Alfa Romeo reportedly believe that they are faster than Mercedes on occasions.

Bottas said: “The improvements we made for the second test have made the car better. Whether it’s enough to be competitive in Australia remains a question mark.

“Ferrari is still very strong. Things can change for the start of the season, but when I look at our situation, it’s clear that we can do more,” the Finn added.

As for the claim that Mercedes’ 2019 car might once again be a temperamental “diva” a la 2017, Bottas answered: “If that’s how it is, it doesn’t scare me.

“We are still right at the beginning with this car. As we progress, I’m not worried.”

Bottas also doesn’t deny that Red Bull might be slightly ahead of Mercedes as the circus prepares to move on to Australia.

“I don’t think the difference between us and them (Red Bull) is massive,” he said. “But Ferrari is ahead of us. I also think the whole field has moved closer together.”

The big question now is whether Mercedes will stay the course with its current basic aerodynamic concept, or change direction completely to ‘copy’ Ferrari.

“I think Red Bull is asking the same question,” team boss Wolff said.

He said the problem with that approach is that it could seriously compromise Mercedes at the start of the season.

“You would have to write off the first races because we would have to freeze our concept until the other one is ready,” said Wolff.

Related News

  • 12/03/2019 Mercedes could change aero concept for Spain GP – Wolff Mar.12 (GMM) Mercedes could re-emerge after the opening four 'flyaway' races with a Ferrari-like aerodynamic concept. That is the news from Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who admits that […]
  • 20/02/2019 Ferrari advantage ‘at least’ 5 tenths – Tost Feb.20 (GMM) Mere days into 2019 winter testing, it appears that Ferrari has a clear advantage. With Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc smilingly topping the times, the most obvious […]
  • 25/02/2019 Brexit could give Haas advantage – Steiner Feb.25 (GMM) Gunther Steiner thinks 'Brexit' could actually be an advantage for the Haas team. Last week, Mercedes' Toto Wolff said Britain's exit from the European Union could favour […]
  • 14/03/2019 New ‘point for fastest lap’ rule criticised Mar.14 (GMM) Figures in the F1 paddock have criticised a new rule that will grant an extra point to the driver who posts the fastest lap of each race. From 2019, if a driver finishes in […]
  • 21/03/2018 Sauber will be lucky to score points – Vasseur Mar.21 (GMM) Frederic Vasseur has admitted that Sauber will be lucky to score points in 2018. Days ago, rookie driver Charles Leclerc said his goal for the new season was to score points […]
  • 19/02/2019 Brexit would give Ferrari an advantage – Wolff Feb.19 (GMM) Ferrari could be the big beneficiary if Britain's 'no deal' exit from the European Union occurs at the end of next month. That is the warning of Toto Wolff, boss of F1's […]
  • 06/03/2019 Renault in fight with five teams – Abiteboul Mar.6 (GMM) Renault is bracing for a tough fight to be 'best of the rest' in 2019. Acknowledging that it is not quite ready to take on Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, boss Cyril […]
  • 31/03/2019 Ferrari engine ‘goes like hell’ – Marko Mar.31 (GMM) Ferrari literally powered its way back to the front in Bahrain, according to Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko. "It goes like hell," Marko said, observing that five of the top ten […]
  • 28/02/2019 Vettel thinks Mercedes could be struggling Feb.28 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted he thinks Mercedes could be struggling. While the 2019 pecking-order may be muddied, the general consensus is that Ferrari is leading the […]
  • 07/03/2019 Renault to ‘talk to McLaren about B team alliance Mar.7 (GMM) Cyril Abiteboul says Renault will not be joining the "crazy arms race" in F1. Auto Motor und Sport reports that while 1600 employees work at Ferrari, Mercedes and Red […]