Here we go again! The new Formula 1 season begins in Melbourne next weekend. Valtteri Bottas tells us what he is looking forward to most in 2018.
- News from the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport teams
- Three questions for Valtteri Bottas
- Social media news: What’s new online?
Melbourne, here we come: After clocking up 4,841 test kilometres during the winter visit to Barcelona, a journey of just under 17,000 kilometres from Brackley to Melbourne and 119 days since the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi, the lights on the gantry will at last be going out again this Sunday as the 2018 Australian Grand Prix gets underway. The traditional season opener in Albert Park has brought Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport three victories over the past four years (one for Lewis Hamilton, two for Nico Rosberg) and four pole positions (all for Lewis). Drivers for the team have made seven podium appearances in Melbourne during this period. Cars powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine have registered ten wins and pole positions in Australia, 19 front row starts and 27 podium finishes.
Motor racing history brought alive: In 2018, Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrates its 30th year in the DTM. The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is staging a special exhibition, 30 Jahre DTM (30 Years DTM), from now until 6th May. On display are the cars driven by four previous championship-winners: Klaus Ludwig (1994), Bernd Schneider (2003), Gary Paffett (2005) and Paul Di Resta (2010). In the atrium is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM driven by Robert Wickens in the 2015 campaign.
There are further opportunities to reminisce on motorsport history at two upcoming trade fairs: Techno-Classica in Essen (21st - 25th March) and Retro Classics in Stuttgart (22nd - 25th March). While a historic Atego racing truck from 1998 enthrals visitors with its 1,500bhp 12-litre engine in Stuttgart, the Rekordjäger und Meisterfahrer (Record breakers and champion drivers) exhibition in Essen commemorates a series of outstanding racing successes in the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. It includes the legendary W 154 driven by Rudolf Caracciola in the 1938 season as well as Lewis Hamilton’s world championship-winning F1 W05 Hybrid from the 2014 season.
Podium finish at Sebring: The Sebring International Raceway in Florida (approximately six kilometres in length) is proving to be a happy hunting ground for the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Following last year’s victory in the 12-hour race, the Mercedes-AMG team Riley Motorsports were back on the podium in this legendary classic. In a pulsating race, Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED), Ben Keating (USA) and Luca Stolz (GER) secured third place in the GTD class. They also took the lead in the drivers’ and team standings of the North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) in which they are the reigning champions. The two AMG Customer Racing teams, SunEnergy1 Racing and P1 Motorsports, finished tenth and 14th respectively at Sebring and are currently in equal seventh place in the Endurance class. There are now two remaining fixtures in the NAEC: the six-hour race at Watkins Glen and the ten-hour race at Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans). The Mercedes-AMG outfit Riley Motorsports also made up ground in the overall standings of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and are currently second in the team championship after two of the twelve rounds.
Four Top Ten finishes for the Mercedes-AMG GT4: Four of the nine Mercedes-AMG GT4s came home among the Top Ten in Round 2 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge which was contested as part of the 12-hour race at Sebring. The best result for a car built in Affalterbach was secured by the Stephen Cameron Racing duo of Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe (both USA) who finished fourth, missing out on the podium by a narrow margin of 4.342 seconds. The team with the biggest points haul from Sebring were TGM. The AGM Customer Racing outfit registered a P8 finish for Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb (both USA) and a P9 for Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo (both USA). They are currently placed third in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, just ahead of Team Winward Racing / HTP Motorsport whose two drivers, Indy Dontje (NED) and Bryce Ward (USA), claimed tenth spot.
Three questions for Valtteri Bottas
It’s now one whole year since you first drove competitively for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. How have the past twelve months been for you?
Valtteri Bottas: The beginning was a very hectic period because, with Nico retiring in such an unexpected fashion, I had very little time to get to know the ropes. Looking at the big picture, there were some very good moments last season, but my performance has not been consistent enough yet. All in all, I’ve had a lot to learn. The challenge for me this year is to put what I’ve already learnt to good use on the track.
Who will be among the front-runners this year?
Valtteri Bottas: That’s always hard to say based on the test results. You never know how much or how little fuel the teams have on board and what engine settings they are using. I think it could develop into an exciting contest between us, Red Bull and Ferrari. Hopefully with us as ultimate winners.
What are you looking forward to most during the season?
Valtteri Bottas: Winning – and hopefully on a regular basis! Also, I’m looking forward to Hockenheim. I’ve always liked the track – I finished second there in 2014. This year, we have the added factor that it’s almost a home fixture for Mercedes, with Stuttgart being not all that far away.
Social Media News
#Thingstopack: The Formula 1 teams are arriving for the season opener in Australia with more than 60 tonnes of cargo each – in our case, 40 tonnes by air and 23 tonnes by sea. But what does this massive amount of freight consist of? Pretty much the lot, as it turns out ...
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NX_xcYcBmU
#Lewis&Friends: One of Lewis Hamilton's biggest fans, Little Lewis, wrote him a letter. Unfortunately, the letter was mislaid and only resurfaced when it was discovered in the freight by one of the Team. We had to do something about it. Little Lewis HAD to come to the factory in Brackley and boy did we have a surprise in store for him!
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gP8Mk2k9vw
#TommyNow: To celebrate the team’s new partnership with Tommy Hilfiger, Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton were in attendance at Milan Fashion Week.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_x2fwGJemA
#R&TCentre: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were present for the opening of the brand-new PETRONAS Global Research and Technology Centre in Turin.
Watch video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao8IL_O5wpw