Bottas: Lead cars still "controlling" races despite aero changes

Valtteri Bottas thinks lead cars are still able to "control" races because of the aero turbulence their car causes, despite the change of rules for 2019 aimed at helping overtaking.

Bottas: Lead cars still "controlling" races despite aero changes

The Finn says his experience from China, when wheelspin at the start allowed teammate Lewis Hamilton to jump ahead of him, showed how there are still big consequences when stuck behind another car.

"Even being three or four seconds behind you're sliding more, which overheats the tyres more, and then it's more difficult," he said.

"But that's how F1 has been for a long time. Whoever is in the lead can control it a little bit and always has it easier in a way."

Despite his feelings on the benefits of being in clean air, Bottas does believe that the changes made to the 2019 Formula 1 aerodynamic regulations have made it a bit easier to follow another car.

"I think it's a little bit better," he said. "It's a good thing that the car's not doing anything funny when you're following. It's just a general loss of downforce.

"Last year you could feel a bit more turbulence, a bit more movement in the car. So it is a bit more stable, but you lose a bit of grip and downforce.

"Now the cars have more downforce than they did last year, obviously there's no air to make the wings work, you lose grip, that's how it goes."

Bottas acknowledged that as a car with a high level of downforce the Mercedes W10 may suffer more than rivals when following.

"I haven't been in the other cars so I don't know how it feels, but for sure it feels like we have a good level of downforce because we've been really strong in the corners [in Shanghai].

"And I think it goes hand in hand. The more downforce you have, the more percentage of downforce you lose when you're behind another car, and then there's a bigger lap time penalty."

shares
comments
Haas signs Deletraz as F1 simulator driver

Previous article

Haas signs Deletraz as F1 simulator driver

Next article

The struggling F1 driver dispelling a frustrating myth

The struggling F1 driver dispelling a frustrating myth
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021