Bottas unsure if improvement coming from F1 chassis change

Valtteri Bottas believes it is "hard to say" if his greater comfort with the Mercedes Formula 1 car at Paul Ricard is down to the chassis swap with Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas unsure if improvement coming from F1 chassis change

Bottas led opening practice for the French Grand Prix on Friday before finishing second in FP2, lapping just eight thousandths of a second slower than pace-setter Max Verstappen.

Bottas struggled throughout the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend two weeks ago, qualifying 10th and finishing 12th, with the result dropping him to sixth in the drivers' standings.

The strong showing in France came after it was revealed on Thursday that Mercedes had swapped Bottas and Hamilton's car chassis as part of the team's planned rotation for the season.

Speaking after second practice, Bottas explained how he felt more trust with the car than he had recently, but was unsure if it was a result of the chassis change or the conditions at Paul Ricard.

"It's hard to say if its chassis or the track conditions, but it is a lot better feeling than two weeks ago, that's for sure," Bottas said.

"I feel we have started the weekend on the right foot. I feel everything is feeling quite OK, and I've been comfortable and pretty fast with the car so far.

"It's different a track, but the balance is good, the tyres are working well and I'm confident with the car. I can trust the car, and I think that is the biggest difference."

Read Also:

Teammate Hamilton finished Friday's running in France third quickest for Mercedes, two tenths behind Bottas, but the Briton said the feeling in the car was "not much different" to Monaco and Baku when he experienced struggles.

"Even though the position is quite a bit different to Monaco and Baku, [it's] quite a struggle this weekend, I think, probably for everyone," Hamilton said.

"I don't know if it's the track surface or it's the temperature, or these inflated tyres. They put the pressures up higher than ever before, one of the highest.

"I think it's difficult to say. We're all sliding around, and it's a struggle out there I think for everyone."

But Hamilton did not believe the chassis swap played any role in his struggles, saying his car did not feel significantly different and that swings in performance between chassis only happened "very rarely".

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explained that the chassis swap was "part of the plan" to manage mileage of parts on the two cars, and that a new one could always be used if it would help a driver.

"It's good to get the feedback," Wolff said. "If it calms the driver's mind, we have a spare chassis which is a brand new one, we can always do that."

Asked if there was anything Hamilton was finding different about the chassis he is using in France, Wolff replied: "It's the chassis that was splendid in Monaco, that qualified Valtteri right in front. But you never know.

"You listen to the engineers and said it's all tested, and there shouldn't be any difference.

"But if the driver feels that it's not, then it's definitely not worth trying to make a point here, then you just need to change."

shares
comments

Related video

French GP: Verstappen pips Bottas by 0.008s in FP2
Previous article

French GP: Verstappen pips Bottas by 0.008s in FP2

Next article

Vasseur says it would be a mistake to push Pourchaire to F1 too early

Vasseur says it would be a mistake to push Pourchaire to F1 too early
How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022