Exclusive interview with Valtteri Bottas
19 September 2011 – At Monza Valtteri Bottas successfully clinched the 2011 GP3 crown, thus becoming the first Finnish driver to win a title in one of Formula 1’s closest two support series. The 22-year-old – the only two-time Masters of Formula 3 winner and reserve driver for Williams – discusses the past, present and future with GPUpdate.net.
Valtteri Bottas - 2011 GP3 Champion. That must be quite a good feeling…
Yes, for sure. It’s a really, really good feeling because the team worked very well together. Until the halfway point of the season, it didn’t look so good - the car was not where it should have been - but we just kept on working and really turned it around. So it really feels good.
Has the success brought you much attention in Finland?
I’ve featured a lot in the press. They are quite excited (laughs) that a Finnish driver is on the top step of a podium again, even though it’s a smaller category. But it is definitely a big thing for Finland.
GP2 is the next natural step; how are discussions going with teams for 2012?
I have been speaking with my manager and there are some options for GP2. There also might be one option for the World Series by Renault. But we really need to see, there is nothing confirmed yet for anything.
Given the choice: GP2 or World Series by Renault?
The World Series car is quick, plus you have pit-stops and also DRS from next season. It wouldn’t be a bad option but I still think GP2 is the category which is closest to F1; it happens on the same weekend and the cars are not too different to F1 cars.
Are there any possibilities for competing in Abu Dhabi’s GP2 finale?
There is nothing planned yet. Of course, I would like to – it would be really nice – but we need to see.
You have been the reserve driver for Williams F1 since January 2010. You must have learnt a lot by now…
For sure. This is now the second season with Williams, so I have learned a lot with them and I’ve been doing quite a lot of driving on the F1 simulator. Of course I also did the straight-line test at Kemble last week, which all went well.
Formula 1 always remains the ultimate target. Is a realistic proposition to be thinking about an F1 debut with Williams in 2013?
(Laughs) Well, we never know! We have a good working relationship and I am working as hard as I can to improve as a driver and to get there one day. I would really want to race there, but with Formula 1 there are always so many different things which can decide whether or not you get a seat. So we need to see, but 2013 would be ideal…
GP3 Champion Valtteri Bottas was talking to GPUpdate.net’s Gregory Haines