'The team really trusts me' - Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says Williams showed its trust in him by handing him a new contract ahead of the end of the season.
Having endured a tough rookie year, Bottas was announced as part of the Williams driver line-up for 2014 ahead of the United States Grand Prix as the team replaced Pastor Maldonado with Felipe Massa. Having failed to score a point before the announcement, Bottas went on to finish eighth in Austin and he told the official Formula One website that he was boosted by the team's show of faith.
"You always need to earn your place in Formula One," Bottas said. "There are thousands of drivers out there always willing to come to F1 - so you really have to earn your place against steep competition. So I am very happy that I've done it: I earned my place and will be driving for Williams again next year! It shows that the team really trusts me - and as soon as it was announced I got my first points! This might look like a coincidence, but the truth is that we finally got our car a bit quicker and that allowed me to score points. That was truly nice.
"Was it a weight off my mind to sign a contract for next season before the end of the year? Of course it is always better to know what the future holds for you. It definitely calms nerves, although not knowing didn't change my race weekends: I always came to every race with the determination to do my best. But yes, it was a bit more peaceful when I knew that I had a drive next year. But to tell the truth, I already knew it some races before it was announced so when the news broke it was not that 'cloud number nine' feeling. I had that very privately when the team informed me."
Bottas also said that the trust the team has placed in him to develop as an F1 driver gives him further confidence to deliver next season.
"It's fantastic to see how the whole Williams team has trusted me for many years now, first as a test driver, then in a race seat, and now with another year with the team. That makes me humble and thankful because without Williams I would not be in Formula One, so I hope that we will have a long and successful future together. It is my family away from home.
"Somehow I knew that after the season it would not be game over for me. Staying with Williams was always the only option for me so I never had any other talks or was looking around. I was always convinced that if I performed at my best, it should be enough to stay."