I can beat Massa in 2014 - Bottas
Valtteri Bottas is determined to defy experience and compete with team-mate Felipe Massa this year and believes the FW36 is exactly the right car to help him do just that.
Williams heads into the opener full of optimism but much of the pre-season hype has been aimed towards Massa, a veteran of 193 races and 11 victories. By contrast, Bottas has just one Formula One season under his belt, and a highest career finish of eighth, but he is convinced Massa will not be the only Williams driver competing for podiums this year.
"The goal is always to match your team-mate and to go quicker, and I do think that is possible," Bottas said. "I do respect he is quick and experienced but I also want to get some good results. I've been around since 2010 and I know the team very well, though people are changing all the time the main structure is more or less the same. For me it feels like home, I am already settled in. I have a possibility to learn more this year from my team-mate than I did last year.
Bottas was in the Williams garage for the torrid 2013 campaign, which saw them finish in the points just twice, but he feels the team has been handed a new lease of life after their successful winter.
"We expect to finish the race. We are definitely aiming for points, that's the goal. In testing the car was very reliable and I don't see why it shouldn't be any different. I don't really know what the other teams can do at this stage. I feel confident with driving. I have done two full race distances and plenty of short runs, long runs there was plenty of time to get used to all the things.
"I think the winter has helped everyone in the team, including me. Now we know we have a better car than last year we can fight for better positions. Everyone is more sharp and I feel we are ready to fight for a much better position. So far, everyone is happy. It is still the first day and the first race, let's see if there are still smiles on Sunday. We need to be careful not to get overexcited and not to stop pushing, we know it's a long season."
The fuel limits have come down to 100 litres for 2014, roughly 35% less than last year, but Bottas is not too daunted by the process of adapting to the change.
"It's definitely a new thing. Last year I never saved fuel so it's going to be new. It's not going to be at every track, but maybe here a little bit. There could be [some lifting and coasting]. We have tried to find out the most efficient way to not lose too much lap time and not lose too much fuel. We had plenty of time to do it in Bahrain during those long stints, and in the simulator as well. We have some things to guide us relevant to the targets but in the end it's not the engine that saves the fuel, it's the driver. You always have your engineer telling you more information there if you need it."