Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas feels that former team Mercedes will make progress with their car now that they have completely revamped their sidepods, replacing their ‘no sidepod’ concept with something similar to the rest of the F1 paddock.
Bottas raced with the Silver Arrows until the change of regulations at the end of 2021, when the team claimed an eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship. But since then, Mercedes have struggled, persisting with the ‘zero-pod’ concept until the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
“It was surprising, knowing the team, knowing the people, the facilities,” Bottas told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com.
“But never in the history of Formula 1 has a team dominated forever. So that’s just how it goes sometimes.
“But there’s no doubt that with the people, with the facilities that they have, I have no doubt that they will make progress.”
A New Hope?
Mercedes stuck with the concept for 27 races in total but realised as soon as the first race of the 2023 F1 season dawned that the W14 car needed to move in a new direction.
The Brackley outfit got some reward with the change of concept, showing promising pace in Monte Carlo under difficult conditions as the team hopes to close the gap to Red Bull.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a track that Mercedes are typically strong at and the team took victory there in five consecutive races before 2022, when Max Verstappen in his Red Bull broke their stranglehold on the venue.
Alongside being a track strong for testing, the Silver Arrows will look to fully ascertain the step forwards they have taken relative to the rest of the grid in their fight to lock down second in the constructors’ championship where they are fighting Aston Martin and Ferrari.