Valtteri Bottas talks about ‘quite a few’ Ferrari issues last year, and then breaks down
Having declared that if Ferrari have resolved their engine reliability issues then Alfa Romeo are already heading in the right direction, Valtteri Bottas suffered an engine failure in Saturday’s testing.
Ferrari racked up engine failures last season, not just when it came to the works team but also their customers and because of that the Scuderia, Alfa Romeo and Haas all had to turn down the power units in the latter part of the season.
Ferrari’s engineers are adamant they have resolved all their reliability issues over the winter, reports claiming that could see the Ferrari-powered teams bolstered by an extra 30hp.
That’s good news for Bottas, who reckons that coupled with Alfa Romeo’s chassis improvements could mean better results this season.
“I feel like all the main issues we had last year from the chassis side was well identified,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com, “and many of the concepts were changed, like the cooling where we had multiple issues.
“I’m confident it’s going to be definitely better than than last year.
“Obviously we did have quite a few issues from Ferrari side last year, but so far nothing but it’s early days so time will tell.”
And tell it did.
Just hours after saying that the Finn suffered his first Ferrari PU issue of the year, Bottas pulling over at Turn 8 of the Bahrain circuit with his Alfa Romeo making a strange noise.
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Expects midfield will ‘be closer’ this season
Testing has been a mixed bag for Alfa Romeo so far, with the team having topped the table on Friday where Zhou Guanyu edged Max Verstappen by 0.04s, yet Bottas was forced to park the C43 during the opening session of Day 3.
But don’t expect Alfa Romeo to suddenly start fighting the Red Bulls for the race wins, Bottas saying the reigning World Champions are looking “strong”.
He is, however, hoping the midfield fight will be closer with Alpine in P4 having outscored Alfa Romeo by more than 100 points last season where Bottas and Zhou finished P6.
“It’s hard to say in detail,” he concedes. “It is a fact that with fuel loads it can be multiple seconds difference, with engine modes it can be even one second difference so you just don’t know.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull is strong and Ferrari is strong.
“But if I have to guess something is at least the midfield is going to be closer.
“From the times we saw and what we know of our engine modes and fuel load, I think it doesn’t look so bad – at least we’re not like seconds away so that’s the only thing what we know.”
Porpoising is ‘definitely better but still there’
This season the Formula 1 teams have had tweak their cars’ floors, the edges raised by 15mm while the diffuser throat height has also been raised.
This was mandated by the FIA in order to minimise porpoising.
But while Bottas says there’s definitely less bouncing than there was last season, it is still present.
“It’s definitely better than this time last year but it’s not gone,” said the Finn, “it is still there.
“You still need to compromise a bit with the set-up. And it seemed with multiple cars that some sections of the track it’s still there, still an issue.”
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