New kid on the block: Valtteri Bottas

30 Nov

Williams have now confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna for 2013, so here’s some information about the young Fins history.

That name rings a faint bell, why?

Valtteri has spent this season as the Williams reserve driver and as such the young Finn has taken part in many first practice sessions over the year.

How’s he fared?

He’s had a very strong season, of the 14 practice sessions he’s competed in so far this season he’s been faster than Pastor Maldonado (one of Williams’ two actual drivers) on 6 occasions. His best performances in qualifying to date are his 8th fastest time in FP1 in Spa (although this sessions was heavily rain affected) and his 5th fastest time in FP1 in the Spanish GP.

What’s his life like off the track?

Valtteri was born in Nastola, Finland a town with a population of 15,000 and is located near the south of the country. But Bottas is currently living in Oxford here in the UK. Valtteri is currently going out with Finnish swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen.

So what feeder championships has he been through?

Valtteri is a very young driver (23) and as such only started competing in big series in 2007, so far he’s competed in:

  • 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC (races: 16 / wins: 2 / final position: 3rd)
  • 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Winter Series (4 / 3 / ineligible due to only competing as a guest driver, otherwise he would have finished 1st)
  • 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup (14 / 5 / 1st)
  • 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC ( 14 / 12 / 1st)
  • 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series (20 / 0 / 3rd)
  • 2009 British Formula 3 Championship (4 / 0 / ineligible due to only competing as a guest driver)
  • 2009 Masters of Formula 3 (1 / 1 / 1st)
  • 2009 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / 5th)
  • 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series (18 / 2 / 3rd)
  • 2010 Masters of Formula 3 (1 / 1 / 1st)
  • 2010 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / 3rd)
  • 2010 Started role of Williams test driver
  • 2011 GP3 Series (16 / 4 / 1st)
  • 2011 British Formula 3 Championship (3 / 1 / 17th)
  • 2011 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / didn’t finish race)

As you can see Valtteri has a very impressive CV his biggest achievement being that he won the GP3 series at his first attempt. Of the 114 races Valtteri has competed in, he’s won 31, been on pole position 27 times, set 30 fastest laps and been a podium finisher in 58 races.

So he’s not new to the taste of champagne then. Could we see him in F1 in 2013?

There is currently intense speculation that Valtteri will be promoted to a race seat at Williams but this relies on Williams dropping either Bruno Senna or race winner Pastor Maldonado. If Williams don’t promote him then there’s a chance that Bottas could drive for Sauber of Force India next year.

How far is he expected to go?

I expect Bottas to score points in his debut season and I suspect Bottas will finish on the podium if not be a race winner at some point. If he’s given the right car though he could be a championship contender.

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