New Mercedes recruit Valtteri Bottas is assured that he will receive equal treatment to teammate Lewis Hamilton as long as he can deliver the results.
Since emerging as F1’s frontrunners in 2014, Mercedes has followed a policy of giving equal status to their drivers.
However, following Nico Rosberg’s retirement, Mercedes now has a young gun teaming up with an experienced pair of hands. This has raised the possibility of Hamilton getting priority status, at least in the early days of their partnership.
Bottas, however, refutes the claim, saying he is focused on his performance at Mercedes.
"I don't fear that, I think Mercedes doesn't have a number one or number two driver and that's pretty much up to me to perform," Bottas said. "As long as I do my job so that my performance on track is at the level the car should be, we're all good.
Hamilton’s tumultuous relationship with former teammate Rosberg was well documented in the media, but Bottas insists he is getting along well with the Englishman.
"So far it has been very good. In testing we managed to work well as a team and there was a good team spirit the whole time. I see no reason why it shouldn't continue like that.".
The Finn admits that he has to rise up to the challenge of driving for a front-running outfit like Mercedes, but feels it is an excellent opportunity to target victories, and possibly the championship.
"I think for me it's a great opportunity,” he said. “For sure it's a big challenge, there's no doubt I will definitely need to prove myself to a lot of people and to the team that I deserve the place, but I just see things very positively.
“I see it as a great opportunity for my career to fight for wins and hopefully even for the championship.
"Going against Lewis, I am pretty excited about that. He's a three-time world champion, he's a great reference and everyone knows how good he is as a driver.
“So it's great to be the teammate to Lewis and I just wish we can have a very strong year in this new era of Formula One."
by Rachit Thukral