Wolff: Everyone in the team wants Valtteri to succeed

Valtteri Bottas

Amid a strong lobby to promote Esteban Ocon to Mercedes at the end of 2018, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff is adamant that his team are firmly behind Valtteri Bottas and making the Finn’s tenure with the team a success while giving him ‘homework’ for the winter break.

Mercedes backed junior driver Esteban Ocon has been one of the stand-out young drivers of 2017, his shares have soared as he was pitted against veteran Sergio Perez and it is fair to say that the young Frenchman was not overshadowed by the Mexican, especially in the latter half of the season.

Wolff told Turun Sanomat, “Esteban is one of our drivers and is therefore in the picture, but the team and all of our strength is behind Valtteri. If we to start thinking about other drivers, it would mean that the emotional side would not be 100 percent for Valtteri.”

“I can assure you, from the board to every team member, we all want Valtteri to succeed. Together with Lewis, he is our driver and we do not think of any others.”

“Valtteri just has to understand what he missed during the weekends when he lost out to Lewis, and on the other hand understand his strength of those weekends when he beat his teammate, for example in Sochi.”

Valtteri has it all, he needs to get the whole package together. He leaves for the winter break where he will take a very detailed look at this year’s experience and needs to work out where he can improve.”

“Perhaps the most important thing is for him to understand how Lewis got the tyres to work better on certain weekends. It’s not a big difference, it’s about a few hundredths,” suggested Wolff.

Credit to Bottas for taking the criticism on the chin and admitting his shortcomings, “I need to raise my game. I need to be performing better on average. I had some really good periods where I was performing well and being consistent, but I also had periods where I wasn’t performing as well as I should have.”

And echoed Wolff’s ‘homework’ for the off-season, “I need to learn every single thing I can from 2017, which I’m sure I will be working hard over the winter with the team, and then I want to be a better, more complete, driver.”

Big Question: Can Valtteri match or even beat Lewis in 2018?