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Bottas: Lead cars still "controlling" races despite aero changes

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Bottas: Lead cars still "controlling" races despite aero changes
By:
Apr 24, 2019, 9:47 AM

Valtteri Bottas thinks lead cars are still able to "control" races because of the aero turbulence their car causes, despite the change of rules for 2019 aimed at helping overtaking.

The Finn says his experience from China, when wheelspin at the start allowed teammate Lewis Hamilton to jump ahead of him, showed how there are still big consequences when stuck behind another car.

"Even being three or four seconds behind you're sliding more, which overheats the tyres more, and then it's more difficult," he said.

"But that's how F1 has been for a long time. Whoever is in the lead can control it a little bit and always has it easier in a way."

Despite his feelings on the benefits of being in clean air, Bottas does believe that the changes made to the 2019 Formula 1 aerodynamic regulations have made it a bit easier to follow another car.

"I think it's a little bit better," he said. "It's a good thing that the car's not doing anything funny when you're following. It's just a general loss of downforce.

"Last year you could feel a bit more turbulence, a bit more movement in the car. So it is a bit more stable, but you lose a bit of grip and downforce.

"Now the cars have more downforce than they did last year, obviously there's no air to make the wings work, you lose grip, that's how it goes."

Bottas acknowledged that as a car with a high level of downforce the Mercedes W10 may suffer more than rivals when following.

"I haven't been in the other cars so I don't know how it feels, but for sure it feels like we have a good level of downforce because we've been really strong in the corners [in Shanghai].

"And I think it goes hand in hand. The more downforce you have, the more percentage of downforce you lose when you're behind another car, and then there's a bigger lap time penalty."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas Shop Now
Teams Mercedes Shop Now
Author Adam Cooper