Valtteri Bottas says he is willing to accept the effect grid penalties could have on his burgeoning championship aspirations as both Mercedes and Ferrari face up to how reliability could become a key factor in the race for the F1 title.
The Finn was docked five positions on the grid for the British Grand Prix after being forced to take a gearbox change, a week after team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered the same penalty in Austria.
With Red Bull Racing also suffering grid demotions as a result of mid-weekend component changes and Ferrari on the cusp of potential penalties as it nears its maximum allocation, it is feared the drivers’ title battle could become heavily influenced by factors out of the drivers’ control.
It is an issue that hasn’t been lost on Bottas but for the time being he is willing to accept it as part of the title battle despite feeling it will probably have a bearing on the outcome.
“These are the rules and we all have to complete the season with a certain number of mechanical parts. If a team gets too greedy, you’ll need to change some parts more often and you pay a penalty. It’s true the penalty affects the driver as much as the team, but both lose quite a few points, potentially.
“I never really thought of that, for me it is what it is, but that’s a good point as it’s definitively penalising the drivers and this year it can really affect the championship fight. But those are the rules now and everyone is driving within the same rules, so it’s OK.”
Following a successful first half to the 2017 season that yielded wins in Russia and Austria, Bottas has praised Mercedes for making him feel welcome but feels there is still more to come from himself.
“I feel really settled in the team. I can’t really say that I’m lacking performance because I’m new to the team. I feel very much part of the team, the team has been really supportive in getting me up to speed, so I can’t say that anything is lacking, for sure Lewis has been with the team for many years and that’s always a benefit, as I know for being with Williams for a long time.
“It got to a point that I feel that I can perform at my best level and we can continue to work, looking ahead – for sure there’s plenty more to come but I feel good in the team.”