Formula 1 | Wind tunnel, simulator, engineers: Bottas compares Hinwil to Brackley

Valtteri Bottas went from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo, that is to say from one of the biggest structures on the board, to one of the most modest, at least financially.

However, Sauber’s facilities in Hinwil remain of high quality, in particular thanks to past investment by BMW.

This is what the Finnish driver was able to note while driving through the Swiss corridors.

“I saw that they have big and good facilities, which are obviously from the days of BMW. I think they’ve invested a lot in the factory, so there’s a good wind tunnel, good facilities…”

But if the infrastructures are very suitable, there are far fewer engineers to operate them…

“What was perhaps a little surprising was that there were a few fewer people in the factory. It was less busy, fewer people in all the different departments of the factory. »

« Of course it’s a bit smaller, but I feel like it can also be an advantage in terms of speed of reaction. You don’t have to go through 10 people, you can just go to one person and tell them what we need to do. So it’s nice. »

A major performance differentiator is of course the simulator, especially in this year of new aero regulations. The one in Hinwil was renovated last year.

But Valtteri Bottas recognizes that he still fishes compared to that of Mercedes…

“After the Barcelona test, we will go back there and we will try to do some correlation work. Hardware and software are all you need for a good simulator, but it still needs some tweaking. »

“There is work to be done and in fact a lot of the simulator work that we did, especially in the early days, was trying to develop the simulator instead of testing the car properly. »

“With the new car, the work we did was just an estimate because I haven’t driven the new F1 properly in dry conditions yet. »

Ultimately, Valtteri Bottas, now one of the most experienced drivers on the grid, feels invested with a responsibility: that of making Alfa Romeo grow, thanks to the experience acquired at Mercedes.

“Alfa Romeo has a great heritage in the automotive industry and in motor racing, so driving for the brand is a great responsibility. »

“And actually for the first time in my career I’m the most experienced driver in the team, I think it’s time because I’m entering my 10th season. »

“So I feel that I have a responsibility to guide the team and help them by giving everything I have. »

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