Valtteri Bottas feeling no extra pressure racing for Mercedes F1

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Valtteri Bottas says he feels no extra pressure racing for defending Formula 1 champion team Mercedes ahead of his debut for the Silver Arrows in Australia next weekend.

Bottas raced for Williams between 2013 and 2016, claiming nine podium finishes before being approached by Mercedes following world champion Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire from racing last December.

Bottas made his first public appearance with Mercedes over two weeks of pre-season testing in Barcelona, finishing as the third-fastest driver behind Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

Despite now racing for a team expected to win world titles and battle for every race win, Bottas says he feels no extra pressure compared to when he was with Williams.

“I know I was lucky with Nico retiring. It was always my goal to be sitting in a world class car some day,” Bottas told Sport Bild.

“Thanks to him this has now become possible. I can deliver.

“To be honest, I feel no more pressure than before. I simply feel that I have been given a special opportunity.

“I am allowed to drive the best F1 car ever. I have much more to win than to lose.”

Bottas managed to out-pace triple-champion teammate Lewis Hamilton through pre-season, but is still looking to learn from the Briton as he settles in at Mercedes.

“It will be interesting to see how he tunes the car, how his driving style works,” Bottas said.

“I’m watching a triple world champion at work. Not to use that opportunity would be stupid.

“I will not give in and I will not panic if Lewis is quicker. From the first race I have to be fully on it.

“I know that my learning curve is steep.”

Bottas will make his race debut for Mercedes on March 26 in the Australian Grand Prix.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.