MERCEDES ACE’S F1 CAR IN A SECRET LOCATION

Mercedes-Benz Petronas F1's Valtteri Bottas. Photo: Mercedes-Benz AMG F1 Press

MERCEDES-AMG Petronas F1 team ace Valtteri Bottas has opened up about the gift he received from Williams after a stand-out season in 2014.

The nine-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner told V8 Sleuth this week during a Petronas video media conference in the lead-up to this weekend’s Sahkir Grand Prix in Bahrain that he’s got one of his former F1 cars tucked away in a “secret location”.

Bottas has the Williams FW36 in which he scored his first F1 podium result – a third place in the Austrian Grand Prix in 2014.

A check of that year’s respected ‘Autocourse’ annual and its chassis log section shows that this car – chassis 03 – was in fact very good for the Finn that season.

He took the chassis to four podium finishes in the nine races he drove it in that season – finishing third at the Red Bull Ring, second at Silverstone (from 14th on the grid), third at Spa and third in the final race of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Bottas had a sparkling season in 2014 in Williams’ Mercedes-powered FW36. This is Bottas in action in Australia that year, not Austria! It’s a different chassis to the one he owns, but it’s there to remind you of what a 2014 Williams looks like! Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

In nine races Bottas finished in the top 8 in this chassis on all bar one occasion.

He finished fourth in the 2014 World Championship and helped Williams to finish third in the Constructors Championship behind Mercedes and Red Bull.

The 03 chassis was also driven in Practice 1 sessions in 2014 by Susie Wolff (wife of Bottas’ current Mercedes F1 boss Toto!) at Silverstone and Luiz Felipe Nasr at Circuit of The Americas and Interlagos.

“The season with Williams that year was really successful, and the team felt like they wanted to compensate me more for the year and they gave me that car as a gift,” Bottas told V8 Sleuth this week.

“It’s now in a secret place where hopefully once day I can built a bigger collection. It might be expensive to get old cars, but if there’s a way (to do it), it would be nice to have some memories.

“I’ve been chasing my first go kart that I started racing with – I’ve been trying to chase it, but still no success. I don’t know where it is. It would be a nice memory, where it all started.”

Recap the highlights for Williams from 2014 here, the Austrian podium is at 1m08-second mark.

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.