Bottas: Ferrari rumours affected 2015 performance


Valtteri Bottas has conceded speculation linking him with a move to Ferrari affected his form with Williams in 2015.

The Finn enjoyed an impressive Formula One campaign in 2014 that saw him claim six podiums on his way to finishing fourth in the drivers' championship with 186 points.

His form led to links with Ferrari when Fernando Alonso opted to return to McLaren, but the Italian constructor eventually went for his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen.

Bottas subsequently signed a new deal with Williams, but failed to match his previous year's exploits - claiming 136 points to finish fifth overall - and he has admitted the Ferrari rumours troubled him.

"It was the most disturbing time of my career so far," Bottas told Autosport. "I could really feel what media can do, they keep asking the same questions every race.

"Even on the street, normal people ask you about the same thing all the time, it's like 24-7 the same thing.

"It's not ideal, because when you go to a race weekend, the only thing you want to have in your mind is how do you get the perfect result.

"When there are rumours like this, it makes it more difficult. It didn't help, but that is F1.

"I think it all went well, for sure it didn't help with the results and concentration at all but I don't think it hurt that much."

Bottas is confident he has learned from the experience, though, and hopes to handle similar situations better in the future.

He added: "It was a good experience for me.

"I still hopefully have a long career ahead of me and there will most likely be lots of speculation to come, maybe in 2016.

"It has prepared me well how to deal with it. Now I've been in that situation, I think it's probably good for the long term."