Bottas sees personal silver lining in F1's extended hiatus


Valtteri Bottas believes that F1's prolonged break has offered him the opportunity of a personal reset and a chance to wander away from the sport's unrelenting strains and pressure.

In normal times, Formula 1 would be heading into its sixth round this weekend in Spain, with teams and drivers taking stock of their performances, good or bad, since the onset of the season.

Instead, the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic has led to a life in confinement that is slowly showing signs of a relief across Europe.

Early in the crisis, Bottas elected to head home to Finland for a relative isolation that he believes has its benefits for body and mind.

"It is quite an intense season when it starts, it nearly started this year but it didn’t!" said the Mercedes driver, in an interview published on his team's YouTube channel.

"So it’s quite special that we have this ‘extra time off’ that we actually get to be in one place for such a long time.

"Less traveling, less stress in general. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if you can really use that.

"Usually, the season is very demanding. Especially when you’re putting pressure on yourself.

"On top of that, if you add all the outside pressure, there is high risk of burning (out) in this sport for every driver, for sure.

"For team members, anyone involved with a rhythm when the season starts, how it goes, there’s a high risk."


Bottas says he's experienced the pain of being "on the edge and exhausted", a burden that can erode a driver's motivation.

"You just really need to listen to yourself and when you have the chance, you need to be a bit selfish sometimes and do the things that you want to do, and find a way to have the time off when you think you really need it," he said.

"Because otherwise, if your life is 24-7 all year round — year after year — all about F1, it’s not going to be good news.

"I’ve been there. I’ve been kind of too focused, having less things other than F1 in my life, being on the edge of really being too exhausted and starting to lose the motivation and the love for the sport.

"But I’ve learned from those kind of things and now I have the courage to take my time off and do the other things because I know it will only be good for me."

While aware of the drawbacks produced by his high-tension environment and his status as Grand Prix driver, Bottas underscores the importance of valuing a life in the fast lane that so many dream of.

"In anything you do, especially when it’s in quite popular sports, there’s always a downside, but you have to deal with it," he said.

"And keep in mind that you’re so lucky to be able to do the thing that you really loved and dreamed of as a kid.

"I still have a lot of years in F1. I still feel I’m reaching my peak in terms of performance.

"Maybe it will come that it’s enough. I don’t know. Maybe this extra period at home will give me a few more extra years. Who knows? Because it’s pretty special.

"It (retirement) will come one day, but it’s not yet near."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter