Valtteri Bottas says he is ready for the challenge of racing in F1 for the first time after revealing the car he will use for his debut season.
The young Finn will partner Pastor Maldonado this year after Williams elected to promote him from the role of test and reserve driver into a race seat, with the 23-year-old tipped to impress on the back of a number of impressive Friday performances last year.
Bottas will get the chance to sample the new FW35 for the first time in Barcelona later this week and he admitted that he couldn't wait to see how it performs on track as he prepares for his race debut in Australia.
“It feels great to now be promoted to race driver with Williams this season,” he said. “It's a big step and I'm really looking forward to it. I have been doing a lot of training, meeting with my engineers and working in the simulator in preparation; so I feel ready.
“We know we have improved our car from last season but I am looking forward to seeing how it compares on track. We have a busy test programme ahead but I'm really excited. The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”
Bottas will be replaced in his previous role by Susie Wolff, who increases her involvement with the team and was the first person to sample the new car in a brief shakedown prior to the Catalunya test.
“I'm incredibly proud and excited to have increased my role with Williams this year,” she said. “It's been a busy start for me as we awaited the arrival of the FW35 but I highly rate Mike Coughlan and his team and they have done a great job.
“Being the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 at Idiada was a real honour. It was a special feeling to drive the FW35 out of the garage for the first time and successfully complete its first kilometres in front of many of the team who have put so much effort into the design and build.”