Valtteri Bottas hot-footed it out of Jerez after his GP2 testing with the Lotus ART team on Wednesday to head to the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where he is involved in the development of the next generation of race car for the GP3 series.
Officially titled the GP3/13, design and development has only recently begun on the new breed of car that will be introduced in around 18 months time for the start of the 2013 season. The engineering team behind the new car were keen to get the input of the reigning series champion, just as they tapped the knowledge of the 2010 champion Esteban Gutierrez last year before he moved to GP2.
"I am very happy to work on the development aspects of a car," said Bottas. "It is a new approach for me."
He's fully in sync with the GP3 Series' view that the focus has to be on driver talent rather than technical sophistication, and that the new car has to be designed first and foremost to show off that talent.
"The aim is to design the best possible car that will enable a young driver to showcase his skills and prove that he is the best," said the 22-year-old Finnish driver. "During this session, my opinion really mattered as GP3 is a car entirely based on the driver's training.
"We have worked on tyre development with Pirelli as well, and already found some solutions that make the car all the more difficult and fun to drive," said Bottas. "I think GP3 is headed towards some great and interesting improvements."
As well as his work on the GP3 car, and his GP2 test in Jerez as he looks ahead to a hoped-for step-up to the official F1 feeder series next year, Bottas is also busy with another of his choice roles in motor sport this year - as the Williams F1 team test driver.
That will see him take part in the young drivers' test at Yas Marina Circuit after the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi and GP2 Final in mid-November, alongside Sam Bird for Mercedes, Jules Bianchi for Ferrari and Esteban Gutierrez for Sauber. It's thought that F1 teams might get their first taste of how the new 2012 compound Pirelli tyres will be like during the test.
Coincidentally, Pirelli have been in action at Barcelona this week as well, with the F1 tyre supplier's test driver Lucas di Grassi confirming that he was at the circuit working on the 2012 compounds. Asked on Twitter what differences there were between current and new tyres, di Grassi responded: "Cannot tell you, sorry."