Valtteri Bottas says he has faith in Mercedes to get on top of the “obstacles” it currently faces with its 2019 Formula 1 car. 

Both Bottas and teammate Lewis Hamilton identified handling issues with Mercedes’ W10 car during pre-season testing and the introduction of a major aerodynamic upgrade during the second week of running in Barcelona went some way in combating the problems. 

While some issues still persist, Mercedes ended testing confident it had made progress with the understanding of its latest package heading into the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. 

Valtteri Bottas F1 Driver Profile - Mercedes

“There’s always hurdles or obstacles in this sport and with a new car,” Bottas explained. 

"Definitely we have some balance issues we still need to solve. Many things in the car we can still improve but I have faith in the team. 

“We’ve been in difficult situations before with the car, we’ve had race weekends where we’ve been underperforming with the car, so any obstacle I feel is possible to overcome. 

“It’s all about hard work and working together as a team for that. I trust everyone in the factory and the race team is really making sure that the starting point we have to the season we are going to be in the best possible shape for Melbourne.”

Asked if he fears the car could have the same “diva” qualities held by its predecessors, Bottas replied: “I’m not afraid of that. 

“It’s early days, there’s still a lot of development to do with the car, we’ve only done a few laps in the shakedown in Silverstone, in not ideal conditions, and here in Barcelona, so it’s way too early to say. 

“Track to track it will be different, we’ll see how it behaves with the proper temperatures, so it’s a bit early to say. For sure the team is working on that, to get in a good shape and we keep making progress. 

“At least there are a few areas in which I feel the car has made a good step forward, the slow speed corners the car feels better than last year and in some other areas too.

“Maybe it’s another car that has a very narrow sweet spot but once we hit it, I’m sure it can be very quick. We’ve learned massively every day, I feel it has been a good step every time I jump in the car - it always feels better. Hopefully I can feel an even bigger step in Melbourne.”

Mercedes believes Ferrari holds an early advantage heading into the new season after a strong showing over the winter. Five-time world champion Hamilton said that Mercedes could be trailing the Italian squad by as much as half a second, while Bottas admitted his team still needs to “unlock more” to compete with Ferrari early on in 2019.