READY TO GO: Valtteri Bottas is keen to get the 2017 F1 season underway. Image: AFP / Adrian Dennis
Cape Town - Valtteri Bottas is pushing hard to be ready for the 2017 season. That is the news from Niki Lauda, the Formula 1 legend and team chairman at Mercedes.
He is referring to Finn Bottas, who was Mercedes' eleventh hour pick to replace the suddenly-retired world champion Nico Rosberg for 2017.
Bottas a motivation
Lauda told Swiss newspaper Blick: "I'm always on the phone with Bottas, He wants to know everything, which is motivating me as well. He is getting full support from all of us."
After Mercedes won the last three titles, F1 is all change for 2017, with wider tyres and much faster cars set to fill the grid.
READ: F1 - Bottas' 1-year Mercedes deal explained
Lauda said the picture will start to emerge from the second Barcelona test.
He added: "The first four days in Barcelona will be getting to know the new regulations. Then the four-day break will be to make updates. Then at the second test, no one will bluff anymore because we will all want to know where we stand before Melbourne. The first three races are on totally different tracks, so by then we will know where we are heading."
Lauda said he has seen the broad shape of the 2017 Mercedes car and he was "immediately enthusiastic.”
He concluded: "The fans will surely like what they see.”