Bottas, from Finland, fills the seat vacated by Nico Rosberg, who retired following his world championship victory last season.
But incredibly Bottas, 27, claims there is no driver hierarchy at Mercedes, something which is sure to annoy Lewis Hamilton, whose relationship with Rosberg when the two were team-mates was tepid at best.
“I don’t fear that I will be the number two at Mercedes,” said Bottas, whose deal with the world champions runs only until the end of the season.
“Mercedes do not have a No1, or a No2 driver, so it is up to me to perform. As long as I do my job, which is to perform on the level where the car should be, we are all good and I know I can do it.
“I’m very excited about going up against Lewis. He is a three-time world champion and a great reference point. Everybody knows exactly how good he is as a driver.
“It is great to be his team-mate. In testing we managed to work well together and there was a good team spirit. I see no reason why it should not continue.”
Valtteri Bottas is determined to be Mercedes' No 1 driver
F1 2017 driver line-up
Sun, March 19, 2017
Express Sport brings you the full F1 2017 driver line-up
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Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton (44)
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Bottas is yet to win in nearly 80 appearances but he will start the new season among Hamilton’s chief contenders for a fourth title. Mercedes’ unprecedented reign of dominance will face the sternest of tests this season following a sweeping overhaul of the technical regulations, but should they continue their success then Bottas, for the first time in his grand prix career which started with Williams in 2013, will have a car capable of fighting for the championship.
“I’m really excited about the new season in Formula One,” said Bottas, with just five days to go before this year’s curtain raiser at Melbourne’s Albert Park. “It is a new era with the regulation changes as well as me changing to a different team.
“It is a great challenge for everyone but especially for me. There is no doubt I will definitely need to prove myself to a lot of people and the team that I deserve my place.”
One team who would be forgiven for not looking forward to the new season is McLaren. Their relationship with Honda is at breaking point, with the engine continuing to prove unreliable.
Former McLaren driver John Watson has labelled the turmoil at his old team as “truly depressing” and pointed the finger of blame at engine supplier Honda.
Valtteri Bottas is determined to make his mark this forthcoming season
Lewis Hamilton is among the favourites to win the F1 Drivers Championship
McLaren have already upped the ante on their Japanese partners. Last week they said they were considering the options on their 10-year deal with Honda, while racing director Eric Boullier claimed McLaren would be winning again if they were powered by Mercedes.
“I don’t think those observations are helpful but they are probably fairly accurate,” said Watson, a four-time race winner for McLaren.
“The thing I find totally perplexing is that a company which is the largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines in the world and provided championship-winning engines for the likes of Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, seems to be incapable of making an engine in Formula One in the second decade of the 21st century.
“It is not rocket science we are talking about – we are not trying to put people on to Uranus or Pluto – we are trying to make a Formula One power unit that is good enough to challenge Mercedes.
“There has not been any sense of refinement from Honda that I can say gives me hope that a team, which I was part of, could ever in the short term return to the position where they are able to challenge for the world championship. I am deeply saddened by that situation. It is truly depressing.”