Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2021 F1 season after five seasons to join Alfa Romeo Sauber in a multi-year deal.

The news about Bottas looking at a potential F1 future at Alfa Romeo surfaced just before the summer break and pushed into fourth gear after the break. An announcement was deemed likely around the Monza weekend – the third leg of the triple-header.

The drivers were already told about the situation by Spa weekend, as George Russell noted. With the deal now signed, Bottas will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2021 F1 season to join Alfa Romeo as a replacement to the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.

It is a multi-year deal with Alfa Romeo as Bottas will start a new journey with the third team in his F1 career, having raced for Williams and Mercedes before. The move for the Finn eventually confirms the switch of Russell to Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton.

In the nine years in F1, Bottas has had nine wins ans 63 podiums till date, with 17 pole positions. “A new chapter in my racing career is opening: I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer,” said the Finn.

“Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula One history and it’s going to be an honour to represent this marque. The potential of the setup in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.

“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins. I know Fred [Vasseur] well and I am looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team I am going to work with, building relationships as strong as the ones I have at Mercedes.

“I am proud of what I have achieved in Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another world championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year,” summed up Bottas, as team boss Frederic Vasseur added:

“It is a pleasure to welcome Valtteri to the team and we are looking forward to our journey together. With him, we bring to Hinwil a strong team player with experience at the sharp end of the grid. Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four constructors’ world titles to his name: he is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN make a step forward towards the front of the grid.

“Our relationship goes back a long way, to when we worked together in successful campaigns in F3 and GP3, and his talent and skills have been evident ever since, only growing with the time: I’m really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team. The multi-year deal bringing him to us gives both Valtteri and the team the stability we need to build our project at a crucial time for Formula One: we are excited for what the future holds in store.”

Here’s Valtteri Bottas on his cheeky fastest lap in Dutch GP