Frederic Vasseur asks ‘why not Valtteri Bottas’ upon the question of hiring the Finn for the 2022 F1 season at Alfa Romeo.
The move of Bottas from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo from F1 2022 onward was the major move coupled with George Russell going from Williams to Mercedes. With regards to the Finn going to Alfa Romeo, it had been a big rumour for a number of weeks, months even.
When a driver is in the spotlight, they sometimes have to put on their poker face about what they know, what they can say, what they do not know and what they can tell the media. In this instance, the Finn was quite the norm, but also fairly open and honest too.
Much like how Russell was made aware about his Mercedes move around Spa-Francorchamps, Bottas had the inclination even before that. “I never really like to share the details of how things went, because it’s quite private the way things work,” he said. “I can say that I knew before Spa what was about to happen. Budapest was the last race before the summer break and, still at that point there were no decisions made but then, together, we made the decisions, during the summer, before Spa.”
Bottas was a busy driver during the mid-season hiatus. At one stage, there was a rumour of a return to Williams along with the Alfa Romeo move. In the end of course, he chose the Italian-Swiss F1 outfit, considering the chequered career history of the brand.
Their glory days being 1950 and 1951 or mostly the early F1, but since their return to F1 in partnership with Sauber, they are still looking to breakthrough the midfield shackles. The challenge is what thrives Bottas to step in and move ahead, after his Mercedes stint.
“It’s exciting, it’s a great brand, they have a great history in motor racing,” said Bottas. “I feel like, based on the information I know, they can have a bright future and, hopefully, I can help that. It’s something new, something exciting for me and it will be a bit of a project for me. No doubt there’s going to be work to do, but I’ll give all the expertise I can to help them try to improve from this season, for sure.
“I can’t tell you everything but they’re serious about the future. Alfa Romeo, as a brand itself, has committed for quite a few years. I don’t want to share too much but we have high expectations, very high goals and, for me that’s really motivating,” summed up Bottas.
The 2022 F1 season will be the tenth season of his career. He is confident of bringing success to the team and has an excellent track record, not just at Williams, but also in his tenure at Mercedes. This experience will be invaluable at Alfa Romeo and will help them in no small manner.
Having been alongside Lewis Hamilton for five seasons, it is more than likely, he should be able to compete at the forefront and not in the shadows. It’s a big coup for Alfa Romeo to have him, especially with Kimi Raikkonen’s departure. Several other names had been mentioned over the last while, but Vasseur had his eyes on the Finn.
“Why not? No, but he’s a frontrunner in the championship over the last five years,” said Vasseur. “If you compare with Lewis, he had always a huge performance in quali, he was something 0.2 per cent off average and he will bring also his own experience and the fact he worked with Mercedes will be an asset for sure.
“And regarding Valtteri I think the other point is that from his own side I think he wants to have a mid-term project, this is an important step, and also to be able to be somehow the leader of the team and he was always next to Lewis and he will have to take more responsibility with us for sure and this will be a challenge for Valtteri but I think he is ready to do it,” summed up Vasseur.
There is a little bit of added pressure for Bottas, but he should be up to the task, he has the experience and the know-how. Alfa Romeo are ambitious and they are ready to make their next big leap and need to become more solid midfielders. What is an added bonus of sorts is that Vasseur has know Bottas after he raced and won title with his team ART.
“For me he is a competitor,” stated Vasseur. “I remember perfectly the season in GP3 in 2010 or ‘11 the start was difficult but then he was able to put everything together and to win six or seven races in a row. If you have a look over the last 10 years he was always on the podium, always fighting for pole positions and this is important because it’s a kind of education to be at the front of the grid and for sure he will bring his huge experience to the team.”
The story was written by Neil Farell
Here’s Valtteri Bottas on his Monza fightback
Here’s Frederic Vasseur on the second seat