Alfa Romeo has announced that Valtteri Bottas has signed for the team on a multi-year contract from 2022.
Bottas’ move on a multi-year deal comes after five seasons driving for Mercedes where he has claimed nine wins in 92 races and finished as vice-champion in last two seasons behind Lewis Hamilton.
Alfa Romeo Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur has praised Bottas’ impending arrival as a sign of “stability that the team needs for their long-term project as new regulations are introduced next season.
Speaking on his decision to depart Mercedes for Alfa Romeo, Bottas revealed that he is “excited” to start “a new chapter” after spending nine seasons driving Mercedes powered cars, having begun his F1 career at Williams between 2013-16 seasons.
Bottas went on to reveal that he is excited for the 2022 regulation overhaul and the chance to lead Alfa Romeo moving forward, saying: “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.”
With Kimi Raikkonen having announced his retirement from F1 which takes effect at the end of this season, Bottas has revealed that he is “grateful” to be trusted by the team to fill his compatriot’s shoes, yet iterated that he is “as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins.”
The 32 year-old also paid tribute to Mercedes, commenting: ” 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.”
Alfa Romeo Team Principal, Vasseur is delighted to reunite with Bottas, having previously worked together during Bottas’ time in junior categories at ART GP between 2009-11 which culminated with the GP3 title in 2011.
Explaining why Alfa Romeo have decided to sign Bottas, Vasseur said: “With him, we bring to Hinwil a strong team player with experience at the sharp end of the grid.”
Vasseur also noted that Bottas’ role in helping Mercedes to four consecutive constructor titles since joining the Silver Arrows in 2011 will make him “an integral part” in helping the team push higher up the grid.
Acknowledging his previous experience working with Bottas, Vasseur admitted that he cannot wait to reunite with Bottas, saying: “I’m really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team.”
Details of Bottas’ teammate will be announced in due course with Mercedes’ Formula E champion, Nyck De Vries amongst the hotly tipped candidates, alongside Alfa junior – Theo Pourchaire and current driver – Antonio Giovinazzi.
“I am so proud…”
Bottas also issued an in-depth message to Mercedes fans in which he expressed his pride at his success as he looks ahead to the future, as he said: I am so proud of everything we have achieved together in my time with Mercedes – and it is not over yet, because we have our biggest challenge so far to try and claim our eighth constructors’ title.”
The former Williams driver also revealed his desire to look back upon his time at Brackley and say “that I squeezed every drop out of this opportunity and left nothing on the table; and I want to make sure that we finish our time together as champions.”
Paying tribute to Hamilton for being his teammate, Bottas described the opportunity to work together as “a privilege and a great sporting challenge” as evidenced by four constructor titles together.
Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff in turn revealed that the decision to release Bottas wasn’t “an easy process or a straightforward decision”, after he delivered a “fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.”
Wolff though is proud that Bottas is joining Alfa Romeo and staying in F1 next season, adding: “He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport,”
Summing up Bottas’ impact at the team, Wolff revealed that the Finnish driver will leave “with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family.”