Bottas has signed a multi-year contract with Alfa Romeo which could make a big step thanks to new Ferrari power and the 2022 regulations.
On expected lines it has been announced that Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will be joining Alfa Romeo in 2022, leaving the championship-winning Mercedes team after a 5-year stint. This probably means that Mercedes will elevate their junior driver George Russell who is currently on loan to Williams to partner with 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who has signed a contract with the Brackley based outfit till 2023.
Just before the Dutch GP, it was announced that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen had announced that he would be retiring after the end of this season. Bottas is reunited with Fred Vasseur, the team boss of Alfa Romeo, with whom the Finnish driver had worked at ART during 2009 and 2011 when he was in F3 and then GP3.
“A new chapter in my racing career is opening. I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer. Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of F1 history, and it’s going to be an honour to represent this marque,” said Bottas at the announcement.
“The potential of the set-up 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,” he added.
“I know Fred 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,” he said.
Toto Wolff who is the Mercedes boss was instrumental in this deal happening as he also manages Bottas. Bottas in his time at Mercedes achieved 9 wins, 17 pole positions and logged 17 fastest laps. He was also the runner up to the world driver’s championship in 2019 and 2020 when Ferrari fell behind.
“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,” said Vasseur.
“He is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo 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 time. 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 F1. We are excited for what the future holds in store,” he added.
Now that Ferrari doesn’t hold a seat for an academy graduate which means Antonio Gionvinazzi doesn’t have a seat guaranteed. He could be replaced by either Guanyu Zhou who is an Alpine junior driver who comes with a lot of funding and has impressed in F2. Red Bull reserve driver Alex Albon and Mercedes Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries are also in the running to take the seat.