Valtteri Bottas said Alfa Romeo feels less of a “company” and more of a “race team” in comparison to his previous employers Mercedes.
Having spent five seasons at Mercedes, Bottas moved on at the end of 2021 to join Alfa Romeo and be reunited with Fred Vasseur who he raced under in the 2011 GP3 Series.
Having helped Mercedes win the Constructors’ Championship every season he was there, the challenge at Alfa Romeo is a different one as the Finn no longer finds himself fighting for race wins and podiums.
He started the season strongly, finishing P6 in Bahrain, and has cut a happier figure around the paddock during a race weekend. Bottas said he is enjoying an “environment with less pressure.”
“The context I’m in now is less ‘company’ and more racing team, but everyone’s motivation is the same,” he told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
“It was very nice to start the season right away by winning points in Bahrain, I think that weekend gave an extra boost, the team realised that there would be other races where we would be able to finish in the top 10.
“That ‘boost’ is still there, when we don’t get points I see the team disappointed, and that’s the spirit.
“Then, of course, the targets are different to what I had to achieve last year, but in the end the approach is the same, in 2021 the target was to win, today it’s top 10.”
That target has been hard to achieve for Bottas as of late as he has failed to finish in two of the last three races due to either technical issues or a crash. He was asked how much those technical issues had affected his season and he replied “enough.”
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) September 11, 2022
“I haven’t finished two of the last three races, in Spa due to an accident and in Zandvoort due to a technical problem. Reliability is a top priority for us, as it is also for Ferrari, but there is still work to be done.”
Bottas’ move has also seen him become the senior driver as Zhou Guanyu competes in his first season of Formula 1. The Finn said it was “gratifying” for him to be able to pass on his knowledge both to Zhou and Alfa Romeo.
“It was a natural transition, considering my teammate is a rookie,” the 33-year-old said. “Obviously during the season he asked me a lot and I was happy to be able to help.
“Regarding my role in the team, coming from Mercedes I made available what I learned in a top team and it was gratifying for me to be able to do my part and make myself available to the team.”
Alfa Romeo are sixth in the Constructors’ standings while Bottas is P10 in the Drivers’ Championship.