Valtteri Bottas has described his former Mercedes boss Toto Wolff as “tough but always so supportive” as he looks back on their time together.
The pair first started working together in 2007 when Wolff, alongside Mika Häkkinen and Didier Coton, became the manager of Bottas when he was an F2 driver.
Bottas enjoyed the most successful period of his career under Wolff and won 10 races as well as helping the team to five Constructors’ Championship titles.
The two would continue to work together up until last year when Bottas left Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo and now the Finn has been detailing how their working relationship was.
The 32-year-old said there was no doubt that Wolff was one of the key people as to why he was still racing today.
“He’s had a big influence on my career, no doubt,” Bottas said on the Motor Sport Podcast. “He was one of the first guys who reached out to me in 2007. In the end, the management team that I had, early on in my career from 2007, was Mika Häkkinen, Didier Coton and Toto. So pretty strong group with lots of knowledge and good backing.
“With Toto’s support, no doubt, it made a big difference to my career. Obviously, he was involved at Williams, and then he became involved at Mercedes and then it was kind of weird to try and discuss the contract with him. Because before that he was a manager but now we’re on other sides of the table.
“This is not the last video.” 😭
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 11, 2021
“He can be tough but he was always so supportive. He’s one of the key persons, for sure, why I’m here at the moment, driving still.”
Bottas was then asked to elaborate on the different roles each member of the management team performed and said that with Wolff, his involvement with the Williams team made it easier him.
“I think they were doing things together,” Bottas said. “For sure, Toto’s involvement, like personally with the teams that I was driving for, it made a difference. And you know, he was within the team. So for sure, he did talk to them, management and so on. That made a huge difference.
“But also Mika’s role was also trying to open doors, because everyone still appreciates Mika lot. And if he says something people listen.
“Didier’s experience in Formula 1 management, how things work, contracts, everything, it was also useful assets. So really dynamic team I would say and then it was only up to me to perform.”