Valtteri Bottas being ‘who I truly am’ with Alfa Romeo freedom
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas has opened up on why he feels more relaxed and able to show more personality today than in the past.
The Finn has become something of a social media darling over the past 12 months, with Bottas memes focusing on his ‘mullet’ hairstyle, naked dips in streams, and his overall willingness to poke fun at himself and his girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell.
With Bottas’ personality shining through having joined Alfa Romeo at the end of the 2021 season, the obvious question of what’s different compared to his prior five years at Mercedes was asked of the Finn over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.
“It’s a different atmosphere. I mean, for sure, a big part of it is when you’re fighting for the title, then obviously pressure builds up and so on, but it’s a smaller team as well,” Bottas mused to media, including PlanetF1.com.
Valtteri Bottas points to long-term deal for making him ‘relaxed’
It’s in his long-term deal with Alfa Romeo/Sauber, which is an unspecified ‘multi-year’ deal that’s believed to be taking him through until the conclusion of 2025, that Bottas says he now feels relaxed enough to, metaphorically and literally, let his hair down.
“I think, for me, probably one of the big things why maybe I feel more relaxed is the future is a bit more solid for the years to come than what it was before,” he said.
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“I feel like I can truly be who I am. For sure, there’s a bit of a difference [compared to Mercedes]. I think company policies might be a bit different in different workplaces, let’s say, and so on. And some things might be a bit more restricted.”
As for whether he’s in any rush to sit down with Sauber to discuss his future as his team pairs up with Audi for 2026 and beyond, Bottas said: “Eventually, we’ll have to speak about the future. We really haven’t yet properly. Let’s just get these first few races out of the way and then we’ll see but it’s not the time yet. Things are pretty stable, at least for the next couple of years.”
Would a mulleted Valtteri Bottas have happened at Mercedes?
Asked whether he would have been allowed grow out his hair into a mullet at Mercedes, Bottas laughed: “I would imagine I would have not been allowed, so that’s one example!
“But I think it’s time and getting older as well. The school and learnings F1 has given to me as well that you just eventually learn, sometimes, not to take things too seriously, especially yourself. So it’s just a bit more happier with everything.”
Having separated from his wife Emilia Pikkarainen in 2020, Bottas has been dating Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell since 2021. Bottas admitted that her outgoing personality has also had an effect on pulling him out of his own shell over the years since.
“For sure, she’s an Aussie and, I would say, a free spirit as a person that likes to live in the moment and do things that make her happy. This kind of mindset,” he said.
“So yeah, she’s the person who lives with me, so it’s always a big, big impact. She’s still trying to make me an Aussie and it’s getting there step by step.”