While Valtteri Bottas has garnered plenty of attention for his whacky social media antics, he knows he will need to tone it down when Audi arrive.
Certainly not known as a flamboyant personality of the Formula 1 grid during his Williams and Mercedes stints, Bottas has come out of his shell since linking-up with Alfa Romeo, allowing his personality to flow free.
That has resulted in a healthy pool of social media memes and hilarious content courtesy of Bottas, with his latest example coming over the F1 2023 summer shutdown.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Valtteri Bottas reveals factors behind more free approach
The Finn contested the SBT Hill climb event in Colorado dressed as the Simpson’s character ‘Duff Man’, winning and thus claiming the grand prize of his weight in beer, which he handed out to the spectators and competitors at the event.
And when speaking to media including PlanetF1.com ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, it was put to Bottas that he could never have posted content like this when he was a Mercedes driver.
“I think it’s a combination of a few things,” he said. “For sure I would never imagine doing stuff like that for example in my rookie year, but I think once you’ve been around a bit more you get comfortable with things.
“I just don’t take social media seriously anymore. I’m more than happy to make fun out of myself and do that kind of stuff.
“And people love it, so they can kind of relate that ‘okay, he’s just a normal guy who has a sense of humour’. So it’s fun to share stuff like that.
“But yeah, just many things affecting for sure. Team environment, bit of stability.”
On the subject of team environment, change is coming at Bottas’ team, which after reverting to the Sauber name for F1 2024, will then morph into Audi’s works team come 2026, meaning if Bottas remains with the team at that stage, then he will experience working for another German automotive giant.
At that point, Bottas knows he may need to think twice about some of his social media posts, but as long as the Audi partnership takes the team up the F1 pecking order, and he can still be himself, then he does not mind that.
“No doubt it will get more corporate with a big brand coming in,” Bottas admitted. “But if that brings results, then I don’t mind.
“I don’t feel like I need to change myself, I am who I am and I want to be who I am always.
“But of course, with let’s say a bigger company, some things that I share on social media, I might have to do a second thought on things, but that’s okay.
“As long as I can still have my fun, which I believe is good for me, that’s the main thing.”
P7 is now looking like the strongest position which Bottas’ Alfa Romeo-Sauber team could now secure in the F1 2023 Constructors’ Championship. They currently sit P9, but only two points behind Williams who hold P7.