Bottas ‘couldn’t have same role’ at Mercedes as he does at Alfa

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas smiling in a press conference. Australia April 2022

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas smiling in a press conference. Australia April 2022

Valtteri Bottas says he feels like he is more than just a driver with the Alfa Romeo team, the Finn finally in a position of “proper authority”.

After five years racing for Mercedes, Bottas joined Alfa Romeo ahead of this year’s championship.

The 32-year-old has not only found himself in a very different environment, but also in a different position as he is firmly entrenched as Alfa Romeo’s lead driver.

No longer carrying the tag of “wingman” as he was once called by Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, his new team boss Fred Vasseur has made it clear that Bottas is the team leader, the one in the position to drive the team forward.

And Bottas is relishing that.

“I really feel a big part of the team,” he told The Race. “And it’s been really nice to have proper authority on things.

“If I ask for something it happens, and everyone really listens. And I’ve been able to motivate some people.

“It’s just a really motivated and good feeling in the team now, everyone is really trying hard. That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do but of course, the results, like at first race, scoring those points, you could see how uplifting it was for people, and that helps.

“I’m really happy how things are going with the team and my role.

“I feel like I’m not just driving the car. I feel like I am a bit more than that.

“I’m not just a driver, but also an important team member.”

But while that could be seen as a dig at Mercedes with Bottas feeling he was undervalued by the team, the Finn says that’s not the case.

He was just at a team that belonged to Lewis Hamilton.


“Absolutely,” he said. “It was always quite difficult in the past to really step up. And I think Lewis also in a team is quite a dominant person in a way.

“It was pretty clear that I couldn’t have the same role there as what I have here.”

Bottas has scored twice this season to sit P10 in the Drivers’ Championship with 12 points, his team-mate Guanyu Zhou has so far scored one.


Bottas more than just a driver with Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas has a new role at Alfa Romeo as a team leader, and he is thriving in it.