Bottas reveals meaning of ‘to whom it may concern’ radio message

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Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas during Canadian Grand Prix. Montreal, June 2022.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas has shed some light on his infamous “to whom it may concern” radio message after winning the 2018 Australian GP.

Bottas crossed the line to win the season opener in Melbourne in 2019, with the Finn getting on the radio to say “to whom it may concern, f**k you”.

Having responded to his critics in fine fashion after spending most of 2017 in the doldrums as teammate Lewis Hamilton romped to his fourth Drivers’ Championship, Bottas always remained coy about who the message was aimed at.

Now with the benefit of a few years passing, Bottas was asked about the message again as the Finn revealed that he had been in a dark place over the winter break between the 2017 and ’18 seasons – so much so, that he felt he had lost the love of F1.

“No, not someone particularly,” Bottas told the Motor Sport Magazine podcast as he was asked who the message was aimed at.

“It was more like, because I got a lot of criticism throughout the last part of ’18 [like] should I be a Mercedes driver, and is he the right guy for the team – that started to annoy me.

“So it was basically for people who were trying to push me down. I don’t know, I kind of used that as motivation then for that race.”

Podcast host Chris Medland put it to Bottas that maybe the message was, in some ways, aimed at himself in light of his troubled 2017 season.

“Kind of, yeah,” Bottas mused.

“[In] those kind of moments, I just want to tell people to always look at the big picture in life and, if you feel a bit anxious about things, take a step back.

“There’s always so much more to get if you don’t give up.”

Valtteri Bottas smiling in a press conference. Australia April 2022

Having left Mercedes behind at the end of 2021 in order for a fresh start at midfield team Alfa Romeo, Bottas says he’s viewing 2022 as a completely fresh start for him within F1.

“Definitely, for me, it was like all about taking a step back,” he explained.

“Resetting the goals and expectations and I created different kinds of goals, which is trying to help the team with all the knowledge I have.

“[We’ll] try to push, motivate the team and try to make progress. Result-wise, no big expectations for the first year. But, actually, we realised pretty quickly that once we got the reliability with the car, we actually have pretty good pace performance.

“At some tracks, we’re really almost up there fighting with the big teams and that’s been so amazing in a way that it’s not maybe something I quite expected for the first year.

“But I knew the potential was there. So it’s been really nice. The role I have in the team is quite different than I’ve ever had. It’s such a nice vibe and feeling and also having quite a big authority on things and being able to change things quickly. Everything is really enjoyable.”