Even if Mercedes had have offered Valtteri Bottas yet another one-year contract extension, he would have rejected it anyway.
Bottas made his Mercedes debut in 2017, signed as a replacement for Nico Rosberg who had retired shortly after being crowned 2016 World Champion.
It was a one-year deal which Bottas signed, and since then all following extensions have come on a yearly basis.
That trend ended though when Bottas’ departure at the conclusion of 2021 was confirmed, with the Finn set to switch to Alfa Romeo while George Russell fills the Mercedes seat he vacates.
But if Mercedes had have looked to retain Bottas for 2022, would he have accepted? According to Bottas himself, the answer is no.
Bottas also made it clear that it was a joint decision “agreed” between he and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, rather than a direct driver swap.
“He knew that at some point we need to make decisions,” said Bottas on the Beyond The Grid Podcast.
“And already, I had decided myself that if I can’t get two years or more with Mercedes, I’m definitely going to go for something new.
“And it was a simple question of can he offer me two years or more? And he said, no he can’t, at this moment.
“And then it was quite easy. Then it was very natural to get George in the car, because he has been kind of part of the team for a long time. And it’s a new generation, and that’s also how the sport is evolving.
“Mercedes have had this young driver programme, and George has been in that for a long time. In case he still develops further and becomes more experienced and even quicker, they didn’t want to miss the opportunity.
“So, for me, it’s all good. I’m really happy.”
During his appearance on the Beyond The Grid podcast, Bottas also spoke with excitement over his upcoming Alfa Romeo move.
With the budget cap in Formula 1 reducing to $140m for the 2022 campaign, as well as the introduction of brand new cars with more restrictive design rules, Bottas feels these are just two of many reasons why Alfa Romeo are a great next destination.
“The good thing with Formula 1 in the future is the budgets between the teams, they’re going to be the same or if there’s differences, they’re quite minimal,” said Bottas.
“Alfa Romeo has agreed to support the team at least for the next two years.
“They have really talented engineers, they have a great factory, a great windtunnel.
“They have a good simulator that still has definitely work to do. But I can help with that.
“I see all the ingredients are there for much, much better results than they’re doing now. And I believe this regulation change now that is happening is a great opportunity.
“With the knowledge I have, how early the team switched to development of the new car, etc, and what I’ve seen so far, I’m confident if we work hard and together, anything’s possible.”