Valtteri Bottas opened up in a podcast about the body image issues he faced in 2014 when he drove alongside Felipe Massa for Williams.
2014 was a particularly difficult year for Valtteri Bottas. The Finn made his debut in Formula 1 with Williams in 2013, scoring 4 points the entire season at the US Grand Prix. He was partnered with Brazilian racer Felipe Massa in 2014.
Back in 2014, the weight of the drivers would have a big impact on the performance of the cars. The Finn driver admitted he drove himself into overexertion due to his own stubbornness.
“Back then we had to reduce our weight to a minimum, and I totally lost control over that”, said Bottas in the Podcast. The situation since then has become better according to Bottas himself.
“I had to weigh myself every morning and evening. The reading on the scales had to always be smaller and smaller. This gave me a boost.” admitted the Finn.
Just watching the 2014 F1 season review honestly Bottas was such a brilliant driver and was one of the best drivers when it came to wheel to wheel racing that year. Where did it all go wrong? pic.twitter.com/CBMwETKsJI
— Ethan 🇮🇪🍀 (@_Regenmeister) August 9, 2021
When Felipe Massa signed with Williams, Bottas realised that the Brazilian driver was significantly smaller compared to himself. This made him even more obsessed with his own weight.
Bottas made unhealthy decisions when it came to his training. After running the amount prescribed by his trainer, he ran the same distance immediately after in secret. He also reduced his food intake to the bare minimum.
Declining Mental Health
The irrational training and unhealthy diet began to take its toll on Bottas’ health. Physical and mental as well.
“First I got physical problems. I became exhausted very easily. Then I couldn’t sleep. Each night I woke up at 4 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. Then it affected my mental wellbeing. When you’ve taken every bit out of your physical fitness, your mental side drains as well.”
All of this started to have an effect on his personal life as well.
“My ex said at one point that should I seek professional help or something. You’re not yourself. I became some kind of ghost. I couldn’t feel anything anymore.”
The death of his ex-teammate Jules Bianchi also hit the Finn hard.
Nowadays, although Bottas has had an admittedly tough last few years at Mercedes, he is much happier. While like any driver who has their critics, Bottas also has his large share of fans who are delighted to see him happy.
His online presence shows a much happier side of the Mercedes driver. He is also regularly participating in other sports outside of F1 such as cycling with his partner Tiffany Cromwell who herself is international level Australian cyclist.
It’s Valtteri’s TikTok era. We’re just living in it. 💙😂
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 24, 2021
Bottas will be leaving Mercedes at the end of this season. The last two races at Jeddah and Abu Dhabi will be his final races with Mercedes as he moves to Alfa Romeo next year. Wherever he goes, his fans wish him all the happiness and health he can get.