Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur feels that his new driver Valtteri Bottas will reach new heights away from the Mercedes spotlight.
Bottas spent five decently successful seasons with Mercedes before moving to Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 season. He won 10 races with the Silver Arrows and played a massive role in guiding the team to five consecutive Constructors’ Championships.
Despite his race wins and podiums, Bottas never really challenged teammate Lewis Hamilton for the World Title. He admitted that being the seven-time Champion’s teammate put him under huge pressure for the majority of his time in Brackley.
Ahead of the 2022 season, Bottas joined Alfa Romeo Racing. He will team up with Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, who is gearing up for his first season in the sport. Vasseur feels that Bottas will ‘thrive’ under a new environment, and that he’ll enjoy being away from the spotlight.
“I spend a lot of time with Valtteri. And I think he’s taking it as a new challenge, a new opportunity,” he said. “I was crystal clear that it will be much more difficult to win a race with the car next year than with the Mercedes.”
“But I think he’s also taking the fact that his own position into the team will change. And it’s a challenge for him and a new responsibility.”
Valtteri Bottas will feel secure about his future at Alfa Romeo, says Vasseur
Bottas was under pressure at Mercedes, both on and off track. His long term future with the German team was never fully secure, as he only extended his stay in the form of ‘short term contracts’.
Vasseur says that the Hinwil based team wanted to offer the 32-year with some stability in his F1 career. He joined Alfa Romeo in a multi-year deal, something that will keep him focused on his racing.
“The situation again will be different. Because so far it was very often he was in a six-month contract, or one-year contract with the option in two months, and blah, blah, blah,” Vasseur continued.
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“And the first part of the discussion was to give him the stability. Say, ‘Valtteri, I trust you 100 percent. I can see every single weekend what you are able to do in qualifying against or in front of Lewis, who is the ultimate reference.”
“‘For me, you are the guy, and I want to give you the stability. You have to give back to the team the stability’.”
“The fact that we need to have a reference, fully committed, 200 percent supportive to the company, 200 percent present to the company, and to be a real push for the performance,” the 53-year old concluded.