September 06, (THEWILL) – The expected switch of Valtteri Bottas, second driver for Formula One Champions Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, to competing racing team Alfa Romeo has finally been confirmed after rumours had been circling for a while.
Bottas himself confirmed that he was joining Alfa Romeo next year on a multi-year deal after five years at Mercedes. He will be taking the seat that will be vacated by Kimi Raikkonen, who THEWILL reported was calling time on his brilliant racing career by this season’s end.
Making the confirmation official, Valtteri said: “A new chapter in my racing career is opening: I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer.
“The potential of the setup in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.
“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins.”
The announcement came about with some changes that Mercedes had been planning to execute within their own racing team. The plan is to bring in the English race driver George Russell to partner their lead driver Sir Lewis Hamilton. However, Mercedes wanted Valtteri’s future to be confirmed as secure before going public with the changes.
The confirmation from Alfa Romeo could see an announcement from Mercedes in the coming hours on Russell’s partnership with Hamilton for next season.
Fred Vasseur, the team principal at Alfa Romeo, who has previously worked with Valtteri when the driver was in Formula 3 (F3) and Grand Prix 3 (GP3) said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Valtteri to the team and we are looking forward to our journey together. With him, we bring to Hinwil a strong team player with experience at the sharp end of the grid.
“Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four constructors’ world titles to his name: he is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo make a step forward towards the front of the grid.”
Among those singing Bottas’ praises is Toto Wolff, the driver’s current boss at the Mercedes Team. Wolff said: “This hasn’t been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us. Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth.
“Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success.
“He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport; when the time comes, he will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family.”
Bottas acknowledged all of this when he said with appreciation and determination: “I would like to thank @MercedesAMGF1 for the 5 years together. We have achieved quite some things that I will never forget. And hey, we still have this season to Win! Let’s get it.”
Mercedes will have some catching up to do. As THEWILL reported on Sunday, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen regained control of the drivers’ championship with a start-to-finish victory at the Dutch Grand Prix in front of a fervent home crowd to open up a three-point lead in front of Mercedes’ seven-times world champion and lead driver Hamilton.