What Bottas wants from his next F1 deal amid likely Meredes exit
Formula 1

What Bottas wants from a 2022 F1 deal

Sep 2 2021
By Scott Mitchell-Malm

Valtteri Bottas says he is “excited” for his Formula 1 future beyond 2021, having outlined the “main things” he is looking for amid expectations he will leave Mercedes.

The two-time championship runner-up is yet to have his future confirmed but it is looking increasingly likely that Mercedes will replace him with George Russell for 2022.

That leaves Bottas facing a move to either Alfa Romeo or returning to his old team Williams in a straight swap with Russell.

Bottas has been coy on his future since returning from the summer break and repeated his “maybe I do, maybe I don’t” line from Spa when asked ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix if he knows where he will be racing next year.

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes F1

Mercedes has made its decision between Russell and Bottas but will not disclose the information until the other driver has his 2022 seat confirmed, which has been widely interpreted to mean a delay for Bottas to firm up his alternative.

“Things are going to right direction, and I’m happy and I’m excited,” Bottas said at Zandvoort on Thursday.

Alfa or Williams would represent a significant downgrade from Mercedes, which Bottas joined in 2017 and where he has become a nine-time grand prix winner in his support role to Lewis Hamilton and the team’s ongoing constructors’ championship successes.

He has previously admitted he would need to adjust to a new mindset in moving to a team in the lower midfield, which is where Alfa Romeo and Williams are presently.

Asked by The Race what are the main factors he is considering for 2022, Bottas said: “A multi-year contract would be nice. That’s something I’ve never had before in Formula 1.

“That way I could definitely give good, full commitment to the team, not just for that year but knowing that the work continues.

“And it needs to be challenging, it needs to be exciting, it needs to be fun – an atmosphere that I really enjoy working with.

“Those are really the main things I’m looking for.

“I still have a good few years in Formula 1 and I really want to continue in Formula 1.”

The driver market silly season has descended into intense speculation even over trivial things such as posts on social media.

Bottas posted a photo of his limited-edition new Mercedes on social media this week, which immediately sparked questions over whether it was a hint of a decision, not that an argument either way would make much sense.

But Bottas has clarified that the acquisition was indeed a present – from himself to himself.

“I ordered the car last winter already, because it was quite a limited edition, and with that paint job also it’s even got Niki’s red star on the car,” said Bottas, referencing the special star Mercedes has included on its cars since the passing of former boss and three-time F1 champion Niki Lauda.

“I paid the full price for the car myself, I didn’t get any discount. So, it was not a gift.”

If Bottas signs for Alfa Romeo, which has become the most likely destination, he will replace his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo F1

“He had a impressive and long career in Formula 1, one of the longest if not the longest,” said Bottas.

“He had an impact on me as a youngster, I was following him closely when he started in F1, I was following his season when he won the world championship [in 2007].

“At that time I was doing my first season in single-seaters in Formula Renault when he won his title with Ferrari. He’s obviously a big star in Finland, he’s a bit of a legend.

“It definitely always was good fun to watch him and it’s been nice also racing with him because he’s one of the drivers that when you he race with you’re quite comfortable going wheel to wheel.

“He’s always had good respect to his competition, and that’s the way I like racing.”

Following the announcement of his F1 retirement, current Alfa driver Raikkonen was asked what his exit would mean for his compatriot’s future.

“I don’t know,” Raikkonen replied. “I don’t run the team so I don’t know. I don’t know what happens at the place that he is now. There’s always a lot of speculation. He has a place and he can be happy with it. So, I know as much as you guys.”

What did you think of this story?

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap