Alfa Romeo will see a completely new line-up in 2022. Former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas will join the team alongside F1 rookie Guanyu Zhou. The Swiss team’s expectations now lie on the Finn, as admitted by team principal Fred Vasseur.
Valtteri Bottas has easily been a key figure in the Mercedes dominance since he joined the team. With Brackley, Bottas conquered five Constructors’ Championship and yet sometimes seemed irrelevant to the team’s success. Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur admitted to GPFans expectations were low at Mercedes for the Finn: “If you have a look, Mercedes, they won the last six or seven championships. Sometimes only with the points of Lewis, they would have been a team champion. It means that when you start and you are the Lewis teammate, you are in the shadow. You don’t know what is the expectation. Okay, you have to do the best, but you don’t have a mega responsibility.”
On the other hand, Alfa Romeo is ready to place greater responsibility on Bottas, that won’t only be a driver but will need to become a full-time team leader: “I think that now Valtteri is at the stage of his career that he is able to afford this.”
In particular, with a strong experience in Formula 1, Bottas will need to guide Zhou through his first season at the pinnacle of motorsport: “Okay, Valtteri, you are not just the driver, you are responsible for the performance of the teammate.’ I mean that you need to bring your teammate with you, you need to push on the engineer, to push on the factory, to go to the wind tunnel, to motivate the guy in the simulator.”
The faith Vasseur places in Bottas might finally show the fans a newly-found driver that isn’t afraid to take a central position in the team and Alfa Romeo seems confident the Finn has exactly what it takes: “If you think that someone is a bit down 10 weeks in a row, to go behind him and say, ‘Guys, wake up, let’s push.’ This position is crucial and Valtteri is ready to do those things.”
Headline Image: Stellantis Media
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