Bottas: “My motivation is even bigger than before”

In a way, all of Formula 1 begins a new life this season, but in the case of Valtteri Bottas that is multiplied by two because he will have to adapt to the regulation that promises to change everything in a different team. He leaves behind five years in which he enjoyed the best car with the Mercedes to reach Alfa Romeo, the second worst team of 2021, a radical change by which it will go from fighting for victories and podiums (it achieved 10 and 58 of each in Brackley) to doing so for points, but that does not detract from its motivation, on the contrary.

“I feel like my motivation is even bigger than before because everything is new, it’s exciting,” he assures in conversation with AS in La Thuile (Italy), where the Hinwil team organized an event with European media. The 32-year-old Finn sees his new adventure with the eyes of a new home, even if it is by exchanging a chalet for a flat, and enjoys a “good and very busy” adaptation to his new home: “There is a lot to learn about team and about the car”. He has been at it since “the end of last year”.

“There are a lot of people you have to meet, to know how the team and the factory works, to spend a lot of time in the simulator to try to develop it… I also visited the Alfa Romeo Museum in Milan and it was really impressive. So for now, everything very well. It will be very exciting to be able to test the car properly”, anticipates Bottas about the tests in Barcelona (from Wednesday to Friday), although he already had a first contact with the C42 in a ‘shakedown’ in Fiorano, with “wet and cold first impressions”.

And it is that “it was raining and it was 4ºC”, but “It was nice to feel that the car is not like night and day compared to previous years”: “It was a good feeling, there are always things to correct and understand because it is a test preparation, but in general everything went well. In Barcelona we will really check how the car feels.” To begin with, he assumes that you will have to “change your driving style a bit” because “the car is heavier and has bigger wheels, although it is difficult to judge with a few first laps in the wet”.

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Goals and leadership

The new F1 is the opportunity they needed at Alfa Romeo to try to recover and move up the grid, that’s why Valtteri doesn’t set a specific goal, just progress: “The main goal is to make good progress together, as a team. That’s mission number one. Technically, I will make available to the team all the knowledge I have acquired to develop the car. And in terms of results, it’s very hard to say right now, but I like to think optimistically. I’m sure they’ll be better than in recent years.”

To do this, he assumes the role of leader and mentor to Zhou, recently promoted from F2: “Guanyu is a ‘rookie’ and has a lot to learn, I will help him as much as I can, we need to work together. With my experience, I will try to guide and somehow lead the team to the best of my ability and take responsibility.” You will take advantage of the peace of mind that comes from having “a multi-year contract for the first time”: “I can invest my time in this effort now and it will help in the long run.” And to show that there is also life far from Mercedes.

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