“I think it was a good time for Valtteri to leave the team,” Toto Wolff feels that Valtteri Bottas is happier with Alfa Romeo after getting out of ‘pressure cooker’ Mercedes


“I think it was a good time for Valtteri to leave the team,” Toto Wolff feels that Valtteri Bottas is happier with Alfa Romeo after getting out of ‘pressure cooker’ Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas (L) and Toto Wolff (R)

Valtteri Bottas left Mercedes last year, after having spent 5 seasons with the Silver Arrows. While there were some joyous occasions in his time with Mercedes, it was abundantly clear that he was not the main man. That title belonged only to Lewis Hamilton. This meant his races were often compromised, and he was given a more secondary treatment because his teammate just outperformed him consistently.

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Not only that, but he was under tremendous pressure with the team. His move to Alfa Romeo has lifted that pressure, and his former team principal (and until 2017, part of his management team), Toto Wolff, thinks this has been good for him. Moreover, at least in 2022, the Finn was the clear leader at Alfa Romeo and scored the vast majority of their points. It’s certainly worked out for him, as of the main reasons he left Mercedes was that he did not want to be the sidekick.

As per SoyMotor.com, when Talking about Bottas’ current situation to Channel 4, Wolff said: “I think it was a good time for Valtteri to leave the team, because the pressure on him was enormous and he didn’t want to be just a sidekick. Now that he has freed himself from that pressure and that he is competing in Alfa it is completely different, it seems to me that he is happier outside of the pressure cooker that is Mercedes.”

Also Read: “I think it’s pretty normal,” Toto Wolff deems the political scraps between teams in 2022 ‘business as usual’

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Toto Wolff’s gesture of ‘respect’ towards Valtteri Bottas

Toto Wolff (L) and Valtteri Bottas (R)
Toto Wolff (L) with Valtteri Bottas (R)

Toto Wolff also made it clear that he was always looking at George Russell as Valtteri Bottas’ replacement, however, he did not confirm the younger driver’s arrival out of respect for the Finn, who did not have a seat (by that time). He said: “In terms of decision-making, I knew very early on that I wanted George in the car, but I didn’t commit to George before I knew Valtteri had found a good spot. I didn’t commit to him and I didn’ t communicate with anyone outside because I have that respect for the people I care about.”

Wolff said that he only spoke to Russell after Bottas found a seat at Sauber (Alfa Romeo): “When Valtteri had done it with Sauber in August, during the break, then I spoke to George and told him that he was in the team, I told him knowing that Valtteri had found his place. Of course, it had been a long waiting period for him, I told him ‘I would have done the same with you’ and I think he understood it.” 

While in terms of championship performances Alfa Romeo is far below Mercedes, it is clear that Bottas is happier to be at a team where he is leading the project, and where he has more assurance. At Mercedes, there was almost constant doubt about whether he’ll stay at the team or be replaced. Being left out to dry outside F1 would be one of any driver’s anxieties. But now, the pressure is off.

Also Read: “We have always set hard targets,” Toto Wolff’s take on George Russell’s F1 journey and his 2022 campaign with Mercedes

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