Valtteri Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017, replacing the outgoing Nico Rosberg. Rosberg had won the championship in 2016, and Bottas had big boots to fill. Unlike Rosberg, Bottas was unable to keep up with Lewis Hamilton, and often played second fiddle for the Briton. Bottas joined Alfa Romeo as his contract at Mercedes expired, and cited the need for a ‘fresh start’.
Bottas has certainly got his fresh start, but reliability has been a bit of a concern for Alfa Romeo this season, and the same goes for their engine supplier, Ferrari. The Finnish driver has only finished outside of the points once this season, in Azerbaijan, and currently sits in 8th place, four points behind Lando Norris.
He has also stated that he is there at Alfa Romeo to use his experience with Mercedes to help the Italian outfit improve, and it seems that it is certainly helping them. It was under Toto Wolff that Bottas accumulated this experience, as well as had the most successful period of his entire career, and in the Motorsport podcast, Bottas expressed his gratitude towards the Mercedes team principal.
Valtteri Bottas says Toto Wolff was ‘tough’ but supportive
When asked about Toto Wolff on the Motorsport podcast, Valtteri Bottas responded with gratitude towards the Austrian, also saying that Wolff was once part of his management team.
“He’s had a big influence on my career, no doubt. He was one of the first guys who reached out to me in 2007. In the end, the management team that I had, early on in my career from 2007, was Mika Häkkinen, Didier Coton and Toto. So pretty strong group with lots of knowledge and good backing.”
Bottas said that Wolff’s support towards him made a big difference in his career, but as Wolff had been part of the Finn’s management team, Bottas said it was ‘weird’ negotiating a Mercedes contract with him. Bottas said:
“With Toto’s support, no doubt, it made a big difference to my career. Obviously, he was involved at Williams, and then he became involved at Mercedes and then it was kind of weird to try and discuss the contract with him. Because before that he was a manager but now we’re on other sides of the table.”
Bottas said that Wolff was ‘tough’ but supportive, and one of the key reasons that he was so successful, and why he was still in Formula 1. He also elaborated on the roles of the three (Häkkinen, Coton and Wolff) in the management team, to which he responded that the three were ‘doing things together’, and it was a ‘very dynamic team’.