Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur has plans to reignite the spark in their new signing Valterri Bottas. The Frenchman had worked with the Finnish driver back in his GP3 days. Vasseur says he has great hopes for Bottas and believes the Finn has a lot to prove.
Valterri spent 5 seasons with Mercedes between 2017 and 2021 with whom he won 10 races and helped the win the Constructors championship on 5 occasions. He was the 2nd in the title fight in 2019 and 2020 finishing behind teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Finnish driver switched to Alfa Romeo for 2022 following the retirement of fellow Finn and Former World Champion Kimi Raikonnen.
Alfa Romeo’s expectations from Valtteri Bottas
Frederic Vasseur and Valterri Bottas go a long way back. He was part of the ASM Formula 3 Euro series set-up that kindled talents such as Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and the late Jules Bianchi. Vasseur founded ART in 2004 and won the GP2 with future F1 champions with Nico Rosberg in 2005 and Lewis Hamilton in 2006. He joined Sauber, later renamed Alfa Romeo in 2017 with whom he serves the position of Managing Director and CEO.
During his time with ART, Vasseur had worked with a young Valterri Bottas. Bottas won the GP3 Series with ART in 2011 and then moved to the Williams F1 team as a test driver. Vasseur having high hopes with Bottas believes the Finn has a lot to prove and is one of the best racers in the grid.
“He did some mega good events on the last part of the season [in 2021]. Also, perhaps the fact that we signed and he has a new project, he was a bit more relaxed. I hope that it helped him,” said the Alfa Romeo boss. “But I think your summary was a good one. When everything is perfect, he’s able to be flying. He went faster than Lewis in some weekends,” he affirmed.
Bottas wouldn’t be the only star working under Vasseur as the Frenchman was overseeing Charles Leclerc during his time at ART who would win the GP3 series in 2016. Vasseur worked again with Leclerc during the Monegasque’s Formula 1 debut during the 2018 season with Sauber.
“I saw it with Charles in the past: when you work together in the junior series, you know the guy for a long, long time. You don’t need to speak too much to understand what he is expecting,” said Vasseur.
“The relationship that you can build in the junior series is completely different to the relationship in F1. We are much more in contact. When you want to find positive factors in the junior series, you can always find them,” he explained.