F1: Bottas to move to Alfa Romeo for 2022 on multi-year deal
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Valterri Bottas will not continue as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate at Mercedes next year as the Finn has signed a multi-year deal to join Alfa Romeo from the 2022 Season.
The nine-time Grand Prix winner will join Alfa Romeo in what could potentially be a brand new line-up for the Swiss outfit. Bottas will replace fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who announced his retirement from the sport last week, while current driver Antonio Giovinazzi's future is still hanging in the balance.
“A new chapter in my racing career is opening: I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer” Valterri Bottas
Bottas's future at Mercedes has been a subject of much speculation for months now as the German manufacturer had been evaluating on whether it's young protege and Williams driver George Russell should get the call up to join the Reigining Champions.
FAST FINN: Bottas will take a wealth of experience to his new team as he aims to help them move further up the grid
As of yet, nothing has been confirmed about Russell's future but with Bottas leaving to join Alfa Romeo, it's pretty much expected that the young Brit should join Lewis Hamilton from next season onwards.
Bottas has been part of the Mercedes team since 2017 and has since helped the team to Four Constructor's Championships, his own nine victories and 53 podium finishes.
“I am proud of what I have achieved in Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another world championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year.” Valterri Bottas
Despite being able to match, even beat Hamilton at some qualifying events, Bottas was unable to challenge consistently in the following races which meant the Finn could not mount a serious championship challenge.
Bottas's 2021 campaign has been nothing short of dissapointing. Unable to match Championship Leader Red Bull's Max Verstappen and team-mate Hamilton every race, Bottas has had to settle for the third step of the podium. Yet to finish higher than second, he currently sits third with 123 points but at one stage, he lagged behind McLaren's Lando Norris and the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
The way that Mercedes have dealt with thr situation has been handled pretty well. It was reported that even before the Belgian GP two weeks ago, a decision had been made but they were not wanting to announce anything until all of their driver's future's had been resolved.
With a multi-year deal, Bottas has secured his future in the sport and this is something which is uncommon for the Finn. At Mercedes, he'd only been offered one-year extensions but this gives Bottas piece of mind and a platform on which he can build on.
NEW LEASE OF LIFE: Bottas will step into the role of team leader at Alfa Romeo and it's his job to ensure that when next year arrives, he takes advantage of the new rules
Bottas joins Alfa Romeo who are currently languishing in ninth place on only three points. Recently, they have been leapfrogged by Williams who scored well in the Hungarian and Belgian races.