Valtteri Bottas is hoping to conduct talks with Alfa Romeo early in the 2023 Formula 1 season in a bid to avoid speculation over his long-term future and secure a continued level of stability with the team.
The Finnish driver joined Alfa Romeo on a multi-year basis from the beginning of 2022 and played a key role in guiding them to their highest-ever Constructors’ Championship finish in the turbo-hybrid engine era with sixth place.
Having endured the pressures of being exclusively on singular-year deals during his entire five-year stay with Mercedes, the former Williams driver has repeatedly spoken of the advantages that retaining a long-term contract for the first time in his F1 career has given him.
It was continuously muted from several sectors that the lack of security afforded to Bottas and the subsequent questioning over his future plans prior to signing for Alfa Romeo adversely affected his performances across the second half of multiple campaigns – particularly whilst at Mercedes.
Those troubling times have led Bottas to be outspoken in wanting to put measures in place that will avoid a similar situation unfolding with the Hinwil-based outfit.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Bottas said, “I’ve been in that situation so many times where it’s become a distraction.
“So yeah, for sure, it’s going to be a talking point hopefully quite early [in the year] on what’s going to happen.
“It is important to me to have that stability after 10 years of not so much stability.”
Last season marked a significantly improved showing by Alfa Romeo following a plethora of years predominantly spent battling at the rear of the F1 field.
Bottas was one particular beneficiary of a much-improved package and immediately appeared a reinvigorated figure by scoring points in six of the opening seven races.
Although his stellar points-scoring start would tail off as the year progressed, the Finn still achieved 49 of the team’s 55 points and it was his fifth-place finish at Imola that enabled Alfa Romeo to crucially hold off Aston Martin on countback in the closely-contested fight for that sixth spot in the overall standings.
Despite no longer competing for the possibility of wins every weekend, Bottas has spoken of the newfound joy he has found in readjusting his expectations to what constitutes success for a team not consistently competing at the sharp end.
“It’s rewarding and uplifting seeing the joy people have when you’re actually even scoring a few points regularly.
“It’s not something that the team is used to. It’s definitely been nice to be part of it.
“Already I’m looking forward to the new car, and how it’s going to be and all that. It’s interesting,” Bottas said.
While internally Alfa Romeo will be aiming to make another step forward this season, externally there’s been plenty of intrigue surrounding the Swiss-operating team since the end of last year with the long-awaited confirmation that Sauber will become a works Audi outfit in time for the new engine regulations from 2026.
Unsurprisingly, Bottas has ambitions to remain beyond his current contract for the start of an exciting new chapter that has the long-term potential to elevate the perennial midfield side into a position of eventually competing for race wins and world championships.
“It is a great opportunity for the team, it brings stability and something new.”
Nevertheless, Alfa Romeo will remain as the official entry name the Sauber-run entity will run under for one final year in 2023, and therefore Bottas has reiterated that the focus within the team will completely remain on the season ahead.
“We’re now just cracking on and obviously, still, nothing changes.
“We’re still Alfa Romeo. I think probably next year, things are going to start changing. But for now, it’s pretty stable and everyone is just focused on their job,” Bottas concluded.
Leave a Reply