Speaking ahead of last weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix, Bottas revealed those diversions have enabled him to approach each F1 round more refreshed than he did previously, which he hopes will prolong his career in the sport.
“For me, when I come to races, I’m always fresh mentally, and I’m always really keen to get back into it,” he said. “So I think yeah, if your life is 24/7 F1, nothing else, then it becomes a bit of a grind.
“But I feel at least for me, it works that once I allow myself to kind of disconnect for some time, and then come back again. I feel like I have more battery reserves. I feel like that’s a more sustainable way of extending your career, that you didn’t really need to learn to disconnect.”
When asked what it was specifically about the Hinwil-based squad that puts him at ease, Bottas contemplated: “I think it’s just obviously when you change the team the whole environment changes, it’s new people, it’s different culture also so from the different country the team is from.
“For sure there’s always extra pressure when you’re fighting for the world titles. No doubt, for sure that makes an effect. Obviously, it’s a smaller team as well than where I was before. There are certain elements like that. But also from my side I’ve grown so much from the past.”
Bottas is under no illusions, however, that the team will immediately become more corporate once Audi increases its involvement ahead of its maiden F1 venture
But the Finn doesn’t view the German marque’s arrival as a problem, providing he is allowed to pursue his hobbies outside of F1 and its presence brings an upturn in results.
“No doubt it will get more corporate with a big brand coming in. But if that brings results, then I don’t mind,” Bottas acknowledged. “Just change a bit of the team culture and the free atmosphere for [the] more competitive part.
“I don’t feel like I need to change myself. I am who I am. And I want to be who I am always. But yeah, of course with let’s say a bigger company some things that I share in social media, I might have to do a second thought on things, you know, but that’s okay.
“As long as I can still have my fun, which I believe is good for me. That’s the main thing.”
Amid the impending arrival of another huge automotive name into F1, there has been plenty of speculation surrounding which drivers Audi will look to attract.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has been the name most notably linked, with the Spaniard’s future not finalised beyond the end of next season.
Having previously conceded his ambitions remain to stick with the team as it embarks on a new phase, Bottas has addressed that talks about his plans for 2026 won’t take place until next year at the earliest.
“We haven’t still spoken about ’26,” Bottas disclosed. “I think those discussions are probably going to be had next year. So I think naturally, when nothing is confirmed for some years after, there is always speculation, so let’s see. It’s still a bit early for anyone to commit to ’26.”
Bottas’ arrival at Alfa Romeo last year coincided with the Italian marque reversing its fortunes from previous years, scoring 55 points across the first 10 rounds.
However, Alfa Romeo only amassed a further four points in the remaining 12 rounds of 2022 – a run that has continued into 2023, with the side languishing in ninth place in the standings on just nine points.
Nevertheless, Bottas, a 10-time F1 race winner, is hopeful that Audi transforming the team into a manufacturer entry will enable him to compete for victories again in the future.
Questioned on how his mindset has adapted since departing the eight-time Constructors’ Champions Mercedes to scrapping for minor points with Alfa Romeo, Bottas said: “For sure, I had to change many, many goals, which on the other hand, it’s not fun, when you’re not fighting for the wins anymore, like that, this sport is way more fun when you’re performing and when you’re up there. That’s how it goes, you enjoy more.
“But now the goal is longer term. The motivation is to get eventually back up there, podiums, hopefully wins one day. So that’s now the motivation, that’s the drive now, why I want to work with the team and why I went to drive the best I can.
“And so now it’s longer term, almost like trying to see that light at the end of the tunnel. And push for that.”
Pressed on whether he could see that promise developing, he stated: “Absolutely. All the exciting stuff that is happening to this team in the near future.”