Valtteri Bottas is showing how valuable an asset he is to Alfa Romeo now that he’s out of Lewis Hamilton’s shadow, according to team principal Frederic Vasseur.
The Finn joined Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 season after being paired with Hamilton for five seasons at Mercedes, helping the team win the constructors’ championship on each occasion. Hamilton was world champion in four of those five years, but after seeing Bottas score points in two of the first three races at his new team, Vasseur says the decision to sign the Finn has proven to be a good one.
“I don’t know if I have to be surprised or not,” Vasseur said. “If you have a look at the last couple of years, he did a very good job in terms of pure performance. He was always in the shadow of Lewis, but I think everybody would be in the shadow of Lewis, and that what we discussed, during the last season, was to take a different position, different role, to be the leader of the team.
“I was convinced that he will be able to do it, and he’s doing a great job. I’m not (only) speaking about when he’s in the car, but at the factory, with the engineers. He’s showing the path for the development, for the right way to improve the car, how to improve the team on every single detail. For sure, he’s coming from Mercedes with huge experience, and this is helping us a lot.”
Bottas has joined a more competitive Alfa Romeo than in recent years, something Vasseur says is helping improve the atmosphere within the team.
“Part of the motivation as a racing team is coming from the results,” he said. “And it’s working on both sides and that means that when you start to struggle, it’s more difficult. But honestly, I think that for us, we put a lot of energy over the last 18 months, when we decided to stop the 2021 project at the end of 2020. And that it was crucial for the company and for the team to be successful, or to achieve that and to improve.
“I think it’s a good step forward that now everybody is much more motivated, much more focused. And we know that every single detail will pay, because each time that we are fighting for hundredths, with big teams, and for this, regarding the job done at the factory, it’s a great achievement for everybody.”