Prior to the start of the 2021 Dutch GP, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas had said that he was looking for a multi-year agreement as his next step in Formula 1. That this would precisely be the main priority for the next course of his journey in the top flight of F1. And guess what? At the conclusion of the mega contest at Zandvoort, Valtteri Bottas had got precisely that.
In signing a multi-year agreement with Alfa Romeo, the famous Hinwill-based outfit, Valtteri’s immediate Formula 1 future is secure and one can say with a fair bit of confidence that until something drastically strange happens, the noted Finn isn’t going anywhere.
Now while on the face of it, it seems a great development, especially from the view point of a driver who has been consistent, but if one were to delve a bit deep, then the Alfa Romeo and Bottas pairing may not exactly turn out to be stupendous.
Well, that’s unless the Ferrari-powered team produces a cracker of a machine in 2022, the year where F1 unfurls a new line up of changes, initiated deliberately to make the world’s fastest form of single-seater racing a level playing field.
That being said, Bottas’s fans may read his departure from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo as a demotion in some ways where his F1 racing journey is concerned. But then, they must also take heart from the fact that the very driver who had at his disposal the fastest car, especially in the 2017, 2018 and 2020 seasons, failed to lift a single world title.
Moreover, that he’s already 32 and will by the start of the next season, no longer have incredible machinery that can enable him to go places makes the task to claim a title even more difficult.
That’s unless Alfa Romeo and Ferrari produce a miraculously mind-boggling machine for the 2022 world championship.
So essentially speaking, what Bottas has for the next year is a backmarker, which by way of engineering output and design stands the chance to be a midfielder, much like the car Alfa Romeo fielded for the 2019 world championship season.
Bottas has collected 54 podium finishes in his Mercedes journey
Remember, it was an Alfa Romeo, driving which Kimi Raikkonen reached P4 at the 2019 Interlagos-bound Brazilian GP, stunning both critics and fans in the process.
But more on Kimi’s noted compatriot.
To his credit, Bottas, who collected no fewer than 54 podiums in his Mercedes journey, has long remained a loyal and devoted driver.
His presence alongside Lewis Hamilton was subjected to both praise and brickbats. The positive outcome being he was ready to do everything for the cause of the team and their lunge at taking the Constructor Championships.
But, it could be said, in the process of doing so, Bottas also came to be known as ‘second-fiddle’ to Lewis, or in other words- the “Wingman!”
Memes and unfriendly social media banter took a far uglier route for the talented Finnish racer, going as far as labeling Valtteri as nothing more than another Massa-like or Barichello-like driver, disrespecting in the process, drivers who made it as far as Formula 1, which is never a mean feat in the first place.
Coincidentally, while both Massa and Rubens, both hailing from Brazil, collected only 11 race wins in what were very long careers, Bottas, on the other hand, has already conjured a win tally of 9 wins, from 169 race starts having arrived at Mercedes in 2017.
So how far can Valtteri reach in his ambition of becoming a Formula 1 world champion may be down to a collection of lot many things? But one of these would be the pedigree of the 2022 race car aligned to a fairly quick driver noted for his incredible wins in Russia and Austria, to name a few from the recent past.
I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022: Bottas
Meanwhile, here’s what Bottas had to say on his Alfa Romeo move that have a vacant seat in the wake of Raikkonen’s retirement at the end of the 2021 season:
“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,” said Bottas.
That said, what must be duly noted is that, Valtteri will definitely bring in the vital experience to a team that needs someone to lead the charge for one of the sport's most historic and iconic outfits.
The Nastola-born Finn provides just that given the experience of 170 race entries and 63 podiums.
But can he make wonders from a team that, in the recent past, has seen the likes of Williams beat it fair and square?
We shall have to wait and see, for the quintessential F1 saying is- you never know what might happen the very next lap, so how can we be a soothsayer at this time?
Though, purely from a career-saving point of view, it'll be good to see Bottas, a committed team-man, hanging around the sport for longer than one thought.