Alfa Romeo Racing has announced the signing of Valtteri Bottas on a multi-year deal, which is set to begin with the upcoming 2022 season.
The Finnish driver will effectively replace his compatriot Kimi Raikonnen at the Italian outfit. A veteran of the sport, Raikonnen is set to close the curtains on a colourful Formula 1 career at the end of the current season.
Bottas is no stranger to the wheel either, and will be making a switch from the formidable Mercedes AMG Petronas team after a highly successful five seasons alongside teammate Lewis Hamilton and boss Toto Wolff.
Speaking on his teammate’s departure at the end of the season, Hamilton said “I’m immensely proud to have worked alongside Valtteri for the last five years… He (Bottas) has been the best teammate I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”
That is very high praise indeed, especially coming from a driver who has had the likes of Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg as teammates over the years.
Over his five seasons with the silver arrows, Bottas contributed to the winning of four constructors’ championships, having gained 51 podium finishes and nine grand prix victories in the process.
Speaking about his big move, Bottas said that “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… Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula 1 history and it’s going to be an honour to represent this marque.”
Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo leaves a free seat at Mercedes, and one that George Russell is almost certainly destined to claim. The announcement from Mercedes of Russell’s signing is expected in the coming hours or days.
Nine races remain in the current season, which has already provided a considerable amount of thrills. The next race will be a fast one, even by F1 standards, as the teams set their sights on a win in the sun at Monza for the 2021 Italian GP.