Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed as switching to Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season, leaving George Russell free to take his place at Mercedes.
The news came as no surprise with speculation building over the last few weeks that the Finn was likely to be eased out at Mercedes to make way for Russell to join Lewis Hamilton in an all-Britsh line-up.
The 32-year-old’s path to Alfa Romeo opened up when Kimi Raikkonen announced last week he will be retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
Bottas’ contract was described as being “for 2022 and beyond”, therefore a multi-year deal – something he said last week he wanted in the immediate future – in a press release issued by the Swiss-based team.
Welcome to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, VB77! 👋🏻 pic.twitter.com/ZW9VoRRJif
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) September 6, 2021
“A new chapter is my racing career is opening: I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022 and beyond for what will be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer,” said the nine-time Formula 1 race winner.
“Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula 1 history and it will be an honour to represent this marque.
“The potential of the set-up in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.
“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith. I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and when the time comes, for wins.
“I know Fred [Vasseur, team principal] well and I am looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team I will be working with, building relationships as strong as the ones I have at Mercedes.
“I am proud of what I have achieved at Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another World Championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year.”
Kiitos 💙 @ValtteriBottas will join Alfa Romeo Racing next season pic.twitter.com/lD79WWzUkR
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 6, 2021
Vasseur added: “It is a pleasure to welcome Valtteri to the team and we are looking forward to our journey together.
“With him, we bring to Hinwil a strong team player with experience at the sharp end of the grid.
“Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four Constructors’ world titles to his name. He is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN make a step forward towards the front of the grid.
“Our relationship goes back a long way to when we worked together in successful campaigns in F3 and GP3 and his talent and skills have been evident ever since, only growing with time.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team.
“The multi-year deal bringing him to us gives both Valtteri and the team the stability we need to build our project at a crucial time for Formula 1.
“We are excited for what the future holds in store.”
Bottas’ team-mate at Alfa Romeo next year remains uncertain, with Antonio Giovinazzi saying he expects to be told by the end of next month whether or not he will be retained.
Another driver affiliated to Mercedes, Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, has been linked with taking the Italian’s seat.
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