F1: Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo in 2022

Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, 32, will leave Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo in 2022 « with a contract for several years, » the Formula 1 team said in a statement on Monday, as expected for a few weeks.

Must now follow the formalization of his replacement for the Silver Arrows by the Briton George Russell, 23, from Williams, future teammate of the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

At Alfa Romeo, Bottas will succeed his compatriot Kimi Räikkönen, who will retire at the end of 2021 at the age of 42, with a leadership role.

“The potential of the Hinwil factory (in Switzerland, where its future team is based, editor’s note) is clear and I am enjoying the opportunity to help advance the team on the grid, especially with a new regulation in 2022 which gives him a chance to take a leap forward in terms of performance, ”commented the person concerned in a press release.

« I’m grateful for the trust the team has placed in me and I can’t wait to give it back: I want to run more than ever to get good results and, when the time comes, to win. »

« He is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo progress towards the front of the grid, » said his future Team Principal Fred Vasseur, who has already coached Bottas in the lower categories, in F3 and GP3.

This transfer comes at the dawn of a technical revolution in F1, with brand new single-seaters on the track starting next year.

Bottas arrived in the premier class of motorsport in 2013 at Williams, before being promoted to Mercedes in 2017 to replace German world champion Nico Rosberg after his surprise retirement.

With the German team, the Finn with 63 podiums won 9 races, signed 17 pole positions and won 4 constructors’ titles. Second in the drivers’ championship in 2019 and 2020, he never managed to worry Hamilton.

Titled in GP3 in 2017 and then in F2 in 2018, Russell is part of the young drivers of Mercedes. He has been racing in F1 since 2019 at Williams and signed a podium in Belgium last week (2nd), after a race reduced to a few laps behind the safety car because of the rain.

In 2020, he was very convincing by replacing Hamilton, who was positive for Covid-19, during the GP of Sakhir, in Bahrain, qualifying in 2nd position before seeing a series of misadventures deprive him of victory (he will rank finally 9th).

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