Finnish driver Valteri Botas, 32, is leaving Mercedes to join the Alfa Romeo in 2022, with a “multi-year contract,” the Formula 1 team said in a statement on Monday, which could predict the news for weeks.
It will officially follow in the footsteps of seven-time world champion Louis Hamilton’s future teammate Williams from Britain’s George Russell, 23, in place of the Silver Arrows.
In Alfa Romeo, Botas will succeed his compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, who will retire at the end of 2021 at the age of 42 with a leadership role.
“The potential of the Hinville plant [en Suisse, où est basée sa future écurie, NDLR] It is clear, and I enjoy the opportunity to help move the team forward on the grid, especially with the new regulation in 2022, which will give it a chance to move forward in performance, ”the person concerned said in a press release.
“I’m thankful for the confidence the team has placed in me and I can not wait to give it back: I want to score more runs than ever before to get better results and win when the time comes.”
“He’s the right driver to make progress on the front of the Alfa Romeo grid,” said Fred Wasser, a future manager who has already coached Botas in the lower divisions of F3 and GP3.
The transfer marks the beginning of a technological revolution in the F1, with the newest single-seater to be on track from next year.
Valteri Botas arrived at Premier Motorsport at Williams in 2013, before being promoted to Mercedes in 2017, following the surprise retirement of German world champion Nico Rosberg.
With the German team, Finn won 9 races with 63 podiums, signed 17 pole positions and won 4 constructor titles. Second in the Drivers’ Championship in 2019 and 2020, he could not worry Hamilton.
In 2017 he won the title at GP3 and in 2018 at F2, Russell was, at the same time, part of Mercedes’ young drivers. He has been racing at F1 in Williams since 2019 and signed on the podium in Belgium last week (2E), The safety was reduced to a few laps behind the car due to rain at the end of the race.
In 2020, he qualified for the Zakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, replacing Hamilton – who was declared positive for Kovid-19 – in the 2nd.E He loses his victory before seeing a series of misdeeds (he finally finishes 9thE).