Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur says he will build a team around Valtteri Bottas when he joins the Swiss team next year because the Finn would be the team leader. Valtteri Bottas will join Alfa Romeo, in a multi-year contract starting in 2022, after he and Lewis Hamilton brought Mercedes four consecutive design championships, and perhaps even a fifth at the end of 2021.
In an exclusive interview, Vasseur put forward various reasons for the team to sign Valtteri Bottas, making sure he clearly expects the Finnish driver to take Alfa Romeo into a new era. "If you look at the last three or four seasons, Valtteri has always been on the podium," says Vasseur.
“He has shown compared to Lewis (Hamilton) that he has great potential in terms of pace. He was always very close with Lewis in qualifying. "
Vasseur believes that speed is not a crucial factor, that a Finn can provide a lot for that, and that his leadership can be a key factor in winning as many points as possible.
"First of all, because it's not an absolute advantage for me - speed - I think Valtteri is looking for a project in which he could be a leader. We are looking for a leader for the next few years. We can build a project around Valtteri, "he added.
"If you look at the last 25 years in Formula 1, all good projects are built around drivers - always. You have Renault with (Fernando) Alonso, Red Bull with (Sebastian) Vettel, Schumi (Michael Schumacher) with Ferrari and Lewis with Mercedes.
" "We have to build a project around someone and I'm completely convinced that Valtteri could be that (driver)." Vasseur added that the multi-year contract Alfa Romeo signed with Bottas was beneficial for both parties.
Bottas has mentioned many times that a long-term contract is what he wants, and that his goal is to join a team that can offer him something like that. Alfa Romeo was that team, and now Bottas can finally do his best, and try to achieve the best possible result without any excuse "I think we were looking for something similar on both sides," explains Vasseur.
"Valtteri was looking for some kind of stability. It's not a matter of being in a comfort zone, it's just being able to have a long-term commitment. " "We asked for the same thing, because we know that the next (change of regulations) is a great opportunity for us," said Frederic Vasseur.