Valtteri Bottas has revealed another team approached him after he had signed for Alfa Romeo – but offered him only half as much money!
The Finn’s exit from Mercedes was announced in early September, between the Dutch and Italian Grands Prix, with George Russell confirmed as his successor the following day.
It came as no surprise that coinciding with the statement of his departure after five years at Mercedes was news that Bottas was joining Alfa Romeo, with whom he had been strongly linked in the weeks beforehand.
But if another team had their way, there could have been another twist in the tale – because the approach from the Swiss-based outfit was not the last one received by the 32-year-old.
Speaking in Supla.fi’s ‘Direct Talk About Me’ podcast, and quoted by Iltalehti.fi, Bottas would not say which team had contacted him but that it was one who had done slightly better than Alfa Romeo in recent years.
Not that he was interested, especially given the salary that was on the table.
“Like, two days after I signed with Alfa, I got a call saying ‘we want you and we can pay half what Alfa pays’,” revealed Bottas.
“I said, you’re a bit late now.
“I’m still happy with this option. I think it will be a good one.”
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) December 6, 2021
Bottas is likely to leave Mercedes having won five straight Constructors’ Championships, for they are 28 points ahead of Red Bull with one race of the 2021 season remaining.
However, he has missed out on his ultimate aim of beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the Drivers’ title, and it will require a huge improvement from Alfa Romeo under the new F1 regulations for that goal to be fulfilled during the three-year contract he has signed.
“Of course, my own main ambition didn’t come true,” said Bottas. “I tried my best. It was certainly not a stroke of luck, but it was also very difficult to beat a team-mate who is probably the best in the history of F1.
“There are things to be proud of here. Maybe in hindsight you appreciate them even more. It could have been worse.”
But at least Bottas will be leaving what he described as “quite a pressure chamber” of an environment at Mercedes to take on the role of team leader at Alfa Romeo alongside rookie Guanyu Zhou.
“I expect less pressure, even though I’m sure I’ll get more responsibility,” he added.
“A lot of work has to be done to get the team to a higher level.”
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