Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen took a dig at Mercedes, saying that their former driver Valtteri Bottas can now drive for a team that is eager to keep him.
Bottas departed Mercedes after five years with the team. He will join Alfa Romeo, and while the move makes little sense from a racing point of view, his sole gripe with the German team made it worth the switch.
At Mercedes, the Finn could never earn a multi-year contract. This meant that every season, his future at the team was on the line. Despite him managing to snag multiple extensions, it was always for a year only. When Alfa Romeo came calling with a multi-year deal, it was too good to let go.
Hakkinen thus took a dig at Mercedes, saying that his countryman left them for a team that actually valued his services.
“Valtteri is a great team player and driver,” the F1 legend told SuomiF1.
“He will drive for a great team. But he won’t be fighting for the same kind of positions compared to his Mercedes days.
“The teams’ resources are not comparable, but now he can prepare for the long term. With Mercedes’ one-year contracts, there was always light at the end of the tunnel but there was always a locked door waiting.”
Bottas signed a three-year deal with Alfa Romeo, which means he will be in F1 for the foreseeable future. Hakkinen explained the importance of sitting on a multi-year contract, saying they made drivers’ lives easier.
“That uncertainty eats away at confidence,” he said.
“He didn’t get the credit he wanted from Mercedes. If the rug is constantly pulled out from under you, it eats away at your confidence.
“Now Valtteri has the chance to drive in a team where he is trusted for the long term.”