Frederic Vasseur backed Valtteri Bottas to step out of Lewis Hamilton’s shadow and lead new team Alfa Romeo to glory.
Alfa Romeo signed Bottas from Mercedes for 2022. He left the German team after a five years spell, winning ten races and being a key cog of five constructors’ championships.
At Mercedes, although he was very important, he was always viewed as a secondary driver to Hamilton. The seven-time world champion is one of the greatest of all time, and was rightfully treated as the talisman of the team.
That means we are yet to see the Finn operate in a primary role since his days at Williams Racing. However, Vasseur backed Bottas to step out of Hamilton’s shadow and operate as the team’s main man.
As quoted by GP Fans, the Alfa Romeo team principal said, “We have a long-term relationship. He drove for me 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, something like this.
“We stayed in touch because I’m close to the family also over the last 15 years, but I was crystal clear, and he is clever enough to understand that we can’t offer the same things that Mercedes is putting on the table.
“To fight for pole position in Bahrain, it’s not the topic at all. For sure, it’s always a target to do a good job, but the most important, I think, for him at the stage of his career is also to be in the centre of the team.
“It’s not an offence to Mercedes that he was always in the shadow of Lewis, but when you are in Mercedes, you are in the shadow of Lewis,” he said.
The ingredients are there
“Valtteri is coming with his own mega experience of the F1 with the speed that I think from the second part of the season, he showed a very strong pace,” he continued.
“Also, probably because he has a clear view of what he wants to do in the future and he’s probably more relaxed and that, I hope that we’ll be able to develop something like this.
“I’m quite confident because I know him pretty well and we’re on the same page on this.”