After preseason testing, according to Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes began to diverge significantly.
Valtteri Bottas notes that this is a significant departure from his last team, Mercedes, and thinks that some of the issues Alfa Romeo encountered during preseason testing impacted the team’s mindset.
Bottas joined Alfa Romeo at the beginning of the year after spending five years with the Mercedes team.
The 10-time Grand Prix champion, who has scored 46 of the team’s 51 points this season, has acknowledged that he appreciates the security of a multi-year contract and his top-ranking position within the squad.
When questioned about the distinctions between championship-challenger Mercedes and midfielders Alfa Romeo (who are controlled by Sauber Motorsports), he thought that the competitive attitude of the Swiss-based operation made them equivalent to Mercedes, despite their troubles in preseason testing.
“It’s different, but not that different. Sauber is a real racing team. Similar to Williams before my Mercedes days,” Bottas told Auto Motor Und Sport.
“The team is smaller than Mercedes, of course, but everyone is fully committed because they love motorsport and want to see success.
“The biggest change I experienced was between the tests and the first race. We started the tests with a lot of problems. That pulled some of the team down mentally.
“When we scored the first points, the mood changed completely. The guys saw that something is possible this year.
“Okay, we’re not racing for wins, but for the best possible result. In that respect, Sauber is not so different from Mercedes.”
Bottas: Alfa Romeo’s rival team varies race-to-race
Bottas is racing on a squad that is primarily in the “midfield” for the first time since he drove for Williams in 2016 thanks to his move to Alfa Romeo.
The Finn has won a few minor races in a competitive Alfa Romeo while competing for Williams, where he was fighting to the front of the midfield struggle.
His finest performance was in fifth place in 2022, and he had hoped to frequently challenge McLaren and Alpine for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.
In response to a question concerning the distinctions between this season and his prior time driving a midfield car, Bottas emphasised the necessity of regularly concentrating on more than one team.
“In the midfield, of course, there’s a lot more going on. You have more opponents, and everything is unpredictable,” explained Bottas.
“The performance of the individual teams varies a lot from race to race. You never know who you’re going to be up against next time.
“There is always action in the race. The strategy is not so clear either, because you have to react to many opponents.
“It’s much easier to make up time or to lose time. You have to keep your eyes open much more and consider more possibilities.”
Alfa Romeo, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Robert Kubica, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu