Alfa Romeo move a chance for Bottas to emerge from Hamilton’s shadow, says Vasseur
Valtteri Bottas’s future boss Fred Vasseur says the Finn will have the responsibility of leading Alfa Romeo forward as he will no longer “be in the shadow” of Lewis Hamilton when he joins the Swiss outfit next season.
Bottas has signed a multi-year deal with Alfa Romeo, reuniting with Vasseur, with whom he spent three years with at ART in F3 and GP3, ending what will be a five-year stay at Mercedes, where he has so far won nine races and contributed to four constructors’ titles.
Vasseur reckons the new environment at Alfa Romeo will help Bottas excel and shift the tag of being known as seven-time world champion Hamilton’s team mate.
“They won eight championships (four drivers for Hamilton and four constructors’) together,” Vasseur told F1.com. “He was always known as Lewis’ team mate. The new chapter with us is that he has to become the leader. I don’t want to have a situation of number one and number two but at least he won’t be in the shadow of someone.
“He has to take the responsibility of the team on his shoulders. It could be a new chapter and I hope perhaps he will also benefit from this environment.”
Vasseur, who had at least one vacancy to fill after Kimi Raikkonen announced his retirement at the end of the season, believes Bottas – who has stood on the podium 63 times in 169 attempts – has the attributes to help Alfa Romeo make steps up the grid.
“I know the guy is dedicated,” he says. “I know he is more than professional. The speed is there. If you compare with Lewis, he is the closest guy of Lewis. And Lewis is an absolute reference for me. Altogether, I think he is the perfect package for us.”