After his departure from Mercedes was confirmed to him, Valtteri Bottas said that leaving Formula 1 had crossed his mind, but it was never seriously considered.
Mercedes picked George Russell to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2022 after a first half of the season that saw the two effectively compete against each other for the drive, which led to tense moments between the pair.
Team principal Toto Wolff made it his mission to secure Bottas another drive before the decision was officially announced, though, with Alfa Romeo being the Finn’s destination on a multi-year contract – the first time his future has been secured beyond the next year in his career, which he has previously said was a big factor behind the move.
With Alfa having finished ninth out of 10 in the Constructors’ Championship in 2021, he knows his priorities are likely to be different from next year, as he looks to build a team around him in his own right.
But because of the early decision by Mercedes, he spoke about how the time to prepare himself for his move has helped him.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) January 5, 2022
“Yes, for sure, I know going from a team that like I said, going to a race knowing that you have a chance to win a race, it’s going to be different next year, realistically,” Bottas told reporters, as per GPFans.
“Luckily, this change and with a new contract, nothing happened overnight, so I had actually quite a lot of time to process things and thinking about the difference in our roles.”
He won once in 2021 with a commanding victory in Turkey, but he largely lagged behind Lewis Hamilton in the season, particularly in race trim.
Given that trouble he had, Bottas admitted he had been wondering if another career path would have been better for him, but the 10-time grand prix winner said retirement was not a serious prospect for him.
“Of course, I also questioned myself, do I want this, or should I try doing something else?” He said.
“That was also one option, but I never seriously considered leaving Formula 1 because deep inside me, I still love Formula 1 and the competition and many things about it.
“Again, referring to this something new and a long-term project, that’s the motivation for me, to try and help the team the best I can, and I think it can be really rewarding if we achieve some good things.”