Mercedes and Alfa Romeo have confirmed that Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will leave the former at the end of the season and join the latter for 2022.
Bottas, 32, joined Mercedes in 2017 as a replacement for former world champion Nico Rosberg as Toto Wolff looked for a new team-mate for Lewis Hamilton.
As recently as July, Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, has defended his team-mate and said that he is the best partner he has ever had in the sport.
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But Bottas appeared consistently frustrated with Mercedes prioritising Hamilton over him and with his contract expiring it was no surprise to not see it renew.
He will now move to Alfa Romeo to take over from another former world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, with his compatriot announcing his retirement last week ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix. The team have said it will be a “multi-year deal.”
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It is widely expected that Mercedes will promote George Russell from Williams to drive alongside Hamilton in 2022.
“A new chapter in my racing career is opening: I’m excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer,” said Bottas about the move.
“Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula 1 history and it’s going to be an honour to represent this marque. The potential of the setup in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance.
“I’m grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I’m as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins. I know Fred [Vasseur] well and I am looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team I am going to work with, building relationships as strong as the ones I have at Mercedes.
“I am proud of what I have achieved in Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another world championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year.”
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