Valtteri Bottas leaving Mercedes after 2021 season was 'good' for him - Toto Wolff

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Toto Wolff feels Bottas leaving the tense atmostphere at Mercedes was good for him.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reckons Valtteri Bottas leaving the team for Alfa Romeo was the best thing for him.

The Finnish driver was with Mercedes from 2017 to 2021 before he was replaced by George Russell for this season. During his stay with the German team, Bottas did not provide much of a challenge to teammate Lewis Hamilton and had to settle for the 'wingman' role in the team.

Talking to Channel 4, Wolff said that Bottas left for Alfa Romeo, away from the 'pressure cooker' scenario at Mercedes. He said:

"I think that it was also a good moment for Valtteri to leave the team because the pressure was enormous on him. He didn't want to be a wingman, and I think having released him from that pressure, now he's racing completely different at Alfa Romeo. He seems also happier for me, rather than this pressure cooker at Mercedes."

The Mercedes boss added that he always wanted George Russell at Mercedes for the 2022 season, but he delayed things till Bottas got the confirmation at Alfa Romeo. He said:

Wet Sunday 🇯🇵🏁No points today, but it motivates us even more to score in the next races. I’m glad all the drivers survived today, alive &…#VB77 #F1 #JapaneseGP
"For myself, I knew pretty early that I wanted to have George in the car. But I didn't commit to George before I knew that Valtteri had found a good place. I didn't communicate to anybody outside, because that is the respect I have for people that that I care about."

He added:

"When Valtteri's deal was done over August, over the break period, I went back to George and told him: 'You're in, we want you to be in the car,' knowing that Valtteri had his place. And I said to George, because obviously it was a long period for him to wait. I said: 'I will do the same for you', and that I think he understood."

Russell (207) has outperformed his illustrious teammate Hamilton (167) this season. The younger Briton occupies fourth place in the driver standings ahead of this weekend's US GP in Austin.

You sit in a car that is on steroids - Mercedes boss

Toto Wolff was also asked about Red Bull's cost cap breach and whether champion Max Verstappen too deserves a sanction.

Wolff was non-committal on that front, saying the drivers do not make those decisions, but they're on a car that's 'on steroids'. He said:

#F1: Zak Brown wrote a letter to Ben Sulayem (FIA) and Stefano Domenicalli (F1) and asked for heavy sanctions for teams in breach of the cost cap:“We don't feel a financial penalty alone would be a suitable penalty for an overspend breach or a serious procedural breach.”
“I tell you, I don’t want to be in the shoes of the judges to judge on that. Drivers are driving their guts out in order to be on top. There are decisions that the team takes that they are not involved in. But still, in the end, you sit in a car that is made on steroids. It’s such a tough call, and I wouldn’t want to make a judgement call."

He added:

“To be honest, my thinking isn’t so far, it’s more about the principle of how this is going to pan out in the future. How robust are these regulations? How are they being enforced and policed? How is the governance process going to run? Because we don’t know, when it goes to the adjudication panel, how the judges will decide, and then it is a learning by doing for all of us.”

Mercedes (387) will look for their first win of the season as they look to close the gap on Ferrari (454) with four races to go.

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Edited by Bhargav
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