Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur thinks Valtteri Bottas is ready to take on the responsible role within the team. As the leader of the team, the Finn will have to work with rookie Guanyu Zhou.
Bottas has never been the leading man before in his career. For example, Felipe Massa was the driver who pulled the cart during his Williams period. At Mercedes it was all about Lewis Hamilton and Bottas was important for the constructors’ championship, which was eventually also taken five years in a row.
Vasseur explains in an interview to GPFans at the end of the season how he sees it: “Of course you have a lot more responsibility as a team leader than if you are just in the team.” He takes the Mercedes team as an example: “In some years Lewis’ points alone were enough to take the constructors’ championship. It means when you start and you’re Lewis’s team-mate, you’re in the shadows. You don’t know what the expectation is.”
Still, the role of second driver doesn’t mean you can sit back: “Okay, you have to do your best, but you don’t have a huge responsibility. I think Valtteri is now at the stage of his career where he can do this.” He expects Bottas to lead the team: “If you see someone who is a little bit down ten weeks in a row, go after them and say, ‘Guys, wake up, let’s push.’ This position is crucial and Valtteri is ready to do those things.”