Alfa Romeo looking to use Leclerc as model for Bottas

Valtteri Bottas has joined Alfa Romeo after five years with serial Constructors' Champions Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc in Formula 1 in 2021.v1

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur says he is looking to take a similar approach to new signing Valtteri Bottas as he did with Charles Leclerc in 2018.

Vasseur worked with Bottas when the Finn won the GP3 Championship with ART in 2011, before Leclerc achieved the same feat with the team five years later.

The Frenchman founded ART in 2004, and was also part of the ASM Formula 3 Euro series set-up that helped nurture talents such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and the late Jules Bianchi.

READ: Bottas confirms he had ‘no active role’ in picking team-mate

Vasseur would then work with Leclerc once more in the Monegasque’s debut Formula 1 season with Sauber four years ago, and he is aiming to draw on his past experience with the now-Ferrari driver to kindle a positive working relationship with the already acquainted Bottas.

“It’s important to have a good personal relationship, full trust, and a good understanding of the other,” Vasseur told

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Mercedes racer Valtteri Bottas in an FIA presser.v1

“I saw it with Charles in the past: when you work together in the junior series, you know the guy for a long, long time. You don’t need to speak too much to understand what he is expecting.”

There are more races in F1 than there are in the junior categories and, due to the pinnacle of motorsport being so intense, the 53-year-old recognises he will be spending a lot more time with the former Mercedes driver than he did 11 years ago.

“The relationship that you can build in the junior series is completely different to the relationship in F1. We are much more in contact,” he explained.

Article continues below

“When you want to find positive factors in the junior series, you can always find them.”

Bottas spent five seasons with Mercedes and managed to out-qualify team-mate and seven-time champion Hamilton on 28 occasions.

Vasseur maintains that on his day, Bottas is one of the quickest on the grid.

“But I think your summary was a good one. When everything is perfect, he’s able to be flying. He went faster than Lewis in some weekends,” he affirmed.

READ: Bottas explains why he turned down Williams for Alfa Romeo

“He did some mega good events on the last part of the season [in 2021]. Also perhaps the fact that we signed and he has a new project, he was a bit more relaxed. I hope that it helped him.”

Bottas won 10 races with the Mercedes team he signed for in 2017, and helped guide the German manufacturer to five of their record eight straight Constructors’ Championship successes.

He has managed 67 podiums in his career, including nine for Williams between 2014 and 2016.

Follow us on Google News to never miss an F1 story