What makes Valtteri Bottas unfit for Mercedes, but tailor made for Alfa?

It has happened, Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes at the end of the 2021 season, pulling the curtain on a pairing that has delivered 4 Constructors’ Championships so far. The prevailing feeling was that this move was expected for a while. Bottas was indeed the Number 2 at Mercedes. Yet, there is one defining characteristic that makes him unfit for Mercedes today, but makes him seemingly bespoke for Alfa Romeo right now.

Peace time vs War time: Differing needs

Historically, there have been two types of generals – ones that have prevailed in situations of war and others better at maintaining peace. What one needs in ‘war time’ from a leader is far different that when waters are calm.

In 2017, Mercedes were fresh off a civil war, needing a ‘peace time’ driver to calm the waters, someone more docile, who can take emotion out of hard decisions. That was Valtteri Bottas, the right piece of the jigsaw, for the time when the threats were largely internal.

That said, the threats in 2021 are now external for Mercedes. Today, they need fire, not ice, to help them beat RBR and who knows which team in 2022. Two ‘#1’ level drivers never work out for too long, yes. This one is necessary though. Never have Mercedes needed two mavericks in the team more than 2022.

Why Alfa Romeo need Valtteri Bottas

Which brings us to Alfa Romeo, a midfield team which needs experienced, level-headed ‘peace time’ drivers, who won’t take things too emotionally. They may not extract as much raw pace from the car, but they may consistently deliver a strong baseline.

Alfa Romeo needed some ice in their line-up, leaving little wonder why they went for the ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen himself. With him gone, Bottas’ calmness and mostly emotionless demeanour makes him the right fit for being the Alfa Romeo team leader for the coming years.

A new chapter begins: Bottas the team leader

He may always be tagged as second best, and never good enough. You must remember that he was like the fast bowler bowling the long spells to keep the wicket-taking one ready. He was like the defensive midfielder freeing up the creative attacking midfielder from defending. When times go bad, these drivers will be the first ones picked on. However, they were brought in for a purpose which they fulfilled effectively.

He might be forgettable, but Bottas was the solid driver Mercedes needed for a specific time. How well will he function in this new atmosphere as the dependable team leader? Exciting times lie ahead for Bottas, Alfa Romeo and Mercedes too!

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More on Formula 1 by Soumil Arora: https://www.soumilarora.com/