Motor racing: Valtteri Bottas leaving Mercedes to join Alfa on multi-year deal from 2022

Valtteri Bottas will be joining Alfa Romeo from Mercedes in a multi-year deal from 2022. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes and race for Alfa Romeo in a multi-year deal from 2022, the Swiss-based Formula One team said in a statement on Monday (Sept 6).

The move clears the way for George Russell to leave Williams and take his place alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in an all-British line-up.

There was no immediate word from Mercedes.

"A new chapter in my racing career is opening," said Bottas, a nine-time grand prix winner, who will replace retiring compatriot and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

"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."

Bottas, 32, joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 after the abrupt retirement of 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg and he said he was proud of what he had achieved alongside Hamilton.

Mercedes have won the last seven drivers' and constructors' championships.

Alfa boss Frederic Vasseur, who worked with Bottas in the junior series, said the Finn had shown he was a strong team player.

"Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four constructors' world titles to his name: he is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo Racing make a step forward towards the front of the grid," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.