Valtteri Bottas, Honorary Australian, Weighs In On The New Generation Of Formula 1 Drivers
— Updated on 20 June 2023

Valtteri Bottas, Honorary Australian, Weighs In On The New Generation Of Formula 1 Drivers

— Updated on 20 June 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

For Valtteri Bottas, it all began with Australia.

While he’d score his first points as a Formula 1 debutante at the 2013 United States Grand Prix, the following year, Melbourne’s Albert Park was where the Finnish motorsport talent would demonstrate his true potential by securing P5 in the opening race.

It effectively set the tone for a season that’d eventually close with him as 4th-ranked in the driver’s standings right behind future Mercedes teammate Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, as well as our very own Daniel Ricciardo. To date, Valtteri Bottas has recorded a points finish for every Australian Grand Prix start bar his rookie season.

Since 2020, the 10-time grands prix winner has been in a committed relationship with Australian professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, which has clearly rubbed off on him. During the most recent off-season break, he unveiled quite an impressive mullet while adorned in Victoria Bitter apparel and sucking down an ice-cold longneck.

Valtteri Bottas Interview: A Chat With F1's Honorary Australian

So it should come as little to no surprise, then, to find the Alfa Romeo driver kicking back with homegrown royalty/all-round good bloke/fellow PUMA ambassador – Nedd Brockman – at the brand’s flagship store located in Chadstone ahead of the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix.

Nor should it be a surprise that he’d trek it to the regional Victorian town of Mooroopna to spotlight the Save The Children’s kindergarten, which provides a safe space for Indigenous kids; Bottas is set to auction one of two specially designed race helmets crafted by First Nations artist Ricky Kildea to fundraise for the school, having sustained significant damage from the 2022 floods.

This week, we had the distinct privilege of sitting down with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas for a quick chat – check it out below.

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Valtteri Bottas Interview (2023)

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 11: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 walks in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 11, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

You’ve grown a mullet, driven a V8 in Adelaide, your partner is Australian, and you’ve been known to enjoy a VB. My question is: when are you finally becoming an Aussie citizen? Or at the very least, moving out here full-time?

[Laughs] There are obviously a lot of connections, as you mentioned. Australia is a beautiful country and I’d love to get a second passport if they’d let me.

I think you’ve pretty much already passed the citizenship test at this point.

We’ll see.

Throughout your career, you’ve scored points in every Australian GP you’ve started in. How are you feeling ahead of this year’s?

We’ve scored in the first race of the season. In the second race of the season, we had an issue with the car. So if everything works out as planned – as we’ve hoped – with both cars in our team, I think we should be able to get some good points.

That is a good target and my personal target is to be Top 7 this year, because that would be good progress from last year’s performance. But yeah… I feel good. I definitely won’t be without the lack of support, because I feel like there’s a lot of support for me here and that’s going to help.

Can we expect a VB shooey at the finish line?

I’m not a big fan, actually, of the shooey. Because I know how much we sweat and even the boots get wet, so… look, I’m not going to promise anything on that front.

You’ve spoken quite a bit about how leaving Mercedes was a liberating change – the fresh start you needed – but obviously, you’re still an extremely competitive driver at heart. You’ve already partially covered this earlier, but what expectations do you have for both yourself and Alfa Romeo this season?

Yeah, it’s definitely different targets now then, say, what I had a couple years ago. But it’s more long-term targets that gives me motivation and that feeling. Still, the goal is to win again, that’s for sure. And that drives me.

For this year, overall, we want to be better than last year. So that means Top 5 in the constructors championship. For me personally, I want to be in a better place for the driver’s championship.

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This season, an entire class of rookies has started, i.e. Australia’s Oscar Piastri (McLaren Racing), Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri), Logan Sergeant (Williams Racing). Granted, it’s still very early and maybe even premature to ask, but as a veteran of the grid, what’s your assessment of this new generation?

It feels like nowadays, the younger drivers, how prepared they come to Formula 1 has changed.

I think the drivers already from an earlier age, they get prepared really well for the sport. They start go-karting even younger than before. They move up to junior Formula categories even younger than before. Also the modern simulator technology helps in terms of practice. So yeah… it is almost like in any sport, people can achieve their top level younger and younger. That’s how it goes.

There’s been no rookie, I feel, that doesn’t deserve to be in F1. I think everyone has performed well so far.

Now obviously, Albert Park is a favourite of yours given where it’s located, and later this year, you’ll be competing in Las Vegas for the very first time. But if you could add one race to the F1 calendar, where would it be?

Obviously the Finnish Grand Prix in Finland [Laughs.] would be good. That’s on my wishlist, definitely.

And finally, last year, you and Tiffany launched OATH Gin. Are there any plans to explore other types of alcohol? Perhaps another spirit or even an all-Australian beer?

I’m actually working on something. I don’t want to give too much away. Some other… in the form of liquid, again. I think maybe in August I might have some news.

No hints at all?

Ummm… [Extended pause.]. No, sorry [Laughs.].

Valtteri Bottas Interview: A Chat With F1's Honorary Australian

Now that you’ve read BH’s Valtteri Bottas interview, revisit the time we had lunch with Australia’s reigning UFC featherweight champ and former P4P king Alexander Volkanovski here.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]