Valtteri Bottas has withdrawn from participating in this weekend's Race of Champions, which is being held in Sweden at a snow-covered Pite Havsbad.
The Alfa Romeo F1 driver was scheduled to participate in the Nations Cup competition on Saturday, teaming up with compatriot Mika Hakkinen as Team Finland targeted overall victory. He would then have been aiming for individual glory in the Race of Champions duels on Sunday.
Bottas took part in the preparatory tests during the week, which showed him having fun in the snow as the drivers took turns piloting some of the machines that will be used over the course of the weekend.
But, on Friday, Bottas was nowhere to be seen at the pre-event press conference as Hakkinen was joined by W Series driver Emma Kimilainen for Team Finland.
"Valtteri had commitments and a last-minute cancellation," Hakkinen confirmed on Bottas' behalf.
Hakkinen and Kimilainen will go up against Team GB during the quarter-finals of the Nations Cup, with Team GB fielding Hakkinen's former McLaren teammate David Coulthard and W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick.
Kimilainen thrilled to be teaming up with Hakkinen
Unsurprisingly, Kimilainen was thrilled to have the opportunity to race alongside Hakkinen – a hero of hers.
"He [Hakkinen] is my childhood hero," she beamed.
"His kids are turning eight today and I was remembering when I was their age, watching every Sunday when there was F1 [on], watching the racing.
"I could always remember Mika overtaking a couple of times around the outside, so watching him racing and now being here, it's an honour."
Hakkinen welcomed his new teammate, with the 1998 and 1999 F1 World Champion labelling her call-up from being a Race of Champions reserve as "brilliant".
"I think it's really great. I'm happy to have Emma," he said.
"I've been following her development in W Series and her career, and we had a really good chat yesterday after her driving, so we have a good team!"
RacingNews365.com has reached out to the Race of Champions for further comment.
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