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Bottas reveals 2023 change that would be 'banned' at Mercedes

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed what change would have been 'banned' if he was still at Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas feels he can be "truly who I am" at Alfa Romeo, believing some of his personality was stifled during his time in Formula 1 at Mercedes. Finn Bottas left Mercedes at the end of 2021 for a fresh challenge at Alfa Romeo - and started his second season with the team with a strong eighth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix. More of Bottas' personality has been evident on social media during his time at Alfa, and has recently grown a mullet - even running a 'tribute' helmet to it during pre-season testing. And he feels that "company policies" are more relaxed at Alfa, allowing him to show more of his personality than during his five-year stint alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas on Alfa freedoms

"Now I feel like I can truly be who I am, for sure there's a bit of a difference," he told media, including RacingNews365.com , when asked if there had been a change in his personality since moving teams. "I think company policies might be a bit different in different workplaces let's say. "Some things might be a bit more restricted, but I think it's time and getting older as well, all the skills and learning F1 has given me, you eventually just learn sometimes not to take things too seriously, especially yourself. "I imagine I would not have been allowed [to grow the mullet at Mercedes], so that's one example." Bottas also pointed to the impact his partner, Australian Olympic cyclist Tiffany Cromwell has had on him. "She's an Aussie and a very spirit as a person that likes to live in the moment and do things that make her happy," he said. "She's the person who lives with me and so it's always a big impact, she's still trying to make me an Aussie and it's getting there step by step."

Bottas on Alfa future

At the end of the 2023 season, Alfa Romeo will end their title sponsorship of Sauber, with that name returning to the grid in 2024 and 2025 before Audi's entry the following year. Bottas has been touted as an ideal driver for Audi as it launches its first attack on Grand Prix racing, with the 10-time race winner not ruling out staying with Sauber through the transition. "Eventually we will have to speak about the future, we haven't properly yet," he said, with his current deal to set expire at the end of 2023. "Let's get these first few races out of the way and then we will see. It is not the time yet and things are pretty stable. "It's a different atmosphere for sure [compared to Mercedes]. "A big part of it is when you're fighting for the title, the pressure builds up and so on but it's a smaller team [at Alfa Romeo]. "But I think for me, probably one of the big things why I feel more relaxed is that the future is a bit more solid for the years to come, than what it was before (when Bottas was on one-year deals at Mercedes)."

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