Valtteri Bottas believes that some of the problems Alfa Romeo faced in pre-season testing affected the mood in the team, noting this as a big difference from his previous team, Mercedes. Following a five-year stint at the Mercedes squad, Bottas made the switch to Alfa Romeo at the start of the year. The 10-time Grand Prix winner has admitted to enjoying the stability of a multi-year deal, as well as number one status within the team, having scored 46 of the team's 51 points this season. When asked about the differences he's noticed between championship-challengers Mercedes and midfielders Alfa Romeo (who are operated by Sauber Motorsports), he believed that the competitive nature of the Swiss-based operation made them comparable to Mercedes, despite their pre-season testing struggles. "It's different, but not that different. Sauber is a real racing team. Similar to Williams before my Mercedes days," Bottas told Auto Motor Und Sport . "The team is smaller than Mercedes, of course, but everyone is fully committed because they love motorsport and want to see success. "The biggest change I experienced was between the tests and the first race. We started the tests with a lot of problems. That pulled some of the team down mentally. "When we scored the first points, the mood changed completely. The guys saw that something is possible this year. "Okay, we're not racing for wins, but for the best possible result. In that respect, Sauber is not so different from Mercedes."
Bottas: Alfa Romeo's rival team varies race-to-race
Bottas' switch to Alfa Romeo means that he is competing in a predominantly 'midfield' team for the first time since driving for Williams in 2016. During his time at Williams, the Finn was battling towards the front of the midfield battle, and has enjoyed some minor victories in a similarly-competitive Alfa Romeo. He has a best finish of fifth in 2022, and had been aiming to regularly compete with McLaren and Alpine for P4 in the Constructors' Championship. When asked about the differences between this season and his previous stint in a midfield car, Bottas highlighted the need to regularly focus on more than one team. "In the midfield, of course, there's a lot more going on. You have more opponents, and everything is unpredictable," explained Bottas. "The performance of the individual teams varies a lot from race to race. You never know who you're going to be up against next time. "There is always action in the race. The strategy is not so clear either, because you have to react to many opponents. "It's much easier to make up time or to lose time. You have to keep your eyes open much more and consider more possibilities."