Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur hopes to build the team around Valtteri Bottas when he arrives from Mercedes at the end of the year, pointing to several successful driver/team combinations.
Bottas will join Alfa Romeo on a multi-year deal from 2022, having contributed to four successive Constructors' world titles alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, with the fight ongoing for a fifth.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Vasseur discussed the reasons why Alfa Romeo signed Bottas and made clear that he is expecting the Finn to lead the team into a new era.
"If you have a look over the last three or four seasons, Valtteri was always on the podium of the championship," said Vasseur.
"He's shown compared to Lewis huge potential in terms of pace. He was always very close with Lewis in qualification.
"On top of this, because it's not the absolute preference for me, the speed, I think Valtteri is looking for a project where he could be the leader. We are looking for a leader for the next couple of years. I think that we can build a project around Valtteri.
"If you have a look at the last 25 years in F1, all the good projects were built up around a driver – always. You have Renault with [Fernando] Alonso, Red Bull with [Sebastian] Vettel, Schumi [Michael Schumacher] with Ferrari and Lewis with Mercedes.
"We need to build a project around someone and I'm fully convinced that Valtteri could be this one."
Vasseur added that signing Bottas on a multi-year deal was a good move for both parties.
"I think on both sides we were looking for something similar," added Vasseur.
"Valtteri was looking for a kind of stability. It's not a matter to be in a comfort zone, it's just to be able to have a long-term commitment.
"We were looking for the same thing, because we know that the next [regulation change] is a huge opportunity for us."
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