Valtteri Bottas says his decision to move to Alfa Romeo for 2022 was chiefly driven by a desire for a fresh start and to try something new.
Before inking his deal with Alfa, Bottas also held talks with Williams, for whom he had previously driven between 2013 and 2016.
But instead of returning to familiar surroundings at Grove, the Finn elected to throw in his lot with Alfa, whose team boss Fred Vasseur had previously worked with Bottas in both F3 and GP3.
"One big reason is that I wanted something completely new," said Bottas in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.
"I think it would have been quite easy to go back to Williams, because there's still quite a few similar people and it would be maybe more comfortable, with similar facilities that I've worked at so many years.
"But I was quite convinced about everything that I heard from Fred, with the commitment from Alfa Romeo that we are going to be under the budget cap for the next three years, at least, and also how early they switched to the development of this car versus Williams.
"And knowing Fred well, that also made it easier."
Bottas feels "more power" at Alfa Romeo
Though Bottas' five years with Mercedes saw him win 10 Grands Prix and form part of a team that snared five consecutive Constructors' titles, he faced a perennially uncertain future at the Silver Arrows, with his seat secured only by a series of rolling one-year deals.
On occasion, Bottas also found himself on the receiving end of team orders that prioritised the progress of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the expense of his own race.
While Bottas is unlikely to be fighting for race wins at Alfa, he now at least has the security of a long-term contract, and with a rookie teammate in Guanyu Zhou, he is already relishing his new-found status as a team's number one driver.
"Since I signed with Alfa Romeo, it feels like a fresh start and a new beginning," said Bottas.
"All the days at the factory I've been working, it's been really enjoyable actually having a proper effect on things.
"When I say something, things happen, and it's like having a bit more power than [at Mercedes]. It's a good feeling."
How Bottas plans to help Alfa Romeo believe
In switching to Alfa, whose 2022 C42 challenger was officially unveiled on Sunday, Bottas is moving to an outfit that finished ninth of 10 teams in 2021, but he says his recent success has given him a sense of obligation to drive his new team further up the grid.
"The team has had a very rough couple of years, so it hurts your confidence and your motivation," said Bottas.
"So I feel a bit of responsibility to push the people a bit more and make them realise that a much better result is possible, so [it's about] trying to lift up the team and building the team together, that's a big thing for me.
"I learned quite a bit about teamwork at Mercedes, but also from Mercedes, there's many technical things that I can bring with the set-up and settings of the car.
"There's quite a few things that I've been able to introduce."
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