Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vasseur has praised Valtteri Bottas' abilities and work ethic on and off the track after the Finn's successful start to the F1 2022 season.
Bottas left the Mercedes team at the end of the last campaign following a five-year spell with the reigning Constructors' Champions and made the switch to Alfa Romeo.
His time at the Silver Arrows was effectively spent in a 'second driver' role to Lewis Hamilton, with his position at the team frequently the source of debate.
The transfer to the Hinwil-based outfit has given Bottas the opportunity to lead, with Alfa Romeo leaning on his experience to drive the team up the grid in the coming seasons.
The Finn made an impressive start to his career with the squad by scoring four times in five races, with only mechanical problems in Saudi Arabia denying him a clean sweep of points finishes.
Team boss Vasseur was quick to praise Bottas' performances in the car, but also emphasised the impact he had made on the staff back at the factory.
"He has done perfect job from the beginning of the season," Vassuer told media, including RacingNews365.com
"We had an issue at the start of the first race [where Bottas was slow at the start due to a mechanical problem], but that was just because we had a lack of mileage in winter [testing]. He's done a fantastic job in the car."
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Bottas "always thinking about the team"
"I think that the added value [of hiring Bottas] for the team is more outside of the car and back at the factory," Vasseur continued.
"It's the fact that he's always thinking about the team, and not about himself, and trying to get the best from the 500 people at the factory.
"It's each time that he's driving in the simulator, or is able to stay two hours more, to do a factory tour, department-by-department and to spend five minutes in each department to try to motivate the team. This is the non-visible part of the job.
"It's mega, because we are much smaller than the others [teams]. We probably have 250 [employees] less than Williams, for example, and we need to get the best from everybody.
"He is doing a fantastic job because he is convinced that you need to be part of the motivation [for the team]. Every time that he's coming to the factory he is going on stage and speaking to everybody.
"It's very difficult to put a value on this in lap time, but it's crucial because we have to be more reactive and more efficient, because we are smaller than the other teams. For me, it's an added value."
Bottas thriving under team leader role
Alfa Romeo currently lay in fifth place in the Constructors' Championship which, if they can hold on to over the course of the year, would be their best result since the 2008 campaign, when the team competed under the Sauber name.
Talking about the impact of momentum in a season, Vasseur thinks that Bottas' ability to encourage the crew at the factory could be integral to any future success.
"The most important thing is that they [staff] have to be convinced that they are part of the results, or you will lose staff if they feel that they have no influence on the results," Vasseur explained.
"This is the key of the success, and I think Valtteri is able to transmit to the message to all 500 people at the factory.
"I'm doing it each day but, as a boss, it's a bit different. The final motivation in a racing team, is not from the boss, it's from the driver and the car. When the driver is doing it, it's a mega difference."
Vasseur added that he believes Bottas' results have partly come down to the Finn stepping away from his 'number two' role at Mercedes.
"I don't want to make any comparisons with Mercedes, because they were World Champions seven times in a row, but he was always in the shadow of Lewis, and I was convinced that he would be a different guy when he became the team leader. I think that he's taking this direction."
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