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Bottas: Harder for young drivers to show real personality in F1

Valtteri Bottas thinks it has become harder for drivers to show their real personalities in Formula 1's business-first environment, but says he has now come to a point where he doesn't take himself too seriously.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo F1 Team

Bottas, who joined F1 in 2013 with Williams, too struggled to get his personality across during his early years, but after leaving the pressure cooker of Mercedes he has now opened up at Alfa Romeo.

The Finn has taken a more active approach to social media, has thrown himself at side hustles including gin and coffee brands, and has now also given a particularly revealing interview in GP Racing magazine, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Talking to the press at the Australian Grand Prix, Bottas says it has become easier for him to show who he really is.

"As a rookie I would have not come to the paddock with a tank top and flipflops, not even a few years back," he admitted.

"Now it's a bit easier. I don't take myself too seriously. Definitely times have changed but it is [part of] the sport when you're a rookie you've gone through the system and you're almost educated how to behave and so on.

"But then it seems there comes a some point in time when you say: "Deal with it."

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Bottas thinks F1's 'big business' approach has made it harder for young drivers over the past decade to show a light-hearted side, with drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris some of the few exceptions.

"It is tricky getting to Formula 1," the 33-year-old explained. "Sometimes it's difficult to see the real personalities on track.

"Obviously, once you get to know the drivers better outside the track then you can really see their personality. But the way you do the interviews, the way you behave with sponsors, it's usually pretty standard.

"Over the last 10 years there were some personalities like Daniel Ricciardo who really came up showing his personality. I think it's good to see but it is how it is because it's serious business and there's big companies and big money involved."

 

Bottas admitted his revealing GP Racing photoshoot wouldn't have been possible earlier in his career either. The wide-ranging magazine interview took place at January's Race of Champions in Sweden, where Bottas enjoying the light-hearted atmosphere and banter between some of the biggest names in world motorsport.

Bottas chipped in too, bringing over crates of his boutique Oath gin to entertain fellow drivers and guests.

When asked about the ample social media feedback on the cover piece, Bottas said he hadn't paid much attention to the public response, but was happy with how it turned out.

"I haven't heard about any reaction or I don't know what people said. I did the interview when I was in Sweden for the Race of Champions and I trusted they did a good job." 

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