The Critic's Corner.
    Points of Note in this article... Nine wins, 17 pole positions and 63 podiums are a strong introduction for Valtteri, World Championship runner-up in 2019 and 2020.
    OFFICIAL #F1 Report: Ferrari - Italy GP Friday Practice and Qualifying 10/09/2021 8:08pm
    2021 September 10
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    2021: Italian Grand Prix - Monza - F1 - 2021 - Monza - Italian Grand Prix

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    Alfa Romeo Racing: It all began with the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen... ;-)

    Hinwil, 6 September 2021 - Valtteri Bottas will join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for the 2022 season and beyond, the Finnish driver signing a multi-year deal with the Hinwil-based team. Bottas, a nine-time Grand Prix winner, joins the team as it embarks on the crucial transition to the new era of Formula One, with sweeping regulation changes providing a unique opportunity to move towards the front of the grid.

    Born in Nastola, Finland, on August 28th, 1989, Valtteri had a distinguished career in the junior formulas, becoming only the second driver to win both the Formula Renault Eurocup and the Formula Renault Northern European Cup in the same year, in 2008, and following this by winning the Masters of Formula 3 in both 2009 and 2010 - the first to achieve this double-triumph feat. A promotion to the GP3 Series saw Valtteri win four races and claim the title, demonstrating his readiness for the biggest stage of motorsport.

    Debut in Formula One duly took place in 2013, with Williams, where Valtteri emerged as one of the brightest talents in the sport, before a promotion to Mercedes for 2017. There, the Finn would play a crucial role in securing four constructors' titles, winning his first race in Sochi in 2017 and adding eight more first places to his tally, alongside a total of 54 podiums for the Brackley team.

    Nine wins, 17 pole positions and 63 podiums are a strong introduction for Valtteri, World Championship runner-up in 2019 and 2020. Next year will bring a new page for the talent from Nastola. Joining Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN will allow Valtteri to put his experience at the competitive end of Formula One to use as he helps the team move up the rankings. With new regulations providing a great reset in the sport, the opportunity is there for team and driver to write a new, successful story together.


    Welcome to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, VB77!

    Valtteri Bottas, driver: "A new chapter in my racing career is opening: I'm excited to join Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN for 2022 and beyond for what is going to be a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer. Alfa Romeo is a brand that needs no introduction, they have written some great pages of Formula One history and it's going to be an honour to represent this marque. The potential of the setup in Hinwil is clear and I am relishing the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid, especially with the new regulations in 2022 giving the team a chance to make a leap in performance. I'm grateful for the trust the team has put in me and I cannot wait to repay their faith: I'm as hungry as ever to race for results and, when the time comes, for wins. I know Fred [Vasseur] well and I am looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team I am going to work with, building relationships as strong as the ones I have at Mercedes. I am proud of what I have achieved in Brackley and I am fully focused on finishing the job as we fight for another world championship, but I am also looking forward to the new challenges that await me next year."


    Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal of Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN: "It is a pleasure to welcome Valtteri to the team and we are looking forward to our journey together. With him, we bring to Hinwil a strong team player with experience at the sharp end of the grid. Valtteri has been an integral part of a team that rewrote the history books and he has four constructors' world titles to his name: he is the right driver to help Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN make a step forward towards the front of the grid. Our relationship goes back a long way, to when we worked together in successful campaigns in F3 and GP3, and his talent and skills have been evident ever since, only growing with the time: I'm really looking forward to seeing him put his ability to work for the good of the team. The multi-year deal bringing him to us gives both Valtteri and the team the stability we need to build our project at a crucial time for Formula One: we are excited for what the future holds in store."

    AlphaTauri: DRIVER LINE-UP FOR 2022 SEASON

    Following what seems to be a successful season this year so far, with Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, in which the pairing have shown a positive working relationship on-and-off track, Scuderia AlphaTauri is pleased to announce that they will retain both drivers for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 season.

    Consistency and stability are crucial heading into the new era of F1, with the introduction of the 2022 regulations. The team believes that the current duo will be able to deliver good results, having already worked well together in 2021.

    Pierre has shown a very strong performance whilst undertaking a team leader role this season, having already achieved a podium finish and remaining within the top 10 in the drivers' standings. Meanwhile Yuki, who became the first Japanese driver to score points in their debut Formula 1 race, has stepped up to the new challenge and is continuing the steep learning curve during his rookie season.

    Focussing on the remainder of the 2021 season Scuderia AlphaTauri, who continues to be the only outfit to score points in every race so far, will focus on the tight battle for fifth position in the standings.


    Pierre Gasly commented: "I am very happy to be moving forward with Scuderia AlphaTauri for another season in Formula 1, especially after seeing the progress that we've made as a team since I first joined in 2017. Seeing the performance we've shown so far this season, I think there are great things to achieve for the rest of this season and for next year, especially with the upcoming changes to the championship in 2022. I'm very excited to see what we can accomplish in the new era of F1 and to keep working with the team as best as I can to bring us forward in the team standings. This year has been very successful so far and I really believe we can work well together to do even better in 2022."


    Yuki Tsunoda added: "I'm really excited to be staying with Scuderia AlphaTauri for a second season. It's an incredible opportunity and I'm so thankful to the team for letting me continue to grow my experience in Formula 1 with them. I have a very good relationship with Pierre, I have learnt a lot from him already this year and his experience has helped me to keep developing my own skills, so it's great to be continuing my F1 journey with him. Having recently moved out to Faenza I am feeling very settled within the team and am looking forward to the upcoming season."


    Franz Tost, Scuderia AlphaTauri Team Principal said: "I'm pleased to announce today that we will keep both our drivers here at Scuderia AlphaTauri for the 2022 season. Pierre's development in the years has been impressive and in his time with us he managed to make it to all three steps of the podium. Starting with the second place in Brazil in 2019, he then won our home Grand Prix the following year in Monza and this year he has already achieved a podium with a 3rd place in Baku. I am confident there's more to come and this is why we are excited to have him with us for another season. Furthermore, he is using his experience in F1 to help Yuki with his development. This year we have seen that the positive relationship between the two, made of a competitiveness on-track and a friendship off-track, has proven effective for the team. Yuki has joined the team as a rookie and is continuing to learn every day, the feedback from the engineers shows that he is absorbing all the information given to him and improving. As a rookie, Yuki is only at the beginning of this journey, so it's good that he can continue what we've started together. It's great for us to be securing our driver line-up so early in the season, so we can now focus on the rest of 2021, where we're in a tough fight in the midfield pack."

    Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team confirms 2022 driver line-up

    Following Valtteri Bottas' departure to Alfa Romeo Racing, George Russell will be team-mate to Lewis Hamilton from 2022

    The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team today confirmed that George Russell will become team-mate to reigning seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, beginning from the 2022 Formula One season as the sport enters a new era of technical regulations.

    This confirmation follows the news that Valtteri Bottas will join Alfa Romeo Racing next year, after five highly successful seasons with Mercedes. Valtteri joined Mercedes in 2017, scoring 9 race wins, 54 podiums and 17 pole positions to date with the team. He has played a pivotal role in Mercedes winning four Constructors' World Championships since 2017, and his partnership with Lewis Hamilton will be recorded as one of the most successful in the sport's history.

    Valtteri will be succeeded by 23-year-old George Russell, who joined the Mercedes Young Driver Programme in 2017. George won that season's GP3 Series championship, and became FIA Formula 2 champion the following year, before graduating to Formula One with Williams in 2019. His work ethic and performance have continued to impress during his three seasons with Williams; he is now ready to make the step to Mercedes and to continue his career development alongside Lewis Hamilton, after signing a long-term contract with the team.


    Valtteri Bottas

    I am so proud of everything we have achieved together in my time with Mercedes - and it is not over yet, because we have our biggest challenge so far to try and claim our eighth constructors' title. When I look back on my time with Mercedes, I want to be able to say that I squeezed every drop out of this opportunity and left nothing on the table; and I want to make sure that we finish our time together as champions. It has been a privilege and a great sporting challenge to work with Lewis, and the harmony in our relationship played a big part in the constructors' championships we won as teammates. Later this year, the time will come to say goodbye -that's not for now, but I would like to thank Toto and the team for the respect in how we took the decision together. I am really pleased to have chosen my new challenge with Alfa Romeo, an exciting and iconic manufacturer, and by the opportunity to help lead the team forward up the grid. I'm as hungry as ever to race for results and when the time comes, for wins. But for now, my mission is clear: maximum attack for Mercedes, all the way to the final lap in Abu Dhabi.


    George Russell

    It's a special day for me personally and professionally, but also a day of mixed emotions. I'm excited and humbled to be joining Mercedes next year, which is a huge career step, but it also means I'll be saying goodbye to my team-mates and friends at Williams. It has been an honour working alongside every member of the team, and an honour to represent the Williams name in F1. Since I joined in 2019, we have worked tirelessly to push each other forward and bring the team back up the grid where it belongs. We've battled for every qualifying position, every point, and every tenth of a second. No matter how tough it's been, nobody has ever given up, and that has inspired me every day. I've loved every moment in what I'd describe as a true heart and soul racing team, and I'll be pushing harder than ever to make sure we end our story in the best possible way. Looking ahead to next season, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely buzzing. It's a huge opportunity and one I want to grab with both hands. But I'm under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge; it's going to be a steep learning curve. Valtteri has set a high bar, consistently delivering week in and week out, scoring wins, pole positions and helping win multiple championship titles. My target must be to reward the trust that Toto, the team, and the board have placed in me by ensuring I play my part in continuing that success and I want to do my new team-mates proud. Of course, one of those new team-mates is in my opinion the greatest driver of all time. I've looked up to Lewis since I was in go-karts and the opportunity to learn from someone who has become a role model both on and off track can only benefit me as a driver, a professional, and a human being. For now, though, I have nine more races as a Williams driver, and I want to make sure they are the best nine of my time with the team. Then, and only then, can I turn my attention to 2022. A huge thank you to Williams, to Mercedes and to everyone who has supported me in getting to where I am today. I couldn't have done it without every single one of you.


    Toto Wolff

    This hasn't been an easy process or a straightforward decision for us. Valtteri has done a fantastic job over the past five seasons and he has made an essential contribution to our success and to our growth. Together with Lewis, he has built a benchmark partnership between two team-mates in the sport, and that has been a valuable weapon in our championship battles and pushed us to achieve unprecedented success. He would absolutely have deserved to stay with the team, and I am pleased that he has been able to choose an exciting challenge with Alfa next year to continue his career at the top level of the sport; when the time comes, he will leave us with huge goodwill from every single member of the team, and he will forever be part of the Mercedes family. Looking forward to 2022, we are very happy to confirm that George will have the opportunity to take the next step in his career and join Mercedes. He has been a winner in every racing category - and the past three seasons with Williams have given us a taste of what the future could hold for him in F1. Now, it is our challenge together to help him continue learning within our environment and alongside Lewis, the greatest F1 driver of all time. I am confident that as their relationship grows, they will form a strong team and deliver for Mercedes on and off the track in the years ahead. It's a weight off our shoulders to have our plans for 2022 clear and announced; but now, our focus returns to the final nine races of this season and putting everything into our challenge for this year's world championships.


    Red Bull Racing Honda is pleased to confirm its Test&Reserve Driver Alex Albon will drive for Williams Racing in the 2022 Formula One season.

    Having raced for both Red Bull Racing Honda and Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2019 and 2020, where he scored two podiums and consistent points finishes, Alex returns to an F1 race seat next season driving for Williams Racing alongside Nicholas Latifi.

    Alex has played a significant role in the development of the RB16B this season with a key focus on simulator work and tyre testing, alongside racing for Red Bull in DTM where he recently took his first victory. Despite all Red Bull F1 seats being occupied next season, the Team has been working behind the scenes to help Alex secure an F1 drive for 2022 in order to further aid his development.


    Red Bull Racing Honda Team Principal and CEO, Christian Horner, commented:
    "We rate Alex very highly and with our line-up for 2022 fixed, our objective was to help find him a seat in another team where he could gain more F1 mileage and experience and we are delighted to have done that with Williams Racing. Alex has been a hugely valuable asset in his role as our Test&Reserve Driver this year, helping bring performance from the simulator to the car each weekend, but for his career it was important not to spend another season out of an F1 race seat. With his place on the grid next year secured, we are delighted to see him realise this opportunity and we will be following his progress closely."


    Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda Test&Reserve Driver, added:
    "I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula One race seat in 2022. When you take a year out of F1 it's never certain you will make a return so I'm extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid. It's also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a Team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022. My focus now returns to my Test&Reserve Driver role at Red Bull and helping the Team fight for this year's world championship."


    Williams Racing is delighted to announce that Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon will form its driver line-up for the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship.

    Nicholas remains at the team for a fourth consecutive season, his third as race driver, whilst Alex returns to the Formula One grid having spent a year as Red Bull Racing Honda's Test&Reserve Driver and a race-winning campaign in the DTM. The 25-year-old previously drove for Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1 before being promoted to a race seat with Red Bull Racing, scoring two podiums in 2020.


    Jost Capito, CEO of Williams Racing, added: "It is fantastic to be able to confirm our driver line-up for 2022 and I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas into next year. We are extremely excited by our new line-up, with both drivers bringing a great blend of youth and experience that will not only be a great fit for the team but also help us take the next step in our journey.

    "Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motorsport, yet comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull. His multiple podium finishes highlight his speed as a driver, and we know he will immediately feel at home with the team at Grove. Nicholas meanwhile has consistently impressed us over the past three years with his hard work, diligence, and positive attitude. He has continued to develop throughout his time at Williams and has grown into an impressive F1 driver, as seen by his points scoring finishes this season.

    "We are now looking forward to continuing to build on our positive momentum as a team and finishing this season as strongly as possible, before turning our attentions to 2022."


    Nicholas said: "I'm excited to be continuing with Williams for another year; partly because of F1's new technical regulations, but also because the team is moving in a more competitive direction with new owners, management and people on the technical side.

    "I've felt at home here since the day I arrived, and I think I'm in the right place to continue with my positive trajectory. The aim is to continue making little improvements so we can all take advantage of the opportunity we have next year.

    "I'm super excited to work with next year's car and it's like a fresh start for everybody. I feel privileged to be part of that change."


    Alex commented: "I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula One race seat in 2022. When you take a year out of F1 it's never certain you will make a return so I'm extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid. It's also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022. My focus now returns to my Test&Reserve Driver role at Red Bull and helping the team fight for this year's world championship."


    With a stellar record in the junior categories, including multiple race wins in the GP3 Series and the FIA Formula Two Championship, Alex is one of the most highly rated young talents in motorsport. The Thai-British racer also knows his new team-mate well having previously raced alongside the Canadian at DAMS during his 2018 Formula Two campaign.

    Nicholas meanwhile has continued to impress in his first three seasons with Williams, contributing to the team's improved performance with his detailed feedback and motivated approach. The 26-year-old scored his first points in this year's Hungarian Grand Prix, before adding to his tally at the Belgian Grand Prix.

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