Alfa 'company policies' giving Bottas more personal freedom

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Valtteri Bottas says Alfa Romeo's "company policies" have given him more freedom in the past year to be who he wants to be.

Bottas transferred from Mercedes to Alfa at the end of the 2021 season, and the change equated to moving from a corporate politically correct environment to a smaller, warmer setting.

Given Mercedes' troubles last year that have extended into this season, Bottas left very little on the table in terms of sporting results by accepting a drive with Alfa.

But in terms of his mental comfort and personal life, the move was undeniably an upgrade and has boosted, not only the ten-time Grand Prix winner's peace of mind but also his well-being and every-day enjoyment.

"Now I feel like I can truly be who I am, for sure there's a bit of a difference," he said in Bahrain recently, displaying his Aussie mullet hairstyle that would have likely been frowned upon by Toto Wolff.

"I think company policies might be a bit different in different workplaces let's say.

"Some things might be a bit more restricted, but I think it's time and getting older as well, all the skills and learning F1 has given me, you eventually just learn sometimes not to take things too seriously, especially yourself.

"I imagine I would not have been allowed [to grow the mullet at Mercedes], so that's one example."

Along with the benefits of his working environment, Bottas also credited his better half, Australian pro-cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, as having a big impact on his life.

"She's an Aussie and a very spirit as a person that likes to live in the moment and do things that make her happy," he said.

"She's the person who lives with me and so it's always a big impact, she's still trying to make me an Aussie and it's getting there step by step."

Bottas' original two-year deal with Alfa will expire at the end of this season. The Hinwil squad's transformation into Audi's works outfit that will compete in F1 from 2026 is of interest to Bottas.

However, the Finn is in no hurry to discuss the future as his focus is on the short term and making sure Alfa and himself enjoy a productive start to their 2023 campaign.

"Eventually we will have to speak about the future, we haven't properly yet," he said.

"Let's get these first few races out of the way and then we will see. It is not the time yet and things are pretty stable.

"It's a different atmosphere for sure [compared to Mercedes].

"A big part of it is when you're fighting for the title, the pressure builds up and so on but it's a smaller team [at Alfa Romeo].

"But I think for me, probably one of the big things why I feel more relaxed is that the future is a bit more solid for the years to come, than what it was before."

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