Finnish racing driver Valtteri Bottas will leave Formula One team Mercedes and join Alfa Romeo on a multiyear deal in 2022.
Bottas will replace 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen who announced last week that he will retire at the end of the season.
A statement from Alfa Romeo on Monday said the signing of Bottas was part of its journey in seeking “a unique opportunity to move towards the front of the grid”.
“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,” the statement added.
Bottas said he was excited to be taking up a new challenge with an iconic manufacturer.
“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.”
Reports suggest Bottas’ exit will pave the way for Mercedes to announce the signing of George Russell to partner current world champion Lewis Hamilton from next year.
Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017 as a replacement for 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg who retired at the end of that season.
The 32-year-old has gone on to win nine races in five years claiming 17 pole positions and 63 podiums along the way. However, he has failed to establish himself as a consistent challenger to Hamilton as Rosberg did.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)