Valtteri Bottas has been in Formula 1 for ten years now. The Finn suffered from mental problems and depression earlier in his career. Next season, he is leaving Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo.
Nothing is important to Bottas anymore
On a podcast by the Finnish broadcaster thin Bottas talks about the psychological loophole he fell into in 2014. “I boarded a flight and an ex-girlfriend said to me, ‘I hope the flight goes well. I was like, ‘If I crash, then what? I’m going to get out of here.’ Thoughts like these–nothing matters–began to get into my head.”
The problems arose at a time when drivers still had to pay attention to their weight. “It’s a little out of control for me, explains the 32-year-old Mercedes driver. “I had to stand on the scale every morning and evening. It always had to be less and less. It made me feel good.”
From physical to mental problems
Bottas’ problems began physically. “I got tired very quickly. Then I started having trouble sleeping.” Mental problems came next. “I once asked my ex-girlfriend if I should get treatment. She said I wasn’t me anymore. I was a shadow of who I was before. I don’t feel anything anymore.”
And Jules Bianchi’s death in 2015, after crashing at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, took a toll on Bottas. “I went through fog and it took two years to recover,” he said. He even considered quitting the sport altogether. “I was running out of energy. My whole life had been about Formula One and nothing else. I didn’t really enjoy it anymore.” With the help of a psychologist, he put himself back on track. “I’m back in good shape step by step.” Next season, Bottas will switch from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo.