Bottas reveals previous mental health problems and recovery

02-12-2021 10:31 | Updated: 02-12-2021 12:45
F1 News
Bottas reveals previous mental health problems and recovery

Valtteri Bottas has been active in Formula 1 for ten years now. The Finn struggled with mental problems and depression earlier in his career. Next season, he leaves Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo. 

Nothing mattered anymore for Bottas

In a podcast by the Finnish broadcaster Supla Bottas talks about the psychological hole he fell into in 2014. "I got on a flight and an ex-girlfriend said to me, 'I hope the flight goes well. I was like, 'if it crashes, so what? I'll get out of here'. Thoughts like this - that nothing matters - started getting into my head."

The problems arose at a time when drivers still had to be very mindful of their weight. "It got a bit out of hand for me," explains the 32-year-old Mercedes driver. "I had to stand on the scales every morning and evening. It always had to be lower and lower. It made me feel good."

From physical to mental problems

The problems for Bottas began physically. "I got tired very quickly. Then I started having problems sleeping." The mental problems came next. "At one point my ex-girlfriend asked if I shouldn't get treatment. She said I wasn't myself anymore. I was a shadow of who I was before. I didn't feel anything anymore."

The death of Jules Bianchi in 2015, following a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, also did much to Bottas. "I went through a fog and it took two years to recover," he said. He even considered quitting the sport altogether. "My energy was running out. My whole life just revolved around F1 and nothing else. I didn't really enjoy it anymore." With help from a psychologist, he got himself back on track. "Step by step I got back into good shape." Next season Bottas will switch from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo.

Video player

More videos

  • Small
  • Big