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F1 News: Valtteri Bottas Opens Up On Mental Health - "It Became An Addiction"

The Finnish driver has spoken out on suffering from an eating disorder and mental struggled throughout his career.

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has opened up about his mental health struggles throughout his F1 career including suffering from an eating disorder and becoming addicted to his training regiment.

The Finnish driver made his F1 debut in 2013, driving for Williams alongside Pastor Maldonado and then Felipe Massa from 2014 until Bottas made the move to Mercedes in 2017 to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton. At the end of the 2021 season, he moved to Alfa Romeo.

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Reflecting on the early stages of his F1 career during an interview with Finnish journalist and TV presenter, Maria Veitola, Bottas explained:

"I trained myself to pain physically and mentally.

"It got out of hand, and it became an addiction. No eating disorder was officially diagnosed, but it was definitely there."

Bottas went on to explain that he became focussed on losing weight by only eating steamed broccoli between his intense training programme. He continued:

"It wasn't very healthy. I wanted to be the best, and I thought I had to do that. If the team says that I have to weigh 68 kilos and I naturally weigh 73 kilos, then I'll do everything for that."


The tragic passing of Jules Bianchi, who was involved in an awful crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix which left him in a coma until he sadly passed the following summer, made Bottas realise he needed to seek professional help when he struggled to find support from F1. The Alfa Romeo driver added:

"To help me recover, I needed a psychologist whose first assessment was that I was almost like a robot who only wants to reach his goal and has no feelings at all.

"It unsettled me. It's true that at that time I had no other life than F1."

Despite working on himself and finding significant improvement, Bottas found himself struggling again during the 2021 season which was his last with Mercedes before he moved to Alfa Romeo. 


He reflected:

"Last season [in 2021] was more difficult again, when the future was on the line, and I didn't know which team I would drive for. It was a big step to ask for outside help.

"That's when you think when you're such a tough guy that you don't need help, that you can take care of things by looking in the mirror. But a professional knows how to ask the right questions and open a lot of locks. I'm not the only one there who sometimes has a hard time.

"For such a competitive nature, it was hard to accept. It was only in the last year that I could accept that Lewis Hamilton was a better driver. I always wondered how I could beat him and win the world championship. It was quite an exhausting five years.

"I wanted to win everything right away, and then when it didn't happen, it was hard to accept."

Bottas is not the only driver to open up about suffering from mental health issues with George Russell and Lando Norris also being open about their struggles. Mercedes team principal and CEO Toto Wolff has also spoken out about speaking to someone.