How Military Training Turned Mercedes F1 Driver Valtteri Bottas ‘From a Boy to a Man’

Published 08/12/2021, 8:47 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 15, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during a promotional photoshoot for the unveiling of the new 2022 F1 car REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge


Valtteri Bottas has had an ill-fated season so far. Having had no victories in the last 11 races, the Finn has once again had team orders and team strategies impede what could have been a better start to the season. However, Bottas is looking for his luck to change in the second half. In an interview with Hypebeast, Bottas explained how serving in the military helped him in F1.

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A mandatory demand of his country, Bottas was required to serve for the Finnish military. The Mercedes driver claims to have changed a lot in the time he served his country. ” I felt like it turned me from a boy to a man. You definitely learn more about yourself.” 

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

A team player at heart, he credits his time with the military for teaching him the essentials of teamwork, “You also learn to work well with a team and the benefit of being able to work for something bigger together as a group’

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Training for the military is no easy feat. The sub-zero conditions helped Bottas gain clarity. He shared an anecdote, ” I learned some form of discipline aside from a lot of cool experiences, and it definitely put things into perspective.”

“I remember we had this training program in the forest for two weeks in a row and we had to sleep in those freezing conditions. Once we got back to the base camp, I felt so happy just being in an actual bed in a room.”

Valtteri Bottas’ guide to training

The physical demands of the sport are unlike any other. Bottas describes how challenging it can get training for F1. The more years you have in the sport, in single-seaters, and especially in Formula 1, your body gets used to it, but because we have 23 races and testing it does put a toll on you.”

Bottas finds time on the weekends to train himself for the race ahead. But for him, training comes best on the track, in the cockpit.

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Having trained in the military, he knows his way around what he needs to do to be physically fit for the sport. “I love cardio, so I do a lot of sports like cycling or running, but I also do strength training when I can. During the off-season, we train even harder, sometimes twice a day because you definitely need to be fit.”

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As drivers take some time off in the sun, Bottas has been spending his time off trekking and cycling with his Olympian girlfriend, Tiffany Cromwell. As the Belgian GP draws near, will Bottas start the second half of the season with better luck?

Watch this story: Ugliest Moments in Hamilton-Rosberg Rivalry

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Shreya Sanjeev

323 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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