Ten-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas will compete at the Race Of Champions at Sweden’s Pite Havsbad on January 28-29, 2023
The Finnish ace will be making his ROC debut, battling some of motorsport’s all-time greats head-to-head in identical cars on the snow and ice of ROC’s iconic parallel track – where the winner is decided by driver skill alone
Bottas, who currently races for the Alfa Romeo F1 team, will also partner his fellow countryman and double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen for Team Finland in the ROC Nations Cup
Bottas and Hakkinen will be part of a field that already includes four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, Norway’s rallying father-and-son duo Petter and Oliver Solberg plus triple W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick
The full ROC Sweden driver line-up will be revealed in the run-up to January’s event, and tickets are already available from Tickster
Ten-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas will compete at the Race Of Champions on the snow and ice of Sweden’s Pite Havsbad on January 28-29, 2023.
The Finnish driver – who currently races for the Alfa Romeo F1 team – came close to making his debut at this year’s ROC, before being forced to pull out just days before the action began. He will now make up for that disappointment by racing at the same stunning venue on the frozen Baltic Sea, just 60 miles from the Arctic Circle.
The Race Of Champions is run over two days: first comes the ROC Nations Cup (on Saturday January 28, 1200-1500 local time) when drivers pair up in teams based on nationality to bid for the title of ‘World’s Fastest Nation’. Then on Sunday January 29, 1200-1500 local time, it’s time for the Race Of Champions itself, when all teamwork goes out of the window and it will be a flat-out battle for individual glory.
In the ROC Nations Cup Bottas will partner his fellow flying Finn, double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen. As well as their extensive success on tarmac, both drivers share experience of the Arctic Rally. So they will be aiming to keep up a great history for Team Finland, who have won the ROC Nations Cup twice, including the very first time the event became a part of the Race Of Champions in 1999.
To pull it off, Bottas and Hakkinen will have to see off teams from all over the world. The confirmed line-up already features the likes of Team GB’s three-time W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick and four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, winner of a record seven ROC Nations Cup titles for Team Germany.
Team Finland’s biggest challenge on the snow and ice could come from their fellow Nordic nations. Team Norway’s reigning champions, father-and-son World Rally stars Petter and Oliver Solberg will be reluctant to give up the title they won earlier this year. Then there’s Extreme E Champion – and newly-crowned five-time FIA World Rallycross Champion – Johan Kristoffersson, who will be desperate to help secure a first ROC Nations Cup title for Team Sweden to thrill the home crowds.
Ten-time Formula 1 grand prix winner Valtteri Bottas said: “I’m really looking forward to being able to make my Race Of Champions debut at last! I’ve watched the event on TV for many years and I came so close to competing last year until I had to pull out at the last minute. It was tough watching everyone having so much fun throwing their cars around on the snow and ice in Sweden, so I’m glad I will now be joining them at Pite Havsbad in January.
“I’m also thrilled to be able to partner Mika Hakkinen for Team Finland in the ROC Nations Cup. I have become good friends with Mika over the years, but it will be a special treat to be able to race alongside him. We’ve both taken part in the Arctic Rally a few times so hopefully that can help us beat our Nordic neighbours – and everyone else. Then we’ll have to put our friendship aside again and try to beat each other in the individual Race Of Champions. Whatever happens I’m sure we will put on a great show for all the fans watching at the track and around the world.”
Double F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen added: “It’s great that Valtteri will be joining us at the Race Of Champions in January. I was expecting to pair up with him for Team Finland last year, so all I can say is: better late than never! I can assure him the Race Of Champions really is as fun as it looks and to race on the snow and ice is brilliant. As we both grew up in about the only country that’s even colder than Pite Havsbad, we should have a chance. As for the secret to success? I might tell Valtteri before the ROC Nations Cup, but only if he promises to have forgotten it by the individual race the next day…”
With a history dating back to 1988, the Race Of Champions is a unique festival of global motorsport where stars from series including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, Le Mans, World Rally and Rallycross battle head-to-head in identical cars, with the winner decided by driver skill alone – often by fractions of a second. All the action takes place on a purpose-built parallel track featuring ROC’s iconic crossover bridge.
The Race Of Champions has been held at some of the world’s greatest venues – including Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, Stade de France in Paris, Wembley Stadium, London’s Olympic Stadium, Mexico City’s Foro Sol plus a wide range of exotic locations all over the globe from Bangkok to Miami to Riyadh to Barbados. But this year in Sweden was the first time it has ever been held on snow and ice.
ROC President Fredrik Johnsson said: “We are thrilled that Valtteri will be joining us at the Race Of Champions in 2023 at last. After we came so close to welcoming him last year, we can now look forward to showing him just what ROC is all about. There is a special challenge to racing on the Swedish snow and ice – but while Valtteri may be best known for his amazing ability on tarmac, I’ve no doubt he will show just what he can do in cars that spend most of their time sideways… His partnership with Mika Hakkinen is also sure to make Team Finland a force to be feared in the ROC Nations Cup, and we know they will put on a magnificent show for the fans.”
The Chairman of Pite Havsbad Group Tobias Lindfors added: "We are very happy to have Valtteri Bottas joining the line-up for the Race Of Champions in January at Pite Havsbad! It will be incredibly exciting to see the two Finnish Formula 1 stars Bottas and Hakkinen competing together on the same team. It is sure to be a fantastic race and we are once again looking forward to welcoming everyone to a wonderful event at our unique winter arena."
Full details about the line-up of competing drivers will be announced in the run-up to January’s event. In the meantime tickets are available from Tickster.