Valtteri Bottas opens up on ‘train to pain’ F1 diet that sparked eating disorder
Valtteri Bottas has bravely opened up on the brutal diet that led to him suffering from an eating disorder in the early stages of his Formula 1 career. Bottas has established himself as one F1's most impressive drivers during his successful career.
During his time in the paddock, the Finnish star has made 200 starts and secured 10 Grand Prix victories in that time. Bottas also played an integral role in Mercedes' recent dominance in the sport in the latter stages of the 2010's.
Life as an F1 driver has not always been simple for the 33-year-old though, after Bottas recently revealed the struggles he endured in the early stages of his driving career.
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The pressures to become one of the world's best drivers are high, and one aspect the Alfa Romeo man struggled with was the extreme diet plan he followed as a youngster. Speaking to Finnish journalist Maria Veitola, he said: "I trained myself to pain, physically and mentally.
"No eating disorder was officially diagnosed, but it was definitely there. 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 they will do everything for that."
Not only did Bottas struggle physically as an up and coming driver, but he was scarred mentally too. This came after the death of driver Jules Bianchi, who was a former F3 teammate of the 33-year-old Alfa Romeo man.
"I needed a psychologist to help me recover, whose first assessment of me was that I'm almost like a robot who only wants to reach his goal and has no feelings at all," he explained. "It startled me. It's true that at that time I had no other life than F1."
The Finnish star also suffered during his final campaign with Mercedes in 2021 which left him contemplating his career as a a driver. "That season was more difficult again, when the future was on the line and I didn't know which team I would drive for," he added. "It was a big threshold to ask for outside help.
""That's what you think when you're such a tough guy that you don't need help, that I 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."
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