Valtteri Bottas has revealed being forced to seek psychological help after suffering from an eating disorder and becoming a robot that ‘trained to pain'.
“I trained myself to pain physically and mentally,” said Bottas, speaking on a popular Finnish television show with host Maria Veitola.
“It got out of hand, and it became an addiction. No eating disorder was officially diagnosed, but it was definitely there.”
Bottas went so far as to eat nothing more than steamed broccoli in a bid to lose weight
“It wasn't very healthy,” added the 33-year-old. “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.”
Mercedes career was ‘exhausting' – Bottas
Jules Bianchi's horrific crash during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix that eventually claimed the Frenchman's life in July of the following year also had a profound effect on Bottas who suffered further mentally.
It led to him turning to outside help.
“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,” recalled Bottas.
“It startled me. It's true that at that time I had no other life than F1.”
Even after Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017, there were occasions when he seriously doubted himself, especially going up against Lewis Hamilton as the British driver won four consecutive drivers' titles during their time as a pairing.
“For such a competitive nature, it was hard to accept,” said Bottas. “It was only in the last year that I could accept that Lewis was a better driver.
“I always wondered how I could beat him and win the world championship. It was quite an exhausting five years.”
Psychologist opened locks for Bottas
During his final year with Mercedes in 2021, Bottas again had to seek guidance from a psychologist due to concerns over whether he would land a seat elsewhere or if his career in F1 was over.
“That was more difficult again,” confirmed Bottas. “When the future was on the line and I didn't know which team I would drive for. 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.”