Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur is hopeful that Valtteri Bottas' added responsibility of becoming a team leader at the team in 2022 will help him to step out from Lewis Hamilton's shadow.
Bottas ended his time at Mercedes having raced 101 times for the Silver Arrows before announcing his switch to ninth-placed Alfa Romeo to replace countryman Kimi Raikkonen.
The move will give the Finn a chance to lead a project as the team aims to advance up the grid, using F1's new aerodynamic regulations to its advantage having stopped work on the 2021 car early in the season.
Speaking in an interview including GPFans, Vasseur said: "We have a long-term relationship. He drove for me 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, something like this.
"We stayed in touch because I'm close to the family also over the last 15 years, but I was crystal clear, and he is clever enough to understand that we can't offer the same things that Mercedes is putting on the table.
"To fight for pole position in Bahrain, it's not the topic at all. For sure, it's always a target to do a good job, but the most important, I think, for him at the stage of his career is also to be in the centre of the team and it's not an offence to Mercedes that he was always in the shadow of Lewis, but when you are in Mercedes, you are in the shadow of Lewis.
"When you're in Red Bull, you're in the shadow of Max and if you have a look under the drivers alongside Max the last 10 years or six years, it was Gasly, it was Albon, it was Pérez. Pérez probably did a better job last year than this season.
"It's a very, very difficult position and situation to be the teammate of Max or Lewis and, I think for Valtteri it wasn't too important to be considered as the leader at that."
Bottas will team up with Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou next year, with Vasseur expecting the 32-year-old's experience to help nurture the F2 star.
"Valtteri is coming with his own mega experience of the F1 with the speed that I think from the second part of the season, he showed a very strong pace.
"Also, probably because he has a clear view of what he wants to do in the future and he's probably more relaxed and that, I hope that we'll be able to develop something like this.
"I'm quite confident because I know him pretty well and we're on the same page on this."