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Bottas Faces Uncertainty in Sauber's Audi F1 Era

Bottas Faces Uncertainty in Sauber’s Audi F1 Era

19/03/2024

As Audi F1’s takeover of Sauber looms, Valtteri Bottas confronts the possibility of exclusion from their future plans, marking a pivotal moment in his career.

Valtteri Bottas acknowledges he might be left out of Sauber’s future plans with Audi F1.

Following the conclusion of his victorious days as a Mercedes F1 driver alongside Lewis Hamilton, the Finn joined the Hinwil-based team, initially under the Alfa Romeo and then Stake F1 banners.

However, Sauber has now been acquired by Audi ahead of its full transformation into a factory team for 2026 and beyond – and Bottas is yet without a contract, even for next year.

“There will be opportunities,” he stated at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival this weekend, “but at the moment, my priority is the Audi project. To get into it and stay for the long term.”

At 34, Bottas increasingly struggles to stand out against his teammate, the decade-younger Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, while a backlog of even younger hopefuls eagerly awaits their chance in Formula 1.

Has Bottas considered the end of his F1 career?

“I don’t have a specific number, in terms of years, because I don’t see my time in F1 ending anytime soon. I’m 34, Fernando Alonso is 65,” he joked, “and he’s still a very good driver. It’s a reference point for the bosses, showing that you can continue at the highest level.”

He admits racing towards the back of the grid, after winning 10 Grands Prix with Mercedes, has often been challenging.

“I really want to continue and I really want to get closer to the top by fighting again for good results.”

“It’s always interesting when a major manufacturer like Audi enters the sport, but if for some reason there’s no opportunity for me with them, then I think yes, the driver market is quite open for next year to continue elsewhere.”

Is he in discussions with one or more other teams to secure a fallback?

“I have a very good management team, they handle all that for me,” he concludes with a smile.

“It’s clear that the situation is very fluid and one must not miss the train that has already started to roll.”

Bottas Faces Uncertainty in Sauber’s Audi F1 Era. Bottas Faces Uncertainty in Sauber’s Audi F1 Era

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