F1 News: Valtteri Bottas Opens Up on Sauber Future Talks

Valtteri Bottas has begun negotiating his future with Sauber as his current contract nears its end.
Valtteri Bottas - Sauber
Valtteri Bottas - Sauber / Sauber Press Image

With the 2024 Formula 1 season underway, Valtteri Bottas, currently with Sauber, finds himself in a crucial phase of his career. The Finnish driver's contract is set to expire at the end of this season, prompting a series of discussions about his future in the sport, particularly in light of Sauber's impending sale to Audi.

Key Takeaways:

  • Valtteri Bottas is in discussions to extend his contract with Sauber, aiming to stay with the team as it prepares for the Audi takeover in 2026.
  • Bottas is focusing on his performance in the current season to secure his position, while his management explores potential options.
  • Despite Sauber's recent struggles, Bottas sees the partnership with Audi as an opportunity to return to competitive form, expressing his continued motivation and lack of plans for retirement.
Valtteri Bottas - Sauber
Valtteri Bottas - Sauber / Sauber Press Image

Bottas, who transferred to Sauber from Mercedes in 2022, has openly expressed his desire to continue with the Swiss outfit, especially as they prepare for a significant rebranding and partnership with Audi in 2026. His tenure with Mercedes, marked by 10 Grand Prix victories, showcases a competitive pedigree that Sauber is eager to retain as they aim to ascend back to the forefront of the grid.

Bottas explained, as quoted by Motorsportweek.com:

“I’m slowly, slowly getting the ball rolling. But nothing fundamental yet.

“I think we need a few more [races this season] under our belt, and hopefully with a good few results, the ball will roll a bit more, but not much yet.”

The evolution of the upcoming season could be pivotal for Bottas. His performance will not only influence negotiations with Sauber but might also attract interest from other teams. The Finnish driver acknowledges the precarious nature of F1 contracts and the ever-present risk of being left out of the lineup, underscoring the importance of securing his position early in the negotiation process.

“That’s why you need to try and be one step ahead. That’s what my management is working on in the background,” he continued.

“I focus on the driving, and I’ve got people in the background, trying to read the market and work on different options if that will be needed.”

Valtteri Bottas - Sauber
Valtteri Bottas - Sauber / Sauber Press Image

Despite the challenges Sauber has faced since the introduction of the ground effect rules, which have shaken the established order in F1, Bottas views the upcoming Audi partnership as a beacon of hope. The German manufacturer's entry into the sport is seen by many as a potential game-changer, and for a veteran driver like Bottas, it represents a chance to reassert himself at the competitive end of the grid.

“Obviously, being part of Audi, that could be a great opportunity for me to do that. So, of course, that’s interesting for me,” Bottas commented.

At 34, Bottas is not yet considering retirement. He remains driven by the challenges ahead and is motivated by the possibility of returning to the kind of front-running form he experienced at Mercedes.

“I don’t really actually want to put any specific number on how many years I have left, just because I don’t see the end coming yet.

“I still feel like I have lots to give and lots to achieve. Now my motivation is to get back closer to the top. I miss that feeling of fighting more towards the front end.

“The more you have experience, the more you can adapt to certain things.

“I hope that’s going to be my strength. Also, they should know I’m quite a good team player with anyone who works alongside me.”


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Lydia Mee

LYDIA MEE

Lydia is the lead editor of F1 editorial. After following the sport for several years, she was finally able to attend the British Grand Prix in person in 2017. Since then, she's been addicted to not only the racing, but the atmosphere the fans bring to each event. She's a strong advocate for women in motorsport and a more diverse industry.