Bottas admits Audi could leave him behind

Tue, 19 March 2024, 08:00

Mar.19 (GMM) Valtteri Bottas admits he could be left out of Sauber’s plans for its works future with Audi.

After his race winning days as Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate ended, the Finn switched to the Hinwil-based team that has since transitioned to its Alfa Romeo and now Stake-Kick identities.

Sauber, however, has now been 100 percent acquired by Audi ahead of its full works transformation for 2026 and beyond – and Bottas is yet to be taken under contract even for next year.

“I think there will be opportunities,” he said at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, “but at the moment my priority is the Audi project. Getting in there for the long-term.”

Bottas is already 34, and increasingly struggling to stand out in comparison to his decade-younger Chinese teammate Guanyu Zhou, as a logjam of even younger hopefuls impatiently wait on Formula 1’s sidelines.

Has Bottas contemplated the end of his F1 career yet?

“I don’t have a specific number, in terms of years, because I don’t see my time in F1 ending any time soon. I am 34, Fernando Alonso is 65,” he joked, “so he is a pretty good reference that you can keep performing.”

He admits that racing towards the back of the grid, having won 10 grands prix with Mercedes, has often been difficult.

“I really want to carry on, and I really want to get closer to the top fighting for proper results again,” said Bottas.

“I think it’s always interesting when you have a big manufacturer like that (Audi) entering the sport, but if for some reason there isn’t an opportunity for me, and I think there is, then the driver market is quite wide open for next year.”

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