Valtteri Bottas eager to secure F1 future as Alfa Romeo transitions to Audi

Sam Cooper
Valtteri Bottas smiling in Alfa Romeo garage. Mexico City October 2022.

Valtteri Bottas wants talks early this year to determine his future as Sauber prepares for their partnership with the incoming Audi.

Alfa Romeo’s sponsorship of the Swiss outfit is set to expire at the end of 2023 with Sauber announcing a new deal to become an Audi works team from 2026 onwards.

The change will see a period of upheaval for everyone involved with the team, none more so than the drivers who will be waiting to see if they are kept on under the new owners.

Bottas is one of the current occupants, alongside Zhou Guanyu, having joined from Mercedes in 2022 and is seeking reassurances that he has a place in the future.

“I’ve been in that situation so many times where it’s become a distraction,” Bottas told Motorsport.com.

“So yeah, for sure, it’s going to be a talking point hopefully quite early [in the year] on what’s going to happen.

“It is important to me to have that stability after 10 years of not so much stability.”

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Before joining Alfa, Bottas’ F1 career had been made up of rolling one-year deals which added an extra element of pressure on the Finn.

He said previously that having a multi-year deal has allowed him to relax with the 33-year-old pulling off a surprise P6 in 2022’s opening race in Bahrain.

Having scored 49 points, 37 more than team-mate Zhou, it would make sense for Bottas to stay with the team beyond his current deal which is set to expire at the end of the 2024 campaign.

There has also been change at the management level with Fred Vasseur leaving to take up the reins at Ferrari while former McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has joined as CEO.

Bottas has urged the team not to focus too much on the future and reminded them that there are still three more seasons before Audi arrives on the grid.

“It is a great opportunity for the team, it brings stability and something new,” he said.

“But I think since then, people are talking less about it. We’re now just cracking on and obviously [in 2023], still nothing changes.

“We’re still Alfa Romeo. I think probably next year, things are going to start changing. But for now, it’s pretty stable and everyone is just focused on their job.”

With Sebastian Vettel’s retirement and Daniel Ricciardo’s demotion to third driver, Bottas is now the fourth oldest driver on the grid with only Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso born before him.