Not only will Valtteri Bottas head into Formula 1 action for F1 2024, he will also be going for World Championship glory in the world of cycling.
Bottas is a veteran of the Formula 1 grid, with 10 grand prix wins collected so far in his career, all coming during his time with the Mercedes team.
Now he is looking to lead the Sauber transition into their upcoming Audi days from 2026, but F1 2024 is not his only sporting focus looking to the year ahead, despite the record-breaking 24-round season to come.
Valtteri Bottas looks to qualify for UCI Gravel World Championships
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Considering Bottas in a relationship with Australian cyclist Tiffany Cromwell, it is perhaps no surprise that his own passion for cycling has grown emphatically in recent times, and now he prepares to take on his biggest challenge yet in the sport.
Bottas has circled October 5-6 on his 2024 calendar, when the UCI Gravel World Championships take place in Halle-Leuven, Belgium.
If he wants to be part of them, then Bottas must finish in the top 25 per cent of competitors in his 35-39 age category at a UCI Gravel World Series event, with 24 available where he can attempt to do so.
And the first one in Adelaide, Australia is fast approaching, though the timing is perfect considering Bottas’ Christmas plans.
“[The Adelaide event] is in January so I’m going to Australia for Christmas so it works perfectly,” he said on the Bobby & Jens podcast.
“I do take [races] seriously, and will always go out to challenge myself and make the most of it.
“Whether it’s result, tactically or average speed I go all in. I don’t mind hurting myself. I kind of like it. I will try to qualify for the gravel worlds next year.”
Valtteri Bottas demands all-round Sauber improvement
While Bottas has grand plans in the world of cycling, that should not be taken as a weakening of his F1 focus in any way.
In fact, after a poor 2023 campaign for Alfa Romeo-Sauber, Bottas scoring 10 of their 16 points, Bottas is looking for improvement across the board from his team for F1 2024.
“In this sport, with the margins we have, it’s everything,” Bottas responded to media including PlanetF1.com when asked where Sauber need to place their focus on car development over winter.
“There’s nothing fundamental, but the good thing is we do have a completely new car with some new ideas, with new people in the team.
“That’s exactly what we need now, so we need to make big steps over the winter. That’s the key.”
Bottas will be looking to secure a contract extension with the team beyond F1 2024, as the transition to Audi moves closer.