Valtteri Bottas admitted being taken by “surprise” by Lewis Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari for 2025, while adding it’s good for him and “good for the whole sport.”
Bottas partnered Hamilton to five Constructors’ Championships in a row at Mercedes from 2017 to 2021, with his former team-mate now set to switch to the Scuderia from next season.
This in turn leaves a seat free at Bottas’ former team, and while the Finn said his first priority is to stay with his current team until they become Audi, he is keeping his eyes open to what is out there.
Valtteri Bottas on Lewis Hamilton’s ‘big move’, addresses possibility of Mercedes return
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper
Speaking at the launch of the Kick C44, unveiled on Monday night as the first Stake F1 car, following Sauber’s rebrand from Alfa Romeo last season, Bottas was asked about the seismic driver move for his former team-mate.
He noted that it would kick-start what is likely to be a frantic driver market in 2024, with the 10-time Grand Prix winner one of the multiple drivers looking to renew their contract come the end of the season.
When asked for his reaction to Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, Bottas told media including PlanetF1.com: “Surprised, I never actually thought that could happen, but I think it’s good for him.
“I mean, it’s a big opportunity, it’s a big move, and obviously he’s made the decision himself.
“For sure, that’s going to now escalate some movement on the market for ’25, so at the moment it’s quite hard to predict how it’s going to go.
“I think it’s a great challenge. I’m sure it’s a big motivation for him to bring Ferrari to the top. So yeah, it’s kind of cool and, like I said, it will definitely create some movement for the future, which is good for the whole sport – and for some drivers.”
Bottas posted a photo from Brackley recently on social media, though it was not at Mercedes’ base, adding he was in town on other business.
With his deal with his current team set to expire at the end of the season, he maintained that his current priority is to remain with the Hinwil-based outfit until they become Audi, but if a call from Toto Wolff comes, he would hear what his former boss would have to say.
“It’s no lie, I was in Brackley the day before actually. Not that the Mercedes factory, but I was there doing some other stuff,” he explained.
“No, we haven’t spoken on the phone yet with Toto, and if I would go back, well, obviously, my priority and biggest commitment is the Audi project, which is my target, but if that wouldn’t happen, then actually there’s no team that I wouldn’t go to, let’s say, perhaps, but I know my priorities and I’ve got my list.”