‘Strange message’ from Valtteri Bottas could end F1 career, claims Ted Kravitz

Jamie Woodhouse
A close-up shot of Valtteri Bottas in the Monaco paddock

Sauber's Valtteri Bottas.

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz pondered whether Valtteri Bottas could be sending a “strange message” to F1 team bosses with his growing off-track schedule and putting his career in jeopardy. 

With one Sauber F1 2025 seat already spoken for as Nico Hulkenberg prepares to return to the team, Bottas and team-mate Zhou Guanyu are battling to secure their future, as Sauber puts the foundations in place for the Audi era to come from 2026.

Valtteri Bottas extracurricular activities sending ‘strange message’?

Bottas has been linked with returns to former teams Williams and Mercedes as part of the F1 driver market speculation, but after Sky F1 podcast host Matt Baker joked that Bottas is “too busy winning cycling races”, Kravitz picked up on that to throw out an “open question” regarding how that actually makes team bosses perceive the 10-time race winner.

In recent years, Bottas has become an increasingly familiar face on the gravel cycling scene, as well as expanding his business portfolio, having added his own brand of wine, IHANA, to his gin, coffee and property businesses.

Could Formula 1 team principals therefore take that as a sign that Bottas is no longer fully committed to Formula 1, Kravitz ponders.

Kravitz said: “You might have mentioned it in a sort of jokey way, but with a lot of his extracurricular, extra Formula 1 stuff, doing cycling races, is Valtteri sending a strange message or is that message being misinterpreted by the piranha club of team bosses thinking, ‘Oh, well, he doesn’t seem to be very interested in Formula 1 anymore and seems to be loving life more as cycling and doing his coffee and wine and gin and other stuff’.

“Do you think there’s a danger of that? That’s just an open question, because I don’t know.

“I know Valtteri fairly well and I know that he’s very, extremely committed to making the Sauber a faster race car and he loves racing and scoring points. But I wonder if there’s a perception out there that he’s just interested in other stuff now.”

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Former Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins said that if she was scanning the F1 driver market for options, then Bottas’ activities outside F1 are not something that would put her off.

“A happy driver, settled, focused, it’s a fitness thing he’s doing as well, it has got to help him in the car, his reactions and things,” she said.

“It’s not like, okay, maybe not the gym, but cycling is a fitness thing as well. It’s got to be helping him in the car and just having that… you know, some of the drivers that I worked with, the best, had this very outside life, that they could relax, decompress and not be the sole focus on the next event.

“So I think for me, that wouldn’t be off putting if I was looking to recruit them. There’d be other things I’d be looking at.”

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