Valtteri Bottas quizzed on sacrificing the ‘moustache’ for Lewis Hamilton’s race seat

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas, bleached mullet and moustache

Valtteri Bottas says the tach and mullet 'can go' for a Mercedes seat

Such is Valtteri Bottas’ desire to fight for podiums and victories, the Finn concedes his mullet and moustache “can go” if that’s what’s standing between him and a return to Mercedes.

Bottas spent five years with Mercedes from 2017 to 2021, and won 10 Grands Prix with the Silver Arrows before joining Sauber, then Alfa Romeo, in 2022.

Valtteri Bottas: I believe that the hair and moustache can go

Never mind wins and podiums, points have been hard to come by with the Finn scoring just 10 last season as the team slumped to ninth in the standings.

But while his results have taken a hit since leaving Mercedes, Bottas’ personal life has flourished with the driver embracing his girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell’s home country, Australia, and all that goes along with being an Aussie.

Google ‘inner Aussie with mullet and moustache’ and the very first photographs are of Bottas with his mullet, moustache, and an Aussie beer in hand. That mullet has even gone bleached blonde this year.

But would Bottas give it up, along with the tash for a return to the more corporate Mercedes?

“Well, that would be a pretty bad demand!” he told Ilta Sanomat with a laugh. “Of course, if we’re talking about success and being able to get back to fighting for podiums and victories, then yes, I believe that the hair and moustache can go.

“But I believe that they [Mercedes] have also perhaps learned something new about me, that I don’t think they would demand it.

“From my side, it would be more about what kind of note it would be. It would depend more on that.”

Asked whether he’d be open to returning to Mercedes, he replied: “Well, in this sport you can never say that it is not possible. Anything is possible in this sport, but hey… well, that’s all.”

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Bottas, like many others in the world of motorsport including Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, was surprised by Hamilton’s decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari.

“Well, it certainly surprised everyone,” he said. “Especially the timing was quite surprising.

“But when you think about it, he is probably approaching his last years in Formula 1 and maybe noticed that there might be the last chances to change.

“I think he’s got a pretty good deal there, so why not. However, it is Lewis’ own decision and he is certainly excited about this change. It’s definitely an interesting thing for him. But of course, it surprised me.”

He acknowledges Hamilton’s decision will have a big impact on the driver market with Carlos Sainz the first to feel the impact as he’s now in search of a new team for the 2025 season.

“I believe that Lewis’ transfer has already set things in motion,” said Bottas. “There are quite a few teams that do not yet have a pair of drivers locked in until 2025.

“I believe this will bring more movement. Not right away, but even in the next few months it can start to happen. That’s why you yourself have to be pretty awake to what’s going on here.”

Whether it could see him leaving Sauber, soon to be Audi, the Finn isn’t saying.

“Today, the fact is that the contract is until the end of this year. We have not yet discussed the continuation with the team, but we will discuss this in the coming months.

“Let’s focus now on this early season and the first aces, but if we find a suitable interval, we’ll talk.

“The year always goes by quickly and if you leave things too late, it’s usually not a good thing in this sport. Wait and see. And as I said, there will definitely be movement in the market. At the same time, I have to monitor it a bit as well.”

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