Audi's announcement that they will partner with Sauber from 2026 was a major announcement last week, but that's still three years into the future.
Valtteri Bottas - lead driver for the team currently operating under the Alfa Romeo name until the end of 2023 - says that Audi can't wait that long to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty if they want to hit the ground running.
“There’s big potential for Sauber with Audi," Bottas told the media in Mexico City. “For this team in the end, if you look at the big picture, I think it’s huge.
“No doubt they want to succeed in the future. They want to do well, they’re serious," he insisted. “[But] it depends how much Audi is going to support this team before they officially become the manufacturer.
"Obviously nothing changes next year, we are still with Alfa Romeo, and of course we hope that we can have a better car than this year.
“But then I think it depends on the support from 2024 onwards, how much they’re willing to support.
"If they’re really helping a lot and supporting, and if the power unit is good in 2026 which is impossible to predict at the moment, then why not?”
Bottas moved to the team at the beginning of the year after losing his seat with Mercedes n what is described as a 'multi-year- deal.
After a strong start to the season the team's fortunes have flagged, but Bottas did pick up a point in Mexico after finishing in tenth. They are currently sixth in the constructors standings but Aston Martin are only four points behind.
He sees that as proof of the progress made by the team, and made it clear that he wants to remain with the squad into the Audi era.
“There’s still work to do no doubt, that’s a fact, but it’s not like that far," he insisted. "All the facilities are there. Some facilities, some machinery, can still be better compared to a championship-winning team.
"The amount of people in the team is still a bit less than what I saw last year, so there’s still a bit of work to do. But I think with the support of a manufacturer like Audi I see no reason why it wouldn’t be possible.
"I think for any driver on the grid and especially for me now being already part of Sauber it would be very interesting to be part of that project.
“I’m now 33, I still feel like I have things to learn,” he told the Formula1.com website. “I can still be faster than now. I feel like I have a lot to give to F1 so I’m planning to stick around for a while.
“I’m really open about my future. I like the US and there are many interesting categories including IndyCar, but that’s not yet," he said when asked about his plans. "Most likely I would see myself with Audi if that’s possible."
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