Bottas expecting 'more corporate' environment at Sauber with Audi

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Valtteri Bottas says he expects a "more corporate" atmosphere to set in at Sauber once Audi takes over, which will likely force him to rein in some of his light-hearted content on social media.

Audi is in the process of acquiring a majority stake in the Sauber Group to support its entry into Formula 1 at the start of the 2026 season in the wake of the sport's regulation changes.

But the German manufacturer will start ramping up its involvement with Sauber as soon as next season when the Swiss outfit shed its Alfa Romeo identity and races under its own name.

Bottas is contracted to Sauber until the end of 2024, but the Finn is keen to be part of Audi's project. However, that could imply a few adjustments for the ten-time Grand Prix winner's social media channels.

The 33-year-old rarely uses his accounts to share updates on his F1 career, but rather provides insights into his off-track activities, like his passion for cycling or the wilderness.

But the Alfa Romeo charger also often loves to put an irreverent or tongue-in-cheek twist on his stories.

From bathing nude in a Colorado river to showing up to media day in Melbourne sporting a mullet and wearing a tank-top, Bottas fears that some of his antics might not go down well with Audi.

"No doubt it will get more corporate with a big brand coming in," said the Finn when asked about a potential change of environment in Hinwil.

"But if that brings results, then I don't mind, just change a bit of the team culture and the free atmosphere for a more competitive part.

"I don't feel like I need to change myself. I am who I am. And I want to be who I am always. Of course, with a bigger company some things that I share in social media, I might have to do a second thought on things, but that's okay.

"As long as I can still have my fun, which I believe is good for me. That's the main thing."

Since switching to Sauber/Alfa Romeo, Bottas has undeniably enjoyed more personal freedom than with Mercedes. But the F1 veteran says his relaxed demeanor these days in F1 isn't just down to a more laid back atmosphere.

"I think it's a combination of a few things," he said. "For sure I would never imagine doing stuff like that for example in my rookie year. People would be like, well what's that?


"But I think once you've been around a bit more, you get comfortable with things. I just don't take social media seriously anymore. I'm more than happy to make fun out of myself and do that kind of stuff.

"And people love it, they can kind of relate, he's just a normal guy who has a sense of humour. It's fun to share stuff like that. There are many things affecting it for sure, team environment, bit of stability, everything.”

"Obviously when you change the team, the whole environment changes, it's new people, it's a different culture also from the different country the team is from.

"For sure there's always extra pressure when you're fighting for the world titles. No doubt that makes an effect.

"Obviously, it's a smaller team as well than where I was before. There are certain elements like that. But also from my side I've grown so much from the past."

Bottas says his off-track activities are what keep him "fresh mentally" in the midst of F1's constraints and demands.

"For me, when I come to races, I'm always fresh mentally, and I'm always really keen to get back into it," he explained.

"So I think if your life is 24/7 F1, nothing else, then it becomes a bit of a grind.

"But I feel at least for me, it works that once I allow myself to kind of disconnect for some time, and when I come back again I feel like I have more battery reserves.

"I think on track, I've never changed, when I work with a team, then I properly work. And obviously getting here now it's time to be serious, and a bit less playing around.

"That side of things has never really changed. I've always taken driving and working with a team seriously. And now it's time to perform."

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