Bottas selects his ‘clear priority’ team for F1 future

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Valtteri Bottas' future in Formula 1 remains a topic of speculation, but the Finn himself suggests he sees one team in particular as his “clear priority”.

Bottas is in the final year of his current contract with Sauber. But all signs point to the ten-time Grand Prix winner not being part of the Swiss outfit’s plans for 2025 when it will begin to ramp up its collaboration with Audi before the latter’s official takeover in 2026.

Last weekend at Imola, Bottas hinted at having alternative options beyond Sauber, suggesting that he was 99% sure of remaining on the grid next year.

His visit to the Williams motorhome and conversation with team boss James Vowles sparked rumors of a potential return to the Grove-based outfit where Bottas kickstarted his F1 career in 2013.

Adding more intrigue, Vowles himself suggested that Williams plans to make news regarding their driver lineup in the coming weeks. This has intensified speculation that Bottas might be part of that announcement.

The Finn acknowledged that his chances of remaining on the grid had not hit 100%, but insists his prospects are still strong.

“No, I said it’s only 100% when the pen hits the paper,” he told the media in Monaco on Thursday.

“So in this sport, that’s how it works. It’s never 100%, but yeah, I’ll still go for 99%.”

“Unfortunately, no news, nothing to add from last weekend. I haven't signed anywhere at the moment.

“I would like [it] to be sorted soon, which is kind of the same thing for the teams I guess, because things are really moving, so hopefully within the next weeks.”

Bottas was tight-lipped about his talks but revealed that he was engaging with several teams across the grid.

However, the former Mercedes driver clearly has a preferred landing spot, but is keeping his cards close to his chest until a deal is finalized.

“I would say we’re not just talking to one team, let’s put it that way,” he explained. “So there are other teams we’re talking to.

“But I have my clear priority for the future, which I’m not going to tell you. But yeah, I have one.”

Despite Sauber’s downbeat start to its 2024 campaign, with no points yet on the Hinwil squad’s board, Bottas remains personally satisfied with his own on-track performances year-to-date.

“Yeah, I’ve been happy,” he said. “As always, the results and performance are quite hidden when you’re towards the back end, unfortunately. And I haven’t been able to score at all. So that’s not great.

“But yeah, the people who know, if you look at the qualifying performances and if you look at the races, yeah, I think I’m performing well.

“That’s how I feel in the car. And especially in the qualifyings, I’ve been happy. But now we need a car that we can get into the points in the race. So that’s now the target.”

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