Valtteri Bottas Drops Hint at Conditional Mercedes Return After Lewis Hamilton’s “Big” Ferrari Move

Published 02/06/2024, 7:30 AM EST

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The F1 world was left in shock as Lewis Hamilton decided to activate an exit clause at Mercedes to join Ferrari in 2025. This unexpected decision from the 7-time world champion is likely to bring the driver market to life for the 2024 season. Hamilton will leave behind one of the most sought-after seats in Formula 1 at Mercedes and there are a ton of speculations going around as to who will replace Hamilton. The Brit’s former teammate, Valtteri Bottas has recently confirmed that he would not overlook the option to return to the Brackley-based squad if the situation aligns for that to happen.

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Mercedes needs to confirm a partner for George Russell in 2025 on an urgent basis. And with recent long-term driver contracts locking down the likes of Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris at Ferrari and McLaren respectively, there aren’t many options available for the team. The team will either take a bold move to promote the young Italian, Andrea Kimi Antonelli after just a single season in F2, or they need to find their options on the current grid. And Valtteri Bottas might just be the best option for Mercedes, as they have had a successful relationship in the past.

Valtteri Bottas will consider a move to Mercedes as there are no hard feelings with the team

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Valtteri Bottas, currently driving for the Stake F1 Team, commented on Hamilton’s move during the launch of Sauber’s 2024 car in London. He expressed a level of surprise to see Hamilton going to Ferrari. However, he was optimistic about the driver market shakeup that will result from this move.

As per a recent report from Autosport, Valtteri Bottas said, “I think it’s a great challenge. I’m sure it’s big motivation for him [Lewis Hamilton] to bring Ferrari to the top. So, it’s kind of cool and it will definitely create some movement for the future, which is good for the whole sport and for some drivers, for sure. He also hinted that there’s no love lost between himself and Mercedes for him to consider being a possible replacement for Lewis Hamilton.

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Speaking on whether he has had any contact with the team, Bottas noted, No, we haven’t spoken on the phone yet with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] and if I would go back, yeah… Well, obviously, my priority and biggest commitment is the Audi project, which is my target… But if that wouldn’t happen, then I’m actually there’s no team that I wouldn’t go [to] perhaps. I know my priorities and I’ve got my list.”

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As Bottas gears up for the upcoming season, he believes Sauber needs to make a step forward in 2024.

Bottas indicates the mindset inside the Stake F1 Team is positive

With Audi set to take over the Stake F1 Team in 2026, Sauber is undergoing significant changes, evident by the striking new fluorescent green livery they unveiled yesterday. However, the team massively underachieved in 2023 as they failed to hit their targets. But while he expressed the desire for the team to elevate its performance in 2024, he also acknowledged the positive transformations going on behind the scenes.

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“We need to fix that now, we need to step up our game and do better. Seeing all the changes that have been happening in the team is what gives me this confidence,” said the Finn as reported by Motorsports.com. According to Bottas, the team’s new livery is the symbol of all the changes that are going on with the team. His teammate, Zhou Guanyu, also shared similar sentiments as he spoke about the efforts that had gone behind the scenes to identify areas of improvement and the anticipation around the impending overtake by Audi.

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“Trained Myself to Pain”: Valtteri Bottas Opens Up on Eating Disorder by Dedicating His Life to F1

Do you think Valtteri Bottas should consider returning to Mercedes or place his bets on winning the championship with Audi? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking." Hi there, I am Veer and I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but somehow I never could fit into that mold.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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