Bottas points to F1 record as he looks to secure a seat next year: ‘People’s memories are short’

Photo Credit: Sauber
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2024 marks the twelfth season in Formula One for Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas. The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and is looking to secure another multi-year deal following his move from Mercedes to the Hinwill-based squad at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

There has been quite a bit of movement in the driver market already. Carlos Sainz is leaving Scuderia Ferrari at the end of 2024, and he will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton in one of the most extraordinary driver transfers ever seen in F1.

As the Finn has stated on many occasions, his priority is to be involved in the Audi project when they start in 2026. He has his management team working on things behind the scenes as they look to secure a drive for Bottas next year.

“It’s going to be interesting, and I would imagine things will start to move relatively soon, because there are many contracts that are expiring, including myself.

“So of course I want to have a good beginning of the year, and then we’ll see.

“And of course the people behind me are already working on it, finding what are the best options, what are the opportunities, and I just need to do the driving now. 

“My priority, as I’ve said before, would be to get involved in the Audi project. I think for me that’s really tempting and ideal, let’s say, but let’s wait and see.”

Pushed on whether he has started discussions with Audi F1 CEO and former McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl, Bottas says they have not talked yet about 2025 onwards.

“We are going to speak eventually, it’s not yet.

“And of course Audi will be involved in the driver pairing as well for the future, but that’s not yet when they’re going to decide.

“And like I said as well, people behind me are working on those things, but this is not yet the weekend to have those meetings with them, it’s going to be more in the future, but hopefully not too late.”

Following the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Bottas has made 224 starts in Formula One. During that period, he has secured 10 wins, 20 poles and 67 podiums.

However, after a strong start to life at Sauber in 2022, the team has regressed quite a bit. Uncompetitive machinery and slow stops has blighted them.

The C44 has failed to get out of Q1 this year so far in the hands of both drivers. They have also not threatened the points in the first two events.

As well as feeling he has nothing to prove to Sauber/Audi and other teams, the Finnish driver was keen to point out his record in Formula One because he thinks people’s memories can be quite short and they prefer to focus on the here and now.

“I feel like I have nothing to prove, but of course in this sport you always want to keep proving yourself, because people’s memory is short.

“And we had a difficult year last year, I probably wasn’t that visible on track, sometimes fighting towards the back end.

“So hopefully people don’t forget what I’ve been able to achieve, which is I believe 67 podiums and 20 poles, etc. There’s not that many drivers on the grid who are going to be free with those numbers.”

Expanding a little bit further, Bottas admits the short-term memories of people is giving him extra motivation for the 2024 campaign.

“I mean, like I said, I’m motivated for a good, strong start of the year, and the whole year of course. But there’s an extra motivation for me in case people have forgotten what I can do.”