Bottas On Prospect Of Replacing Hamilton At Mercedes: 'No Burned Bridges'

by Adam OndrikTuesday, 06 February 2024 at 18:00
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Valtteri Bottas suggested he might be one of the candidates for the second seat in Mercedes from season 2025, though he has different priorities.
Valtteri Bottas is one of Sauber/ Stake's two drivers in season 2024. The 34-year-old just attended his team's car launch yesterday.
Speaking to the media, the Finn was asked to comment on the fact that he appeared to be in Brackley (where Mercedes's headquarters are) just a day before the announcement of Hamilton leaving for Ferrari. As quoted by Formula 1, he said:

"It’s no lie. I was in Brackley the day before [the announcement] actually, not at Mercedes, but I was there, doing some other stuff."

The Finn has previously been a Mercedes driver. He drove for Silver Arrows for five seasons in years 2017-2021. This means he knows the team very well and could potentially be a fitting replacement for the seven-time World Champion.
However, he revealed he has not spoken to his former team principal, Toto Wolff, so far. Moreover, Bottas asserted his priorities lie with a different team.

"No, we haven’t spoken on the phone yet with Toto. If I would go back? Yeah… obviously my priority and biggest commitment is the Audi project [for 2026], which is my target."

While he would love to be part of the Audi project, the team has not yet extended his contract, so the Finn's future is uncertain at the moment.
He revealed in the past that if the deal with Stake and Audi didn't go through, he would be open to driving for any team. In relation to Mercedes, Bottas hinted there are "no burnt bridges."

"If that wouldn’t happen then there’s no team I wouldn’t go [to], let’s say, perhaps. But I know my priorities and I’ve got my list. As far as I know, [there are] no burnt bridges [at Mercedes]."