Bottas rejects Mercedes scenario after Wolff talks

Bottas rejects Mercedes scenario after Wolff talks

Valtteri Bottas has confirmed he is in talks with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff over a possible return but dismissed the prospect of a one-year deal.

On and off the track, Bottas is enduring arguably the most difficult season of his 12-year F1 career, as he struggles with an uncompetitive car that has yet to score a point in 12 grands prix, while trying to find a new team for next season.

After three years within the Sauber organisation, it appears that Bottas’ services will no longer be required in the future, as the team will switch from its current Stakes form to Audi in 2026.

Nico Hulkenberg has already been signed for next year, while Carlos Sainz remains on Audi’s radar, although the Spanish driver is considering his options, with Williams and Alpine also in the running.

This means Bottas has been forced to conduct his own negotiations, with Williams and Alpine also considered a possibility for the ten-time Grand Prix winner.

Mercedes, where Bottas spent five years before joining Sauber, could have been an option as it mulls its plans, with rising star Andrea Kimi Antonelli waiting in the wings.

Bottas has made it clear, however, that he does not want to keep the Mercedes seat warm for Antonelli for next season before the 17-year-old Italian is promoted in 2026.

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“To fill a position for a year, I don’t think that’s what I want or need at the moment,” Bottas said, speaking to the Mirror.

“For next year I want something multi-year with a clear plan for the coming years and (to) work together during this period. I think that’s what I need, a good challenge and a clear plan.

“If I only do one year, then I’m back to square one and see what comes next. I’m a good friend of Toto’s, so of course we’ve talked about everything.”

Bottas conceded that “it would be nice to have security”, as was the case when he joined Sauber after his stint at Mercedes where he was on a permanent 12-month renewable contract.

But those three years with Sauber are now coming to an end. Bottas added: “I always knew when I signed everything I had, that in three years it would be the same again.

“It’s also quite exciting, in the end, if there is a change. I’m happy with the situation, it’s interesting, but I want to solve the problem quickly. Then I’ll be even happier again.”