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F1 | Bottas eager to stay around for Sauber-Audi merge in 2026: "I'm 33 years old, so I hope that I'm going to be there"

With the upcoming merge between Sauber and Audi after Alfa Romeo leaves the grid by the end of 2023, Valtteri Bottas would be keen so stick around and still be a part of the team.

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F1 | Bottas eager to stay around for Sauber-Audi merge in 2026: "I'm 33 years old, so I hope that I'm going to be there"
Fuente imagen: Alfa Romeo Racing

In 2026 the rules of the game will change and with them some teams. Such is the case of current Alfa Romeo, which will become Audi. The German company confirmed last month that it would join forces with Sauber in a piecemeal fashion and will be the power unit supplier in 2026.

Valtteri Bottas joined Alfa Romeo's forces at the beginning of 2022 to replace his compatriot, Kimi Raikkonen, signing a 2-year deal. So far, Bottas has performed decently, sitting 10th in the standings despite a decline in the car's effectiveness through the course of this campaign.

After being with Mercedes for five years and taking the second driver's seat, the Finn finds the option of continuing to drive for a team like the one he is with very attractive, and he still considers himself young, as he said when asked if he would like to stay on when Sauber and Audi merge:

"Why not? I'm 33 years old, so I hope that I'm going to be there."

Driver for car number 77 said it would be very interesting and always motivating to have a new project, and added that he and the team are excited about the potential that the alliance between the Swiss and German giants could achieve.

“I would say yes, because if you look at the big picture, I think it’s huge. There’s big potential for Sauber with Audi.

“No doubt they want to succeed in the future. They want to do well and show they’re serious.

“So, I think for any driver on the grid, especially for me now being already part of Sauber, it would be very interesting to be part of that project. I definitely think it’s possible.”

Despite a strong start to the season, the car’s performance has slipped and Bottas accepts that Alfa Romeo has a lot of work to do to be competitive, but is confident that the arrival of the German giant could help the team close the gap to the teams at the front of the grid:

"There's still work to do, no doubt. That's the fact. But it's not that far, you know, the facilities are there.

"But with the support of a manufacturer like Audi I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible."

Bottas added that the car's development will depend heavily on Audi's level of involvement with the team before it starts making its engines in 2026:

"I think [the timeline] depends on how much Audi is going to support this team before they officially come as a manufacturer. But then I think it depends on the support from 2024 onwards."

"If [Audi] are willing to support, if they're really helping a lot and supporting and if the power unit is good for 2026, which is impossible to predict at the moment, then why not." 

The Finn concluded by adding that we have to concentrate on the present and that he hopes that in 2023 Alfa Romeo can have a more competitive car than the current season:

"Obviously, nothing changes for next year. We're still with Alfa Romeo. And of course, we hope that we can have a better car than this year."

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