Bottas Surprised as Contract Expires After Current Season

Audi’s new CEO has revealed that the company is building a power unit for Sauber, a team in which Audi has a stake, and is considering who the drivers will be; Valtteri Bottas, who is contracted until the end of 2025, has expressed interest in staying with Audi, while other potential drivers include Guanyu Zhou, Théo Pourchaire, Nico Hulkenberg, and Carlos Sainz.

Highlights

‣ Audi is developing a power unit for Sauber, a team in which it has a stake, and is considering who will be the team’s drivers.
‣ In 2024 and 2025, future Audi cars will operate under the Stake F1 name, with Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas as drivers.
‣ Bottas, a former Formula 1 vice-world champion, is interested in extending his contract with Audi and considers it his first option.
‣ Other potential drivers for Audi include current driver Guanyu Zhou, reserve driver Théo Pourchaire, Nico Hulkenberg (Haas), and Carlos Sainz, who is currently in contract extension talks with Ferrari.


So, what’s the deal with 2026? Audi’s new CEO has spilled the beans. They’re not sitting idle, that’s for sure. They’re knee-deep in building a power unit. And guess where it’s going? Right into the back of Sauber’s cars. Yeah, that’s the team Audi’s got a piece of now.

And the drivers? They’re thinking hard about that.

Fast forward to 2024 and 2025. Audi cars will be racing under the Stake F1 banner. Guanyu Zhou and Valtteri Bottas will be at the helm. Everyone thought Bottas was locked in till the end of ’25. But, plot twist! In a chat with Motorsport.com, the Finn admits he’s only tied up till the end of the next season. He’s planning to powwow with the team management in early ’24 about extending his stay.

Bottas and Audi, sitting in a tree…

Bottas reckons a new contract for ’25 would likely rope him in for the following year too. That’d be his first year with Audi. The ex-Formula 1 vice-world champ sees Audi as his top pick. “They’re gonna make decisions for the future early this year. Not yet, but soon. I’ll be having those talks in the first quarter of this year,” he spills.

But what if Audi doesn’t re-up his contract? Doesn’t mean Bottas is throwing in the towel on his F1 career. “Audi’s my first choice, hands down. But if that doesn’t pan out, I’m definitely open to other teams. I’ve got some unfinished business in this sport,” he asserts.

Is Sainz on Audi’s radar?

Audi’s got a few names on their shortlist. Besides Bottas, current driver Guanyu Zhou and reserve driver Théo Pourchaire are in the mix. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) and Carlos Sainz are also being whispered about. Sainz is currently negotiating a contract extension with Ferrari. The Italians reportedly want him for ’25 only, but Sainz is keen to stick around longer. Could this be Audi’s chance to swoop in?

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at F1Highlights.com. With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

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