Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas is pleased to see the eagerness of Porsche and Audi to enter Formula 1, but concedes he would like to see more than 10 teams on the grid.
Audi and Porsche have confirmed their interest in entering the pinnacle of motorsport, but with slightly different intentions to what were initially reported.
It was perceived that they would be working together to supply powertrains for both Red Bull and McLaren, but it has transpired that Porsche will be making engines and gearboxes for Red Bull, while Audi would like to join up with Sauber.
This is in contrast to the suppositions that Audi were interested in buying McLaren, as they were falsely rumoured to have agreed to late in 2021.
It would not be the first time Peter Sauber’s motorsport group has been taken over, and the Swiss’ partnerships have not always been successful.
The current Alfa Romeo team is more than holding its own in F1, and they have reached a point of financial stability that it was feared they might never manage a few years ago, but memories of BMW will almost certainly remain.
BMW took over the Sauber team ahead of the 2006 season and, over the following four years claimed 69 points finishes between a combination of Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve, Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel.
They also achieved seven podiums between the Heidfeld and his Kubica, with the Pole taking victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.
That was one of seven podiums, but nine more points finishes would follow in 2009 as the team struggled to get into the top eight under the technical regulations introduced that year.
Evidently displeased with the unfortunate dip in form, BMW left Sauber high and dry ahead of the 2010 season, and four podiums between Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi in 2012 preceded a rotten five years before Alfa Romeo’s arrival in 2018.
Caution may therefore be advised for both parties, but Bottas has expressed his interest in a possible partnership with Audi.
“I think it’s great news. I think it would actually be nice to see more teams in Formula 1 at the moment,” he said.
“There’s obviously still only 10. I remember, as a kid watching Formula 1, and the grid was much bigger and I think this makes it even more exciting. So yeah, more than welcome.”
There are currently four manufacturers in Formula 1 – Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault – but the Japanese giants are not officially recognised as being in the sport due to Red Bull’s own branding of the power unit.
Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton would be happy to see more diversity on the grid regarding the volume of manufacturers, given that the Silver Arrows have three customer teams, and Ferrari two, and indicates that it would make for a more competitive field.
“I mean I knew about it a long time ago already,” he explained.
“So I think it’s great that we’re going to get new manufacturers within the sport, especially as you see there are a lot of teams that have the potential to be top teams but are our customer teams and so I think it’s going to be great moving forward and so we welcome them in.”
It is said that Porsche and Audi will enter F1 in 2026 at the end of the current engine freeze, by such time Red Bull will have decided whether they are to continue with their current plan to design and manufacture their own power units out of Milton Keynes.