Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he hasn’t yet spoken to Sauber or Audi about 2026, when the German manufacturer will merge with the Hinwil-based side, following a 75% takeover.
Bottas is currently contracted to Sauber until the end of 2024, having joined the team on a multi-year deal at the start of 2022.
The 34-year-old joined Alfa Romeo/Sauber at the start of last season after leaving Mercedes, with George Russell having taken his place alongside Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas has performed well for Alfa Romeo, but he’s failed to really shine.
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu has arguably performed better, given how inexperienced he is compared to Bottas.
Whilst his performances haven’t been anything to write home about, Bottas’ experience would be very useful for Audi, with him expecting talks to be “happening soon”.
“We haven’t still spoken about ’26,” Bottas told the media including PlanetF1.com.
“I think those discussions are probably going to be happening soon. I think naturally when nothing is confirmed for some years there’s always speculation. So let’s see.
“It’s still a bit early for anyone to commit to ’26 so we’ll see.”
However, Audi are reportedly more interested in Carlos Sainz, someone who appears to already be looking towards the new power unit regulations.
It was reported that Sainz signed a “pre-contract” with the team for 2026, should he not remain at Ferrari.
The Spaniard’s team though, have insisted that, “Plan A is Ferrari. Plan B is Ferrari and plan C also remains Ferrari.”
When put to Bottas that Sainz was already thinking about 2026, the Finn admitting that “rumours” are always flying around.
“You know, there’s always rumours,” said the Finn.
Having raced for the Silver Arrows during their dominant spell, Bottas understands what it takes to be superior.
As a result, he can understand how Red Bull are currently feeling, given that they are clear of every team.
Despite this, Bottas admitted that he thought the gap between Red Bull and the likes of Mercedes would’ve reduced by now.
“I would have imagined by now with this new regulations that the gaps would be smaller at the top,” he said.
“But I think the new regs are still going to be more effective in the years to come with limitations on the wind tunnel testing, etc. So let’s give it still one or two more years. And then we’ll see.”