Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas has stated his intent to continue with the team when it reverts back to Sauber in 2024.
The Italian car manufacturer has communicated to the Sauber Group that it intends to end their partnership at the end of next season, and the Swiss side are then expected to continue under their original name for two seasons.
The Alfa Romeo re-brand, which was set in motion by a name partnership in 2018, should be enough for the team to sustain themselves financially, before more changes are set for 2026.
Audi have confirmed that they are entering the pinnacle of motorsport in four years, and Sauber are all but certain to be subject to a buyout.
Unlike with Alfa Romeo, this change will mean that Sauber will disappear, and the operation will be run in Germany, not Switzerland.
Bottas will be 35 by the start of the 2026 season, so he still has several years left in the sport if he wants them, and he indicated that he does.
“I really feel at this moment like why not? I am really enjoying it. I still feel like I can drive fast and in the future, I don’t see any reason why not,” he said, quoted by GPFans.
“I still feel I have lots to give for the sport, obviously, you never know how you will feel in two or three years’ time but at least for now, I am really enjoying the whole F1, how high the sport is at this moment.
“The atmosphere at every race weekend is great, I am in a nice team and also the work/life balance is great for me and I feel like I can keep going for quite a long time.”
Bottas raced with Mercedes for five years before his arrival in Zurich, and he won 10 grand prix as he helped the German side to five straight Constructors’ Championships.
Audi’s programme will see Formula 1 engines made in Germany for the first time since 2009, when Toyota were last in F1 – Mercedes make their engines in Brixworth.
The Finn has plenty of experience working with factory teams and privateer teams, having raced with Williams for the first four seasons of his career, and he would be open to switching back to a works team again.
“I haven’t really thought that far. Also why not?” said Bottas when quizzed about it.
“But this is the project I am in now, I want to get us as a team closer to the top and then we will see.”
Bottas recognises that Alfa Romeo do not have the man and womanpower that other teams on the grid possess, but still reckons the Swiss side can develop into race winners.
“In terms of how the factory is and the people we have at the moment, yes it can be [a winning team again], but the fact is there are some teams that have more working power, more people,” he explained.
“I believe we are still slightly below the budget cap, and we are lacking a bit of human power at the production, which means that if there are bits that are drawn and tested that are faster.
“We just cannot make them fast enough, that means there is more potential, I think we are getting there.
“And from what I have seen of the wind tunnel and the factory and the facilities, there is nothing that would indicate it is not possible to win.”
Bottas currently sits 10th in the Drivers’ Standings having scored points seven times in his debut Alfa Romeo season.
He celebrated his 33rd birthday at the Belgian Grand Prix, but was wiped out early on by Nicholas Latifi.