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Valtteri Bottas

Bottas rejects Mercedes scenario after Wolff talks

Where Valtteri Bottas ends up for next year is anybody's guess but it won't be Mercedes.

Bottas Austria
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Valtteri Bottas has confirmed holding talks with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff over a possible return but has dismissed the prospect of a one-year deal.

On and off track, Bottas is enduring arguably the most difficult season of his 12-year F1 career as he is struggling in an uncompetitive car that has yet to score a point in 12 grands prix, whilst at the same time trying to find a new team for next term.

After three years with the Sauber organisation, it appears certain Bottas' services are no longer required going forward as the team transitions from its current Stake guise into Audi in 2026.

Nico Hulkenberg has already been signed for next year, with Carlos Sainz still on Audi's radar, although the Spanish driver is mulling over his options, with Williams and Alpine also in the running.

It means Bottas has been forced to hold talks of his own, with Williams and Alpine also a possibility for the 10-time grand prix winner.

Mercedes, where Bottas spent five years before moving to Sauber, could have been an option as it mulls over its plans, with rising star Andrea Kimi Antonelli waiting in the wings.

Bottas, though, has made clear he does not want to keep the Mercedes seat warm for Antonelli for next season before the 17-year-old Italian is promoted in 2026.

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"Filling a place for one year, I don't think that is what I want or need at the moment," said Bottas, speaking to the Mirror.

"For next year, I want something multi-year with a clear plan for the years ahead and [to] work together for that time. I think that's what I need, a good challenge and a clear plan.

"If I just do one year, then you're back to square one again and looking at what's next. I'm good friends with Toto so, of course, we've talked about everything."

Bottas has conceded it "would be nice to have security", as was the case when he joined Sauber following his time at Mercedes where he was constantly on a 12-month rolling contract.

Those three years with Sauber are now approaching the end, however. Bottas added: "I always knew when I signed everything that, in three years, it will be the same thing again.

"It's kind of exciting as well, in the end, if there is a change. I'm fine with the situation, it's been interesting, but I want to get it sorted soon. Then I'll be even happier again."

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