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Bottas sets sights on future Audi 2026 drive

Valtteri Bottas is hoping to remain with the Sauber team to see it's progression into the Audi works team, which officially commences in 2026.

Valtteri Bottas has set his sights on a race seat with the Audi works team as they gradually increase their F1 involvement towards 2026. Over the course of the summer, it was announced that Audi would join Formula 1 as a power unit supplier for the start of the new power unit regulations in 2026. Audi then further committed to the sport by announcing their investment plans for the Sauber team , which would eventually see the Swiss team become the Audi works team for 2026. Sauber's current partnership with Alfa Romeo will end before the 2024 season. With F1 success often linked with investment from car manufacturers, current Alfa Romeo-Sauber driver Bottas expressed his desire to stay for the evolution of the project. "Why not? I'm 33 years old now, so I hope that I'm going to be there," Bottas told media, including RacingNews365.com . Bottas was asked if there was added motivation at the team because of the Audi announcement. "I would say yes because, if you look at the big picture, I think it's huge. You know, there's big potential for Sauber with Audi," added Bottas. "No doubt they want to succeed in the future. They want to do well and show they're serious. "I think for any driver on the grid, especially for me now being already part of Sauber, it would be very interesting to be part of that project, if it's possible."

Bottas pinpoints immediate Sauber shortcomings

The Alfa Romeo-backed Sauber team have frequently had one of the smaller budgets on the grid and, in recent seasons, have often competed in the lower half of the midfield. When asked about the areas that the Sauber team are lacking, Bottas believed that minor investments in staff and facilities would go a long way at the Hinwil-based team. "It's not that far, you know, the facilities are there, yes. Still, some facilities, some machinery can be better compared to a championship-winning team, but it's all feasible," commented Bottas. "The amount of people in the team is still a bit less than at least what I saw last year, so there's still a bit of work to do." When asked about the financial requirements to bring the Sauber team forward, Bottas pointed towards the team's difficulty in manufacturing their updates this season. "Money? I think that's better question for [Team Principal] Fred [Vasseur], but I believe that there would be still a bit of margin to get fully on the cap, and there's obviously other areas that you can still spend," added Bottas. "Yes, I would say people. For me what I've seen, mainly, that I mentioned before, it's the production. "It could be a lot faster than what it is now, which would then help with the in-season development."