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Valtteri Bottas

Exclusive: Bottas on his future, as a 40-year-old in F1 and Ferrari

Valtteri Bottas is now in his 12th season in Formula 1. However, the Finn is far from finished and is busy looking for a contract for 2025. RacingNews365 speaks exclusively with the 34-year-old Finn.

Bottas Imola race
To news overview © XPBimages

Valtteri Bottas is now a familiar name in Formula 1. In his first four years, he competed for Williams and grabbed podium finishes thanks to the lightning-fast Mercedes engine, before stepping in with the factory team in 2017. 

The Finn replaced the recently retired Nico Rosberg and was up against then three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

At times Bottas was able to make things difficult for the Briton, especially in qualifying, but in the end he had to acknowledge the 39-year-old's superiority. After five years and 10 wins at the Silver Arrows, he sought refuge at Alfa Romeo, which since this year has gone through life as Stake F1. 

His contract expires at the end of this year, so the question is where we will see Bottas driving in 2025. He talks about it at length in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365, ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.

"I think everything is still open. At the moment no door is closed yet," Bottas replied when asked if a contract extension at Stake F1, which will continue as Audi's factory team in 2026, is an option for him. 

"Some teams have already fixed it, but apart from that it is still an open situation. Audi has made it clear they are not rushing things, but at the same time it means I have to look at other options. 

"We're aware of the situation and that's what we're doing now. And that's why this gentleman is hanging around here," Bottas said with a smile on his face. With that, he is referring as a matter of course to his manager.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

'Not interested in one year'

Bottas is the type of driver who wants to know where he is going. "I would like to be involved, but not in such a way that it distracts my race weekend. It's about finding the right balance. But of course I want to be involved because it's about my future, the years ahead of me. 

"So I want to know what's going on. The next time we can talk about it properly is probably Monday, because I have to focus on driving," Bottas explained before the Monaco GP.

When the 34-year-old Finn signed with Alfa Romeo and worked briefly with Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur, he opted for a long-term project, and that is what he aspires to do now. 

"I feel I need that," stressed Bottas. "I need a project with clear goals for the next few years. I'm not interested in a one-year contract just to be in the sport. I want to have something stable with goals that we can pursue together."

Vasseur's name was briefly dropped. The Frenchman now works at Ferrari as team boss and seems to be changing things in the right direction there. Does Bottas think that one person, as was more often the case in the past, can steer a team in a certain direction? 

"I believe so, I think that has been shown in the past," said the Stake F1 driver. "A good leader can organise things well, put people in the right positions, hire new people, and that can make a difference. 

"I think Fred has already shown that it has had a good effect for Ferrari and I think that can be true in the long run. He has shown in every category he has been heavily involved in, like Formula 2 and 3, that they were the best team. 

"It's funny how it goes with some people. I'm not surprised he's managed to do this so quickly at Ferrari."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Until he's 40?

Bottas thus wants to commit himself to Formula 1 for a longer period of time, so that could just mean that the Finn will continue until he is 40. With that said, it is a trend we have seen more often in recent years: F1 drivers who continue their careers for a long time. 

Kimi Raikkonen did not stop until he was 42, Fernando Alonso continues until his mid-40s with his new contract with Aston Martin, and Lewis Hamilton also continues for a few more years. 

Does Bottas have the hunger to continue until that age or does he never think about it? "40 as a number is pretty big," he said. 

"It goes fast, so you never know. But I definitely have many more years to go. Fernando is a great example, although he might be an outlier. It's a motivation to see how well he's still performing."

Thereby, Bottas has another hobby: cycling. To what extent does that help him prolong his career, including physically? "About the physical I'm not worried," he revealed. "I think I'm pretty fit to drive the cars. 

"I have a great passion for cycling, which I think is good. Not only physically, but also mentally. And it's a great way for me to get away from sports. 

"I think I have a very sustainable life and a good balance, where I can disconnect myself on the off weekends and then come to F1 weekends fresh. I can see myself continuing for a very long time without draining the battery."

Also interesting:

Is Ocon's future now in danger after the incident in Monaco? And has the track become too outdated for F1? In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Tune in below!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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