What’s next for Valtteri Bottas? Is retirement his best option?

With news of Nico Hulkenberg’s arrival at Sauber for 2025, where does that leave Valtteri Bottas?

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Race Day.-
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese…

The writing is on the wall for Valtteri Bottas following news Nico Hulkenberg will become Audi’s first F1 driver in 2025.

It comes as no surprise with rumours of Hulkenberg joining the Swiss outfit a regular occurrence in recent motnsh.

Since returning to F1 with Haas in 2023, Hulkenberg has been one of the midfield’s star performers, particularly for his dazzling qualifying displays.

While there is still one seat available at Sauber next year, CEO Andreas Seidl has Carlos Sainz top of his wishlist.

Seidl is prepared to wait for Sainz as the Spaniard is keen to see whether Red Bull retain Sergio Perez or Mercedes have an opening if they decide against Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

This leaves Bottas - and Zhou Guanyu out of a drive for 2025.

In Bottas’ case at least, it does seem unjustified given that the Finn’s performances so far in 2024 have been close to his best.

Zhou Guanyu (CHN) Sauber with team mate Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand
Zhou Guanyu (CHN) Sauber with team mate Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber…

Bottas is on a run of nine consecutive wins over Zhou in qualifying - only Alex Albon and Max Verstappen are on better streaks against their teammate - and the former Mercedes driver would have likely scored points on at least two occasions this year had it not been for poor reliability or slow pit stops.

The true level of Bottas’ performances have been masked by Sauber’s lack of pace over the last 13 months, while Zhou isn’t a competitive benchmark to compare him with.

Staying at Sauber seems to be completely off the table, with them eyeing up Alpine duo Pierre Gasly or Esteban Ocon if Sainz decides a move to Switzerland isn’t for him.

So where could Bottas end up?


Haas’ look certain to be signing Oliver Bearman for 2025.

Bearman starred in his one-off appearance for Saudi Arabia, combined with Haas’ Ferrari links.

Alongside Bearman, Haas will be keen to have an experienced driver alongside him to lead the team - but also nurture him.

Haas could retain Kevin Magnussen, who has been racing for them since 2017 (2021 aside).

If fancy a change - and an upgrade on Magnussen - then Bottas would be a good choice.

Bottas is a great team player and helped Zhou a lot during his rookie year back in 2022.

Bottas has the edge on Magnussen in terms of pace while lacking the Dane’s combative nature.


A return to back where his F1 career started could be a possibility for Bottas.

The Finn enjoyed four great seasons at Williams before moving to Mercedes in 2017.

Bottas helped Williams to two consecutive third-place finishes in the constructors’ championship, scoring nine podiums with him.

It would be a poetic end to his F1 career, but more importantly, would give Williams an incredibly strong line-up in the midfield.

Bottas pictured for Williams in 2016
Bottas pictured for Williams in 2016

Bottas alongside Albon would be an incredibly potent pairing, especially with the midfield being so close.

His chances of returning to Williams will ultimately come down to whether Andrea Kimi Antonelli is handed the Mercedes drive or not.

Should Mercedes feel that Antonelli is not ready, he will probably be placed in Williams like George Russell was for a few years.


A leftfield option for Bottas could be Alpine.

Ocon and Gasly are reportedly unhappy with the situation at Alpine and are assessing options elsewhere.

The duo are also on Audi’s wishlist for 2025, meaning a vacancy could open.

While Alpine’s on-track performance is below-par, they are still a works outfit.

Ultimately Bottas to Alpine comes down to whether Gasly or Ocon decide to jump ship.


Bottas has achieved more than most in his F1 career.

10 victories, 20 pole positions and 67 podiums is an impressive set of statistics - what else is there left to achieve?

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR)…

A return to a top team is incredibly unlikely and by joining Williams or Haas, Bottas would be set for a few more years in the midfield.

Given that he’s only 34, and remains blisteringly quick, a move to another motorsport category or simply focused on his passions outside of F1 - coffee and cycling - could be the best move for him.

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