Why undervalued Valtteri Bottas deserves to be on the 2025 F1 grid

With Audi seemingly not interested in keeping Valtteri Bottas on the grid for 2025, does the Finn deserve a seat elsewhere?

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne,
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3,…

Valtteri Bottas could be forced into F1 retirement at the end of 2024 with Audi looking at alternative options.

Nico Hulkenberg has already been announced as the German brand’s first F1 driver, making the switch to Sauber from Haas for 2025.

According to a number of sources, Audi have Carlos Sainz at top of their wishlist, while Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are thought to be ahead of Bottas in the running to be Hulkenberg’s teammate.

This leaves Bottas with a limited amount of options - and it’s a case of being patient for now.

There’s at least one seat at Haas alongside Oliver Bearman, who is expected to be handed his full-time F1 debut in 2025, while Williams will be keen to upgrade Logan Sargeant.

Alpine could be a possibility should either Ocon or Gasly decide to jump ship.

Speaking in China, Bottas revealed that he has “options” outside of staying at Sauber/Audi for 2025.

“No. There are options. I have the feeling that things will start soon,” he said.

But why is Bottas a good choice? 

Debunking the myths around Bottas

One criticism put towards Bottas and his stint at Sauber is that he’s ‘struggling to beat Zhou Guanyu’ or he’s ‘packed it in’ like Kimi Raikkonen towards the end of his F1 career.

Bottas is on a remarkable qualifying streak against his teammate, only bettered by Max Verstappen and Alex Albon against Sergio Perez and Logan Sargeant respectively.

The former Mercedes driver has out-qualified Zhou at the last nine consecutive races - his best run against the Chinese driver during their time together as teammates.

Even on race day, Bottas’ performances have warranted points but lady luck - like for much of his F1 career - hasn’t been on his side.

Bottas was in contention for a points finish in Australia and Japan but slow pit stops curtailed his chances of finishing inside the top 10.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber C44. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint and
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber C44. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5,…

It was a similar story in China having overtaken Hulkenberg in the first stint of the race.

He lost out to Hulkenberg through the pit stops before retiring from the race due to an engine-related issue.

Better pit stops and reliability being on Bottas’ side could make the championship standings very different.

Despite his off-track interests, motivation to be in F1 remains sky high.

Ahead of the season, he said: "So you know, you have to be. Especially when it's a new season and based on what I've seen throughout the winter and the progress and all things new. I am motivated.

“I really want to have a strong season and when you are going into your contract year, let's say, you also want to be able to show what you can do.”

Bottas is performing close to his best at Sauber but factors outside of his control are stopping him from achieving the results his performances deserve.

A team player

As Bottas looks to find another team for 2025, one of his big qualities is the ability to be a great team player.

Whether that was alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes or supporting teammate Zhou, Bottas is happy to play the team game.

Reflecting on his relationship with Zhou in 2022, Bottas explained why it’s been easy to help his less experienced teammate.

“It comes quite naturally, like sometimes I try to think like, all the new things that he’s facing as a rookie, whether it’s about the race start or tyre management or set up-direction,” Bottas said.

Zhou Guanyu (CHN) Sauber and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir,
Zhou Guanyu (CHN) Sauber and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World…

“It’s just like, if I see him struggling in one area, then I just try to give my feedback.  But he’s also really good when there are things that are kind of concerning or he is unsure about, whether it’s about set-up or driving, he always asks.

“It makes it very easy for me just to give an honest answer and with my best experience. So, he’s been good at asking questions. And also learning things very quickly.

“For him, it’s good to see that at the moment his racecraft and race pace, that’s his strength. In qualifying, in that one single lap, there’s still work to do. But that comes with experience.

“And I want us to be a really strong pair of team-mates. So that’s why I want to help him because I want both of us scoring points.”

Given that it’s incredibly likely Haas will have a rookie in one of their cars in 2025, having Bottas alongside them could be a useful help. 

Read More