Valtteri Bottas tipped for shock Mercedes return: “They want a driver for one year”

Could Valtteri Bottas make a sensational return to Mercedes for 2025?

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Preparation
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian…

1997 F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has tipped Valtteri Bottas to make a return to Mercedes on a one-year deal for 2025.

Mercedes are still undecided on which driver will partner George Russell following Lewis Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari.

Hot prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli is understood to be the front runner, while Toto Wolff remains hopeful he can persuade Max Verstappen to leave Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz has been mentioned, although it’s unlikely the current Ferrari driver would want to take a one-year deal.

Another name in the mix is now Bottas.

Bottas spent five years at Mercedes before joining Sauber for 2022.

The Finn led Sauber (under the Alfa Romeo guise) to their best championship finish of sixth in 2022 with a run of strong results in the first part of the season.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Sauber on the drivers' parade. Formula 1 World
(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN)…

Since then, the Swiss-based outfit has struggled for development, meaning they’ve slipped back in the pecking order.

Speaking on Sky Sports F1, Villeneuve made an outlandish claim that Bottas will likely return to Mercedes to give Antonelli the chance to make his debut with a lesser team.

Villeneuve was asked for his thoughts on the 2025 F1 driver market, he said: “Williams [for Sainz]. Nobody really wants to go there [Haas]. The ones that are without a drive will jump at it. I guess Bottas will go to Mercedes. They want a driver for one year. So who do they take? They take a driver who will take a one-year deal, knows the team, experience, and prepare the seat for Antonelli.”

“And then Toto will have to pay a team to put Antonelli somewhere for a year.”

Karun Chandhok added afterwards: “I think Ollie Bearman will be at Haas. The team rate him highly. The second seat is up for grabs but Ocon is on the market. I am sure Bottas, Zhou, they’re knocking on the door, so one of those.

“I am interested in Jacques theory - I haven’t heard that before, the Bottas one. Maybe you know something we don’t?

Villeneuve concluded: “No, no. It’s just a feeling.”

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