Valtteri Bottas is looking to secure a long-term contract extension with Alfa Romeo ahead of a crucial transitional period for the Swiss-based outfit.
Audi’s pending takeover is already taking shape from a structural perspective, with changes to senior personnel taking place – as seen with the appointment of Andreas Seidl to CEO.
Much like in previous seasons, Alfa Romeo finds itself firmly in the midfield at the start of 2023 – capable of finishing in the top 10 but little more.
This is generally unsurprising but still emphasises the work that lies ahead for Audi to establish the necessary infrastructure for the Hinwil squad to compete at the front.
Such a process, despite Aston Martin’s rapid development over the last 12 months, will take several years as Audi develops its power units.
Returning to Valtteri Bottas, whether the 33-year-old is in the team’s plans for the future is still unclear.
Speaking with Tom Clarkson, the Finnish driver explained his vision for the upcoming years of his F1 career:
“I’m still more than happy to do it for quite a long time”, Bottas explained on ‘Beyond the Grid’.
“But I’ll tell you when I’m 39 if I go for 40! It’s hard to commit to at the moment, but I still have many, many years for sure.
“I’m still young compared to some. I’m 33. I still don’t see my Formula 1 career ending in the near future.
“And I don’t feel any performance losses on my driving or the way I work with the team.
“It is interesting for the whole race team and company what is happening. Of course, being part of a car manufacturer is something that you almost need if you want to win in Formula 1.”
Valtteri Bottas’ performances have somewhat plateaued in the last twelve months, with Zhou Guanyu closing the gap to his more experienced teammate.
It should be noted that the Finnish driver’s performance in Bahrain secured crucial points for Alfa Romeo, and he largely optimised last year’s package in the early rounds when it was still competitive.
The key is whether Alfa Romeo has confidence that Bottas can lead the team and push it further up the grid – or if they will opt for another driver to spearhead the charge.
No clear candidates have emerged to replace Bottas for 2024 or beyond, but what direction Alfa Romeo and Audi want to pursue with their driver lineup remains to be seen.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang