Bottas dropping hints on a shock return to Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish Formula 1 driver currently with Sauber, has sparked speculation about a potential return to Mercedes for the 2025 season, following news of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari. With his contract at Sauber nearing its end and the team gearing up for its future collaboration with Audi in 2026, Bottas finds himself at a career crossroads, with his seat potentially being eyed by other drivers such as Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg.

Despite the swirling rumors, Bottas has made it clear that his focus remains on the Audi project, emphasizing his commitment to what lies ahead. “My priority and biggest commitment is the Audi project, which is my target,” he stated, underlining his dedication to his current team’s future endeavors.

However, Bottas has intriguingly hinted at a possible interest in rejoining Mercedes, his former team, through social media activities that raised eyebrows. A notable post showed him sitting by his phone just as the news of Hamilton’s departure broke, followed by another post tagged in Brackley, the town home to Mercedes’ F1 operations. Bottas humorously acknowledged his presence in Brackley, albeit for reasons unrelated to Mercedes: “It’s no lie,” he laughed. “I was in Brackley the day before. Not at Mercedes but I was there, doing some other stuff.”

While the young talent Kimi Antonelli is seen as a strong contender for Hamilton’s soon-to-be-vacant seat under the guidance of Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, opinions within the F1 community suggest Mercedes might opt for a more experienced driver alongside George Russell. Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, expressed to La Gazzetta dello Sport that Mercedes should consider pairing Russell with a driver who brings a wealth of experience rather than another young talent.

Wolff himself has vouched for Russell’s capability as a team leader, potentially opening the door for Bottas to reprise his role at Mercedes, where he achieved all ten of his Grand Prix victories. “We haven’t spoken on the phone yet with Toto,” Bottas revealed, leaving room for speculation. “Would I go back? Yeah. If that wouldn’t happen then there’s no team I wouldn’t go to, let’s say,” he added, highlighting his openness to various opportunities while maintaining a clear set of priorities and affirming that no bridges have been burnt with his former team.

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