Valtteri Bottas admits he needs to perform “this season” if he stands a chance of racing a works Audi in 2026.
So far in 2023, the former Mercedes driver has struggled at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo, with some insiders questioning whether the fire still burns within him.
“Valtteri is significantly more relaxed than when he was driving for Mercedes,” the Finn’s girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell is quoted by Ilta Sanomat newspaper.
“Before, he was really anxious after a bad race, really beating himself up. But Valtteri doesn’t take himself too seriously anymore.”
Nonetheless, 33-year-old Bottas sounds determined to keep racing in Formula 1 for years to come – which is why he and Cromwell, a professional cyclist, are delaying any plans to have children for now.
“Starting a family might be relevant at some point, but not yet,” he said.
“Tiffany is fully invested in the Olympics and I have an important project going on at Alfa Romeo. So we haven’t decided how long our careers will last.”
So for now, Bottas has his sights firmly set on Audi – the Volkswagen-owned German marque that is taking over the Swiss-based Alfa Romeo team ahead of a 2026 debut.
“You have to have either a factory team or a big energy drink giant behind you if you want to win the championship these days,” he says.
“Audi coming in is a very important and interesting thing. It’s given me a new target.”
When asked if he stands a chance of being in a works Audi at the age of 37, Bottas answered: “It’s possible.
“However, this season and next season must be successful so that I can be part of Audi’s plans after that.”