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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Bottas says Hamilton’s Ferrari swap will “escalate” F1 driver market motion

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Hamilton’s shock decision to leave Mercedes has energised the motive force market forward of 2025, simply when it seemed to be stalling as Ferrari and McLaren moved to tie Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris to long-term offers.

World champion Max Verstappen is contracted to Purple Bull till the top of the 2028 season.

Hamilton’s impending transfer means Mercedes is abruptly in want of a substitute to race alongside George Russell subsequent season, with its options limited by the timing of Hamilton’s decision and those new contracts being issued for fascinating drivers at different groups.

Bottas is getting into what he calls a “contract yr” with Sauber – forward of its Audi takeover for 2026 – the place he has raced since being changed as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate by Russell forward of the 2022 marketing campaign.

When requested to present his response to the Hamilton/Ferrari information at Sauber’s 2024 automobile launch at London’s historic Guildhall on Monday, the Finn mentioned he was “stunned” by the event as he “by no means truly thought that might occur”.

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He added: “However I believe it is good for him – it is a massive alternative, it is a massive transfer. And clearly he is made the choice himself.

“Yeah, [I’m] pleased for him and for certain that is now going to escalate some motion out there for 2025. So, in the intervening time, it is fairly arduous to foretell how it’ll go.

“I by no means imagined it could occur. And likewise the timing of it. However I am pleased for him as a result of it is good for him.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, leads Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43

Photograph by: Mark Sutton

“I believe it is an awesome problem. I am certain it is massive motivation for him to carry Ferrari to the highest.

“So, it is sort of cool and it’ll positively create some motion for the longer term, which is nice for the entire sport and for some drivers, for certain.”

Bottas additionally mentioned there are “so far as I do know, no burned bridges” a couple of potential return to Mercedes as Hamilton’s substitute.

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However the Finn stopped in need of expressing a acknowledged need for that to occur given his alternative to now safe a long-term future as a part of what he referred to as the Sauber/Audi “venture”.

“It is no lie, I used to be in Brackley the day earlier than truly,” Bottas mentioned, referencing an Instagram story he posted final week earlier than Hamilton’s Ferrari transfer was introduced, which went viral amongst F1 followers given the placement involved close to the Mercedes base.

“Not on the Mercedes manufacturing unit, however I used to be there doing another stuff.

“No, we have not spoken on the telephone but with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss].

“And if I might return, yeah… Effectively, clearly, my precedence and largest dedication is the Audi venture, which is my goal.

“But when that would not occur, then I am truly there is not any staff that I would not go [to] maybe. I do know my priorities and I’ve obtained my listing.”

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