Bottas eyes new F1 'project' over rally move if dropped by Mercedes

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Valtteri Bottas would consider switching to rallying but only after he feels his time in Formula 1 is over.

The Finn is facing an uncertain future at Mercedes, with team boss Toto Wolff set to decide between Bottas and Williams driver George Russell over the upcoming summer break.

Already though, options away from Mercedes are being touted such as Alfa Romeo, who is rumoured to have contacted Valtteri's management over him potentially replacing Kimi Raikkonen.

But as for rallying, Bottas also has a strong interest and a decent skill level, competing in several Lapland Rallys and also winning a Rallycircuit event at Circuit Paul Ricard in 2019, making it a potential alternative career choice. 

“First of all, I don’t like to think that way," he said at Silverstone on if it was something he would consider.

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"I always try to think positive and I know what I want, I want to stay with the team (Mercedes) – that’s the best chance for me to win races next year and fight for the title.

“If not, for some reason, I will look for other options in Formula 1 because I love Formula 1, I enjoy it, I still think I have quite a good few years in front of me.

“And then? Never say never, I don’t know. Rally? I really enjoy it, it’s really good fun – every time I’ve been in a rally car I’ve been always smiling so it’s good fun – but to actually make a job out of it, it could be quite tricky; the guys are pretty competitive, they’ve done it all their life," he concluded.

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Staying in F1 though would almost certainly mean a step back down the grid after five years at the most dominant team in history, and Bottas sees both sides to that prospect.

“I’m being honest and yes, for sure, it would be a different kind of mindset, it would be a new kind of chapter in my career and your mental approach should be different," he said.

"Most likely you wouldn’t be fighting for wins and the title, at least in the beginning, so it would be a new project and on the other hand that could also be interesting.

“But as I said before what my intentions are is keeping my seat, because I think we make a really strong team now at Mercedes as we are, so let’s see.”

As for Mercedes boss Wolff's big decision, the Austrian teased it has already been made, telling Germany's RTL at Silverstone...

“Now we will see what decision we make – or have already made but not yet said,” he said with a wink.


But if he does decide to drop Bottas, Toto made it clear he won't be left in the cold.

“If there is a situation where we want to give someone else a chance, it’s not just about my relationship with him (Bottas), it is my duty [for him] to have a great future because he deserves it,” he was quoted by Finnish outlet Ilta Sanomat.

“He has been a teammate of the best F1 driver in history and it is not always easy to shine in [that environment]. But he has been fantastic.”