The first hints of Bottas' discontent at Sauber
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By Robert Hansford profile image Robert Hansford
3 min read

The first hints of Bottas' discontent at Sauber

Valtteri Bottas arrived at the Miami Grand Prix to discover his race engineer had been changed

Having the right race engineer can make all the difference for a driver in Formula 1. It’s a relationship that really can influence a driver’s result.

Think about Peter Bonnington and Lewis Hamilton, even Rob Smedley and Felipe Massa. These two examples showcase just how well a great pairing can work when you get the working relationship right, with the engineer able to get the maximum out of the driver, especially when things aren’t going their way.

So it would have really hurt Valtteri Bottas to discover that his race engineer had been removed from his position upon his arrival at the circuit for this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.

And when questioned about it in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Bottas didn’t exactly hide his disappointment at the decision, highlighting that the move had nothing to do with him.

“I think that's more a question for the team,” Bottas said when asked why the change has occurred. 

“Yeah, it was quite a sudden change. Obviously, it's a Sprint weekend, so working with a fresh guy will be not easy, but obviously trying to make the most out of it. 

“But yeah, he's getting a lot of support. But yeah, it's quite a sudden change.

“I think it's part of the kind of reconstruction for the team. 

“There's some people leaving, some people joining. 

“And obviously, yeah, many of those decisions, they are not in my hands. And yeah, so I don't do those decisions.”

This is the first time that Bottas has hinted at any discontent with Sauber, and it’s striking given it’s also the first race weekend since Sauber and Audi announced that Nico Hulkenberg will be joining the team next year.

It therefore suggests that Bottas’ time at the Hinwil-based team could be coming to an end.

Hulkenberg to leave Haas at the end of 2024, joins Audi for 2025
He is set to join forces with Audi for the 2025 F1 season

But nevertheless, the timing of Hulkenberg’s announcement caught Bottas off guard.

“Of course, the timing is quite early and a little bit surprising, but the driver market is starting to move, obviously, and it also kind of makes sense,” he said. 

“He's German, and Audi has made it pretty clear that they want a German driver, so it's all good. Let's see what happens next.

The Finnish driver added that he is exploring his options for next year. But where does Bottas go? Well that is still up in the air.

“Obviously, [I’m] speaking to multiple teams, some talks have advanced more than the others. So we'll see.”

By Robert Hansford profile image Robert Hansford
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