Formula 1: Mercedes considering bringing back former driver?

With Mercedes still on the hunt for Lewis Hamilton’s replacement, Valtteri Bottas should be given serious consideration for the 2025 Formula 1 season.
Valtteri Bottas, Formula 1
Valtteri Bottas, Formula 1 / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

Valtteri Bottas spent five Formula 1 seasons with Mercedes from 2017 to 2021. During that time, he finished in the top five in the championship each season and finished in the top three on four of those occasions. Additionally, he had 10 race wins and finished on the podium 58 times.

During his tenure, he was often seen as a puppet for Mercedes, given how much the team prioritized Lewis Hamilton and his prospects of winning the world championship.

Mercedes retained Bottas over the years through one-year deals, and they never offered him a long-term contract, despite the interest from the Finnish driver.

Could Valtteri Bottas return to the Silver Arrows?

Now in his third season with Sauber, Bottas' tenure with the team could be coming to a close, as his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season. The 34-year-old has enjoyed being on a multi-year deal and away from the extreme competitiveness.

Bottas has openly embraced the idea of a reunion with Mercedes. However, he has laid out the terms for his return, stating the following, according to Sports Illustrated.

"I'd only [return to Mercedes] if it was a lot more than a one-year contract. If it was a one-year deal, then it wouldn’t make sense for me. But, for long-term, of course there could be a discussion."

Valtteri Bottas

Bottas has certainly proven himself with Mercedes, and he likely would have won at least one world championship if it were not for Hamilton, given his multiple runner-up finishes.

Given the fact that the team are in a much different place compared to when Bottas was there, team principal Toto Wolff would likely be more relaxed when it comes to negotiating on a contract with him.

The pairing of Bottas and George Russell has the potential for success, and the two were teammates during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix at the alternate Bahrain International Circuit layout when Hamilton was sidelined with COVID-19.

With Mercedes looking to build themselves back up to being the best team on the grid, this pairing could be a short-term solution to make progress toward that goal.

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In the event that Mercedes miss out on Carlos Sainz Jr. or another one of their main targets, Wolff could opt to give a two-year deal to Bottas as he nears the end of his career. Additionally, the move would work well as they await Kimi Antonelli’s entrance in Formula 1, allowing the junior driver to develop further without rushing him to the factory team.