Jul.11 (GMM) Valtteri Bottas says he would not be interested in returning to Mercedes next year if all he is offered is a one-year deal.

It seems almost certain that the Finn will leave Sauber at the end of the year, with new team owner Audi apparently not seeing Bottas, 34, as part of the works project for the future.

Ferrari refugee Carlos Sainz is also still on the market, having reportedly said ‘no’ to Audi and missed multiple deadlines set by Williams boss James Vowles.

“He is still probably hoping for Mercedes,” 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve told OLBG, “that (Kimi) Antonelli is not good enough, so the seat is available for a few years.”

However, while Wolff sounds willing to find a long-term seat for Max Verstappen, only a one-year contract would be in the offing for Sainz or others.

Former Mercedes driver Bottas says he’s not interested in that.

“Filling a place for one year, I don’t think that is what I want or need at the moment,” he told the Mirror.

“For next year, I want something multi-year with a clear plan for the years ahead. If I just do one year, then you’re back to square one again and looking at what’s next.

“I’m good friends with Toto so, of course, we’ve talked about everything,” Bottas added.

Bottas is now regarded as a favourite to sign with another of his former teams – Williams. “I’m fine with the situation – it’s been interesting,” he said. “But I want to get it sorted soon.

“Then I’ll be even happier again.”

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher this week warned Sainz that he is taking a gamble with his entire Formula 1 career by holding out for the Mercedes seat, when teams like Williams, Sauber and Alpine have made solid offers.

Villeneuve agrees.

“Playing the waiting game, you could find out you are the last one standing and the last one standing is not a positive here,” he said.

“At some point, you are bound to annoy other teams who have made you amazing offers. He seemed certain to be joining Williams, and then something happened.

“But when you get a good offer and delay and delay, at some point you will p*ss people off and they won’t want him. You end up signing very late and you make it obvious to that team that they were only your third choice,” the former Williams driver added.