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Mercedes not thinking about other drivers for 2019

  • Published on 12 Dec 2017 12:01
  • comments 5
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Toto Wolff has played down claims Mercedes is already eyeing Valtteri Bottas' 2019 replacement. Despite a solid start to his first year in silver and securing a new deal for 2018, Bottas is rumoured to have been earmarked for replacement in 2019 by Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon.

Team boss Wolff denies it. "Esteban is one of our drivers and is therefore in the picture, but the team and all of its strength is behind Valtteri," he told Turun Sanomat newspaper. "If we to start thinking about other drivers, it would mean that the emotional side would not be 100 per cent for Valtteri," Wolff added. "I can assure you, from the board to every team member, we all want Valtteri to succeed," he said. "Together with Lewis, he is our driver and we do not think of any others."

Wolff said Bottas did well to adapt quickly to life at Mercedes, after Nico Rosberg's shock decision to quit F1 immediately after winning the 2016 title. "Valtteri just has to understand what he missed during the weekends when he lost out to Lewis, and on the other hand understand his strength of those weekends when he beat his teammate, for example in Sochi," Wolff said. "Valtteri has it all. He just has to get the whole package together," he added. (GMM)

Replies (5)

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  • Im sure they are content with Ham-Bot as long as they win, and if Mercedes continue to be this competitive Im sure they will, but if they become legit challenged, especially if its by more than one team, Im pretty sure they will look at other drivers, even if its just a glance. Bottas is probably safe, for now, but if he doesnt improve, he might not be safe.

    • + 0
    • Dec 12 2017 - 20:01
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    Yeah its an interesting one isn't it - an ego bigger than Bottas would likely create problems which the team don't really want - you have to assume Mercedes want to dominate for as long as they are getting commercial leverage from doing so - so that means anything that rocks that boat isn't top priority. All things being equal, they are probably going to podium every race, sometimes twice - that's got to be good enough for them as a team. Bottas does have the pace of Hamilton every 3rd or fourth race - but when it matters, Hamilton beating him by 3 tenths - probably more over the season, so he's not on the same level at present. 2018 should be the season he is judged, Id genuinely like to see him challenge Hamilton, rather than the so called others who Hamilton tends to think as his main rivals - let's see !

    • + 0
    • Dec 12 2017 - 20:26
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    Hamilton is brilliantly fast, but when he is challenged by another with equal pace where he needs to manage his tires Lewis can struggle. Until Mercedes loses its power advantage or Pirelli provides tires that will degrade rapidly when pushed TOO hard this line up is ideal. Lewis doesn't play well when challenged he will call for Betts's head if he challenges him next year. I wouldn't put it past Mercedes to have taken a little power away from bottas to ensure Hamilton max points.

    • + 0
    • Dec 12 2017 - 23:30
  • They will when needed, and will always not going disclose it.

    • + 0
    • Dec 12 2017 - 23:53
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,168

    The problem with keeping that line-up is that it doesn't excite anyone. F1 is a marketing platform so Mercedes will lose out against a more exciting line-up. Bottas will be replaced by someone else next year. My bet is on Ocon or ricciardo.

    • + 0
    • Dec 12 2017 - 23:58

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