Valtteri Bottas states that he is not worried despite continuous rumours linking Esteban Ocon to a Mercedes seat in 2020. Ocon is without a seat in 2019, as Racing Point has brought in Lance Stroll to replace the Frenchman.
Ocon failed to pen a deal with other teams on the grid after holding talks with McLaren and Renault over the summer. The deals fell through for the Mercedes junior driver, who then looked set to be without a race seat for the 2019 campaign.
Ocon will work closely with the Silver Arrows next year, and his impressive performances over the last two and a half years have led to suggestions that he could be in the frame for a 2020 Mercedes seat, replacing Bottas.
The Finn had a tough 2018 season, failing to take a victory while teammate Lewis Hamilton won 11 races on his way to a fifth world championship. But the former Williams driver is not concerned about the proposals that say he will lose his drive for 2020.
"People are always talking and, for sure, every driver wants to move on with their own career, they want to grab the opportunities," he said. "But it’s not my job to worry about that, it’s only going to hurt me.
“I have a very good relationship with every team member here, including Toto [Wolff], and we can always speak openly about anything, so there’s nothing being hidden," Bottas continued.
“If I meet my targets and the targets the team has for me next year, that’s good. If I don’t and if the team feels I’m not performing well enough, then it’s fair enough. It’s how the sport goes, so I’m not worried.”
Bottas described his 2018 season as the worst of his career, but believes the tough endurance will make him stronger: “I need to have a look at everything from this season and in every race weekend there are things you can do better,” he emphasised.
“I cannot say it was just one thing [to improve] but we’ll have a better look at everything and talk with the team about it. Then I’ll need to decide what will be the main points, because there are many things and we’re limited with time and with what you can process at once.
"That’s the plan for the winter. From a season like this you just have to learn and try to forget, but this is definitely a season that will make me a tougher person and driver for the future.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing