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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.


  • MiaScusi

    It appears that the main feature of your fantasyland is Vettel hate. Which takes any validity or credence out of your opinions.

  • Leonardo Pisano Bigollo

    Mercedes are loyal. They stuck with Nico and Lewis for 4 years together. And would have continued that way. So Bottas is going to be hard to get rid of. They value that stability and loyalty with their staff. As long as Lewis is there, they don’t need another top driver. So they are more likely to stick with Bottas, even if Alonso, or Dan, or even Max became available. Only when Lewis is ready to go would they take in another top driver. So Ricciardo is only looking at Ferrari, and they won’t take him as Vettel won’t allow it. Because if Dan comes and beats Vettel again, then there won’t be any excuses “I had so many mechanical issues that I didn’t have time to change my driving style to suit the new car.” Or “The car with the new exhaust regulations wasn’t suited to my driving style.” Or “I was tired from years of winning.” (Not what Vettel said, what his fans said). So Dan can’t go anywhere. He’s stuck unless someone else moves or retires.

  • Leonardo Pisano Bigollo

    Ocon could not beat Perez in his first year. Compare that to Lewis who matched Alonso in his first year. Or Dan who beat Vettel in the same team the first year they were together. Or Max who drove past 11 cars in the wet in Brazil.

    Ocon hasn’t shown any special talent. But he does crash into his team mate 3 times, until the team tell him not to. And he does cry about it in the media “Sergio tried to kill me.” Hardly the guy that Mercedes want. If Ocon doesn’t score twice the points of Perez next year he can forget about it. Alonso scored three times the points of Kimi in the same team. That is the type of driver Mercedes want. Not another good #2 driver.

    Ocon is like Perez, Magnussen, Vandoorne, Hulkenberg, Grosjean. Guys who everyone expected great things from and nothing happened. Ocon has 2018 to prove with points and no crashes that he is worth putting up with his crying for. Otherwise he will become another Force India long term driver.

  • stevewf1

    Goodbye, Mr Bottas…

  • Who says they aren’t lining up Esteban to replace Lewis if he decides to retire?
    Valtteri did pretty well this year but next year he’s gotta show that he can deliver 100% every race and he’s got what it takes to beat Lewis on a consistent basis, and that’s no easy feat.

  • Roger Flerity

    Probably need to drop a note to Ricciardo before he destroys his career with Red Bull hoping and dreaming of a Mercedes seat in 2019

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