De Vries not on Bottas’ mind despite F1 links

Henry Valantine
Valtteri Bottas walks around the paddock. August 2021.

Valtteri Bottas walks through the paddock at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

After Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said both of his team’s reserve drivers “deserve to be in F1”, Valtteri Bottas says those implications are “not really my concern”.

Nyck de Vries and former McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne both compete for the Mercedes EQ Formula E team alongside their duties as Mercedes reserves, and De Vries led the FE standings heading into the final round on Sunday.

The Dutchman in particular is reportedly being considered among the names at Williams to be a potential candidate for a drive there, if George Russell leaves the team.

With Nicholas Latifi all but confirmed to be staying on at Williams next season, if Bottas is to be dropped by Mercedes then a move back to his former team could end up being off the cards for the Finn.

The Mercedes team principal has been complimentary about the work of his reserve drivers, holding out hope they can make it onto the grid.

“Both drivers have the talent, the work ethic and the intelligence to be in Formula 1,” Wolff was recently quoted as saying by GP Fans.

“They both deserve to be Formula 1 and I would very much hope they can find their way back.”

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Bottas, meanwhile, is said to already be assessing his options outside of Mercedes ahead of the team’s decision between him and George Russell, with negotiations reportedly taking place with Alfa Romeo and Williams about a potential 2022 seat should he need to change team.

But the nine-time race winner insisted anything said about Mercedes’ reserve drivers and a potential move onto the grid is not his issue to think about, and prefers to focus on what he can control on and off track.

“I’m not aware of those sayings,” said Bottas when asked about Wolff’s words. “I don’t really read F1-related media reports, so it’s the first time I hear anything like that.

“Of course, you will always try to praise your drivers, whether it’s in different categories, and they are very good drivers.

“There aren’t many seats in F1 but it’s not really my concern at the moment and is nothing that’s on my mind.”