Rival interest in Bottas; August deadline set

Mark Scott
Valtteri Bottas takes P1 in FP1 and FP2 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas takes P1 in FP1 and FP2 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Toto Wolff has said there has been interest in Valtteri Bottas from other teams and a decision on the Finn’s Mercedes future will be made in August.

Bottas is currently operating on his latest one-year extension with Mercedes and looks all set to make it into a fourth season as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate after first joining the team back in 2017.

Ahead of the German Grand Prix, Mercedes boss Wolff has set out the timeline the team will be working towards with regard to their 2020 line-up.

“We want to end the season before the shutdown in a good place and put in two solid performances in Hockenheim and Budapest and then spend some time thinking about driver line-up for 2020 and beyond,” Wolff said in Hockenheim.

“For us it’s not only about making the right decision for next year, it’s about looking ahead. And this is why we agreed that we will take the decision in August going forwards.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean we will announce it in August.”

Wolff then later revealed to Sky Sports F1 that there has been interest in Bottas from other teams, so he too has a decision to make.

“It’s not a decision on Valtteri but it’s also a decision Valtteri needs to take,” Wolff said.

“One must not forget that he’s performing strong and there’s interest in the market for him also, so it’s for all of us to come together for a good solution. And looking ahead also, it’s not only for 2020.”

Then pressed on Esteban Ocon’s future, Wolff seemed resigned to losing Ocon if he does miss out on a seat with Mercedes.

“Esteban deserves to be in a car and he would deserve to be in a Mercedes in the same way Valtteri deserves to be in a Mercedes,” Wolff added.

“I have no doubt that he will be in Formula 1 next year. Again, we just need to pre-empt not one year, but a few years ahead.”

“Whatever decision we take is going to be very difficult and probably very unfair for whoever misses out.”

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