Mercedes technical director James Allison has said Valtteri Bottas is “worthy of his place” alongside Lewis Hamilton at the Silver Arrows.
Bottas finds himself in a familiar situation at Mercedes as he looks to try and justify another one-year contract extension from the reigning World Champions.
Only this year, the pressure he is under has reached new levels with Red Bull now having two drivers in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship and rising star George Russell waiting in the wings and looking for what would be a well-deserved opportunity in a top seat in Formula 1.
The summer break in August looks set to be decision time for Mercedes and perhaps one slight boost has come Bottas’ way via a vote of confidence from a senior Mercedes figure in the form of Allison.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 28, 2021
“Well, certainly, he’s very, very keen to show that [he is determined],” Allison said.
“He is worthy of his place in the team. And a top ranked driver, and a weekend like the last one [in Styria] is extremely helpful for him in that regard.”
Allison, though, would not be drawn into commenting on the speculation that continues to surround Bottas and Russell, only saying that Bottas and Hamilton have formed a “very good” pairing over the years.
“It’s not my place to to speculate on that, to be honest,” he added when asked about the rumours.
“They’ve been a very good driver pairing but it’s not my place to speculate further.”
Allison is not the first Mercedes member to show his support for Bottas, with Hamilton himself saying he sees no reason for Mercedes to change line-up in 2022.
“Valtteri is my team-mate now and we’ve both of us had our ups and downs in our careers,” he said.
“But as I said, I think he is a fantastic team mate and I don’t necessarily see that it needs to change.”