Valtteri Bottas reveals Mercedes told him point blank that the team was not considering hiring Sebastian Vettel for the 2021 season.
Ever since Ferrari announced that Sebastian Vettel would not be continuing with the team beyond 2020, there has been intense speculation going on that the German could be on his way to Mercedes.
Event team principal Toto Wolff said Mercedes would not dismiss the possibility of hiring Vettel. If the German were to go to Mercedes, and it is assumed Lewis Hamilton will remain with the team beyond 2020, this would leave Valtteri Bottas without his current seat.
Bottas however reveals he has been openly told by Mercedes that Vettel is not being considered.
“No, it doesn’t get to you,” Bottas told Sky Sports F1 when asked about the constant speculation surrounding his seat.
“We’ve been very honest also with my team all the time, what’s the situation, and how it’s going to be contract-wise.
“I got a pretty straight message that no, they are not considering Seb, so I said fine, no worries then.”
The Finn has been with Mercedes since 2017 on a year-by-year contract, so his future with the team has been a constant topic among the F1 media. With Mercedes’ junior driver Esteban Ocon now contracted to Renault, another Mercedes junior, George Russell, remains the biggest contender for Bottas’ seat.
“They are the best team, they have been so dominant, who wouldn’t want the chance in that car?” Russell recently told RTL when asked if he was targeting a seat with the German team.
“Mercedes helped me in my development to win GP3 and Formula 2 and then helped me into Formula 1.”
However, Valtteri Bottas doesn’t let the speculation get to him.
“It’s the same as every year for me. It’s no different in any way than any other season for me. There are always talks, and the situation has been the same for me.
“I find it quite funny with not even a single race done, there’s been people getting my seat. It made me laugh a couple of times.
“There’s no pressure from that side, because I still have my clear goal for the season in my mind, and that’s it. Things will then sort themselves, one way or another, whatever is going to happen.
“I have no stress about that at all,” concluded the Finn.
The sentiment is echoed by Mika Hakkinen, two-time F1 champion and a member of Bottas’ management team, who says Valtteri is ready to fight for the 2020 championship.
“I’ve seen Valtteri’s development and passionate dedication to the work,” Hakkinen told Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.
“He is constantly improving as a driver so I think he has a really good chance of winning the championship. In the winter tests, Valtteri was best of all and seemed ready for the season.
“If Mercedes stays at the same pace and development continues, then only one driver – a teammate – can beat him.”