Valtteri Bottas hopes contract talks won’t be distracting

Valtteri Bottas has started the 2020 season with an amazing win, but his seat with Mercedes in 2021 has not yet been confirmed.

The Finn has been driving for Mercedes since 2017 on one year contracts. He is yet to extend his current deal beyond 2020. Bottas says he doesn’t want contract talks to be a distraction from his mission of winning the 2020 title.

“I really hope [they don’t distract], but it’s a pretty special season, starting so late, so the timings are not relevant compared to other seasons,” said the Finn at the Styrian Grand Prix press conference.

“We’ve only done one race, so, on one hand, there’s no rush.

“Also, time will fly by quickly and before we know it, it’s going to be the end of the season, so I hope soon we can do something with that and get it out of my mind.

“As we’ve seen, if things drag on it’s never beneficial, we’ve learned from that and we’ll be taking actions based on what I’ve learned.”

During the Formula 1 down time, Bottas was also linked with a Renault seat for 2021. However, now that the returning Fernando Alonso has been announced as Renault’s 2021 driver, this doesn’t seem to be an option anymore. The Finn however remains focused on the racing.

“We’re on a triple header, so I really want to focus on the performance and that I can maximize the results and we can do the same as a team. That’s really the main point at the moment.

“Maybe after the first few races, when we’ll at least have one weekend off, maybe there can be time for some talks. For me the season started pretty well, so I should not overthink things or stress about things.

“I should just keep my performance up and I’m sure we can sort something.”

In other news, the FIA issued a warning to Ferrari and Mercedes for their drivers – Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas apparently breaking F1’s coronavirus prevention rules.

The COVID Code of Conduct requires team members, drivers, suppliers, media, F1 and the FIA to remain within their “bubbles” and avoid interactions with people outside of their respective “bubble”.

However Bottas decided to go back home to Monaco for a few days after the Austrian Grand Prix, something he says was allowed.

“I wanted to find out if it was safe to go back, and it is,” explained Bottas.

“Obviously it doesn’t make any difference – if I stay in the same bubble, with the same people – if I’m here or back home in Monaco. So, I decided to go back home as, in the end, we are in Europe and traveling pretty short distances, so there’s no actual stress from traveling.

“I just wanted to spend those three full days at home, and I thought it was very nice. I feel very much recharged for the weekend.

“I think it was a good decision for my side and I tend to only do things that work for me, when it comes to deciding what I want to do when I have days off.

“From a safety point of view there was no difference at all. I was still with the same people that I would have been dealing here,” concluded the Finn.

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