Mercedes F1 Not Promising Valtteri Bottas Anything Past 2017
The team remains open-minded for future contract talks.
With so many Formula One stars looking for a new home in the next couple of years, Mercedes seemingly wants to keep its options open. Stars like Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel could potentially be on the move after this season, and AMG team boss Toto Wolff doesn't want to rule anything out prior to talking to these world-class drivers. He announced on Friday that he isn't looking to hurry into anything, and that means not promising anything to young Finn Valtteri Bottas past this year, Autoweek reports.
“Valtteri is doing a good job, but I’ve been here for a while, and I don’t think you should be rushed into a driver decision,” said Wolff. “The market becomes pretty interesting in 2019 and onwards and you just need to plan ahead what is happening."
Bottas stated last month that his main objective was earning a long-term contract with the team, and his pole position in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix says a lot for his potential against a stacked field.
Alonso will likely be out of McLaren at the end of this 2017 season, and there's no doubt that he's an appealing option to the crew at Mercedes. One reporter even brought up the possibility of Alonso driving without a salary from the team and simply being paid from sponsorships. Wolff retorted "You would be a pretty tough team manager. Without any doubt, he’s an important personality in Formula 1 and a great driver and McLaren and Honda will appreciate that. But at the moment, we are really happy with the lineup. Stability is an important factor. The dynamic between the drivers is an important factor and we have no reason to complain.
Not to forget Lewis Hamilton, whose contract expires after 2019. Speculation states that he could be looking to go somewhere else as a challenge or retire from the sport as a whole, leaving a huge gap at the helm of Mercedes driver core.
Regardless of what happens two years down the road, Mercedes will have to play it smart to stay atop the standings. There's still plenty of time to worry about this season as they look for a win this weekend and beyond.