Formula 1
Friday, Aug 30 07:26am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Mercedes retain Valtteri Bottas for 2020

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport have confirmed Valtteri Bottas will race with the team in the Formula 1 World Championship next year.


It ends months of speculation that Esteban Ocon would replace the 30-year-old from Finland. A lacklustre 2018 saw Bottas only finish fifth while teammate Lewis Hamilton won the title.


Bottas joined the team in 2017 and has often played second fiddle to five-time champion Hamilton who looks set to rack up a sixth title this year.


Of his 130 starts, Bottas has five wins and 10 pole positions, all of which have come with Mercedes. His first came in the Russian Grand Prix in 2017.


“I’m very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me,” Bottas said.


“My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019.


“My overall target is to become Formula One world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020.


“We have nine races to go this season and I am determined to keep improving at every one of them. Now, all my thoughts are on Spa and delivering a strong performance with the team this weekend.”


Team Boss Toto Wolff said Bottas was asked for better performances in 2019 off the back of a bad 2018 run. This year Bottas began the season with a win at the Australian Grand Prix with a performance that silenced many of the doubters.


“For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018 – and he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year,” Wolff said.


“Although it has been his most successful first half of a championship so far, he is hungry for more and determined to keep on improving and raising his level. That’s the mindset we want from all our team members.


“The results we have achieved together with Valtteri are no coincidence: he has been an integral part of our championship success in the past two seasons, his teamwork with Lewis has been exemplary and he has shown real strength of character in how he has responded to setbacks.


“I’m delighted that he will stay with the team for another season at least – and look forward to seeing him raise the bar even further.”


Bottas currently lies seconds coming into this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.