Bottas gets 2019 Mercedes extension with option for 2020

Image by Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Bottas gets 2019 Mercedes extension with option for 2020

Formula 1

Bottas gets 2019 Mercedes extension with option for 2020

Valtteri Bottas has signed a new Mercedes contract that will keep him with the team through 2019, with an option to extend that into 2020.

A day after Lewis Hamilton’s new two-year deal was confirmed by Mercedes, the team has announced Bottas will continue as the Briton’s teammate into a third season next year. The Finn has won three races for Mercedes — all in 2017 — and is currently fifth in the drivers’ championship having retired from the lead in the closing stages in Azerbaijan and from second place in Austria.

“It is great news that I will be racing for Mercedes in 2019 and it is nice to announce it here in Hockenheim — not just the home race for Mercedes but also the circuit where I took my first ever single-seater wins back in 2007,” Bottas said. “This year, with a full winter of preparation, I have been able to make a good step forward and I believe that there is still more to come.

“We have not been so lucky in the races this year but the team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving. I enjoy working with the team, and also being teammates with Lewis — we have a good relationship, honest and straightforward, and always aiming to get the right results for Mercedes.

“We have a big battle on our hands right now, so it’s good to have the future clear for everybody =- it means we can have a full focus on the championship fight. Obviously, my goal is to keep performing at a high level and to make it a no-brainer for the team when it comes to deciding their plans for 2020 as well.”

Team principal Toto Wolff says Bottas has performed at an impressive level this season and acknowledges he could be higher in the standings had it not been for the two retirements that were of no fault of his own.

“We are very pleased to extend Valtteri’s contract with Mercedes for another season at least — and to be able to confirm an unchanged driver line-up for 2019, ahead of our home race in Hockenheim,” Wolff said. “Valtteri’s performances have been excellent this season and, if not for our mistakes and his misfortune, he could be leading the drivers’ championship at the moment.

“When we took the decision in favor of Valtteri for 2019, it wasn’t just about his undoubted speed and work ethic, but also a question of character. His relationship with the team, including Lewis, is open and trusting, without any politics at all.

“Those are the ingredients you need when you’re fighting strong rivals in both championships and they mirror the values inside the team. I am very excited to keep Valtteri in the team and look forward to celebrating many more successes with him.”

Mercedes has provisionally confirmed its driver line-up until the end of 2020, the point at which a number of bilateral agreements between the teams and Formula 1 run out, with only Renault committed to the sport beyond that stage.

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