Valtteri Bottas says he is not concerned by Esteban Ocon’s reserve driver role at Mercedes and is confident he has every chance to retain his seat with the team.
Ocon lost his drive at Force India after Lawrence Stroll took over the team, with Lance Stroll set to partner Sergio Perez in 2019. However, Ocon will now be the Mercedes reserve and potentially test next year’s car during pre-season, with team boss Toto Wolff saying the Frenchman will be back on the grid in 2020.
Despite only having signed one-year contracts throughout his time at Mercedes, Bottas says he is not threatened by Ocon’s presence.
“No, it’s not a concern,” Bottas said. “People are always talking and, for sure, every driver wants to move on with their own career, they want to grab the opportunities. But it’s not my job to worry about that, it’s only going to hurt me.
“I have a very good relationship with every team member here, including Toto, and we can always speak openly about anything, so there’s nothing being hidden. If I meet my targets and the targets the team has for me next year, that’s good. If I don’t and if the team feels I’m not performing well enough, then it’s fair enough. It’s how the sport goes, so I’m not worried.”
With Bottas having failed to win a race in 2018, the Finn says he will do a deep analysis into the reasons for his drop-off in performance in the latter half of the year and look to focus on improving specific aspects.
“I need to have a look at everything from this season, but it’s difficult to say, because in every race weekend there are things you can do better. I cannot say it was just one thing, in general, but we’ll have a better look at everything and talk with the team about it. Then I’ll need to decide what will be the main points, because there are many things and we’re limited with time and with what you can process at once. That’s the plan for the winter.”