Valtteri Bottas says he has been told by Mercedes that Sebastian Vettel is not being considered as a possible replacement for him.
Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of this season after not agreeing a new deal, and has yet to announce his next move. Both Mercedes drivers are out of contract at the end of the year and team principal Toto Wolff has previously claimed the team owes it to Vettel to not rule out a move for the four-time world champion, but Bottas says he has been told differently.
“It’s the same as every year for me,” Bottas (pictured at right, above, with Vettel) told Sky Sports. “Maybe I’ve had multi-year contracts but always with options, so it’s no different in any way than other season for me. There’s always talks and the situation has been the same for me.
“I find it quite funny that with not even a single race done, there’s been people getting my seat, etc. It made me laugh a couple of times! So there’s no pressure from that side. I still have my clear goal for the season in my mind and that’s it. Things will then sort themselves one way or another, whatever’s going to happen. I’ve no stress about that at all.
“It doesn’t get to you. We’ve been very honest with my team all the time, what’s the situation and how it’s going to be contract-wise, etc., and I got a pretty straight message that no, they’re not considering Seb. So I said fine, no worries then.”
The Finn says he wasn’t overly surprised to see Vettel leaving Maranello given the incidents he has had with teammate Charles Leclerc, and is unsure if the German will keep racing in F1.
“Obviously them as teammates — Seb and Charles — there were maybe some sparks sometimes which can be healthy. But, I don’t know; he had his period at Ferrari and I honestly have no idea what really happened. If he wanted to leave or someone wanted him to leave, I don’t know. It’s difficult to say. Everyone makes their own decisions and I don’t even know if he wants to stay in F1 or not. Who knows?”