Date published: December 18 2018
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said described Valtteri Bottas as “our man” and no trust has been lost with him.
A promising, albeit unfortunate, start to the 2018 campaign ultimately turned into a winless one for the Finn, who could be preparing for his final season with Mercedes in 2019.
Heading toward the start of another 12-month extension, Esteban Ocon is now waiting in the wings for 2020 if Bottas fades into the background once again.
Wolff said that Ocon is an option for Mercedes in the future, but that is not to say Bottas’ days are numbered.
“Yes of course, Esteban is a factor for us in the future,” Wolff told ESPN.
“We have options for Esteban for 2020, but of course he might also be an option for Mercedes. It depends how the season pans out in Mercedes and how Valtteri goes.
“Still, we haven’t lost any of our trust in Valtteri. We are 100 percent behind him because there is the trust within our drivers, because if we wouldn’t be behind him, we might as well make the change now. But we don’t.
“We think that he’s our man, and then obviously Esteban is in the starting blocks because he’s keen to drive that car.”
Wolff believes that we would have seen a better Bottas in action had he been in the World Championship fight a little longer.
“I think that for any driver it’s very difficult to overcome a situation where you need to back your teammate for a drivers’ championship,” he added.
“I think that is normal when you are taking away the single most important motivation for a racing driver, which is to be able to compete for a world championship.
“And I think we have seen that effect in Valtteri last year after Spa and this year after Monza. And he knows that.
“I think as long as he’s in the hunt for the championship. he’s going to drive at a very high level. That is the most important.
“I don’t think it makes a difference whether he wins the races or not, this is because he knows that after the summer he was basically only second in line to win the race.
“He would have won in Sochi maybe. So on paper he should have had at least two or three wins this season.”