Villeneuve questions Mercedes' treatment of Bottas

Former Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has questioned why Mercedes are contemplating replacing Valtteri Bottas at the end of the season.

The Finn has won two out of the opening 12 races so far in 2019 and is currently second in the drivers’ championship. However, none of the wins have come in the last eight GP events, with the last coming in Azerbaijan.

He is currently 62 points adrift of team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ rankings, with his recent disappointing performances creating speculation that he could be dropped for 2020. Esteban Ocon and George Russell were the contending names mentioned, with Williams saying the latter is out of the question.

As for Ocon, Villeneuve thinks it would be a mistake for him to replace Bottas.

“Why would you do that?” the Canadian responded to Formule 1 when asked bout the driver switch.

“Of course, Mercedes must continue with Bottas. How many times have they achieved P1 and P2 this season?

“Bottas is regularly faster than Hamilton, he scores his points. If he were to be half a second slower than Lewis in every race, like last year, then ok, you can replace him. But that’s not the case.”

The main reason for Villeneuve’s dismissal of Ocon is that he thinks the former Racing Point man hasn’t yet proved himself talented enough to driver for a top team like Mercedes.

“He hasn’t proven himself yet,” the 1997 world champion added.

“I don’t know how good he is and I would never take that risk.”

When recently questioned about his future, Bottas claimed he had contingency plans should he be dropped by the Silver Arrows.