Not a Good Vibe: Ex F1 Driver Believes Bottas Has Been Told of Mercedes Departure

Published 06/22/2021, 10:14 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix REUTERS/Albert Gea

If there’s one driver enduring a crisis at the moment, it’s Valtteri Bottas. After a sub-par showing in the French Grand Prix, speculation about his future with Mercedes grew further.


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In addition, his radio message towards the end of the race didn’t help his cause at all. With an eye towards the Austrian Grand Prix, former F1 driver Robert Doornbos weighed in on Bottas’ situation with Mercedes.

Robert Doornbos believes Valtteri Bottas made a strange move in France


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During Lap 49, Bottas made his frustration clear to Mercedes with an angry radio message. In the message, he questioned the team’s strategy and hoped for the team to listen to him. Ultimately, the Finn finished P4 after losing out on the final podium place to Sergio Perez.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Although he might have made a solid point in Le Castellet, former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos questioned why Bottas didn’t pit for a fresh set of tires to go for the fastest lap of the race. He asked, “Why didn’t he want to go for the fastest lap at the end by making a pitstop?”

The Dutchman believes Mercedes have already told Bottas he’ll be leaving them, which is leading to communication problems. “It’s a strange move if you ask me,” said Doornbos.

“In my view, he was told long ago that he won’t be there next year. Maybe that’s why we’re seeing these communication problems.”

If tensions weren’t running high enough within Mercedes, they would certainly hit a new level after Bottas’ outburst in France.


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Doornbos believes a good vibe isn’t present in Mercedes at the moment

Doornbos also questioned the timing of Bottas’ radio message, where he mentioned Mercedes should have put him on a two-stop strategy.

Why didn’t he (Bottas) say it earlier?” asked Doornbos. “He should have told his team halfway through the race, not after it was too late. It seems like he just doesn’t have a position in the team to get things done.”


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“It doesn’t seem like there’s a good vibe in the team at the moment,” Doornbos further added. While Bottas struggled in the French Grand Prix, the next race in Austria gives him a chance to redeem his season.

Although he is yet to win a race this season, the Finn can draw confidence from his win on this track last season. Can the 31-year-old make a strong statement of his intent on June 27?


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Sanket Nair

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Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.