German magazine, Auto Bild has claimed that Valtteri Bottas is set to stay at Mercedes in 2020. This will likely shut down speculations about the Finn’s future at the German outfit. If true, this will be the fourth season in succession that Mercedes will field an unchanged lineup.
Ever since he was roped in to replace Nico Rosberg at the 11th hour at the end of 2016, Bottas has come into his own. The 29-year old Finn helped Mercedes to two constructors’ championships and a third is on the way in 2019. However, there have often been calls questioning his ability, as he had not challenged Hamilton as Rosberg did.
Admittedly, team boss Toto Wolff is eager to see reserve driver Esteban Ocon back on the F1 grid. However, reports in Germany claim that Bottas has been given the seal of approval for another year. The faith has been placed in him, in spite of trailing Hamilton by 62 points at the summer break.
As for the fate of Esteban Ocon? Auto Bild also reported that the Frenchman could be off to Renault. the German magazine said that when Daniel Ricciardo’s blockbuster move was done, Cyril Abiteboul reneged a “gentleman’s agreement” with Wolff.
The Mercedes chief confessed that he is hesitant to send Ocon to Renault again, and keen to retain him. However it is claimed that the former Manor and Force India racer will perform for Renault next season.
Wolff confirmed that Hamilton would be consulted over the identity of his new team-mate, and Bottas brought a sense of ‘harmony’. This peace was sorely needed especially after the Brit’s quarrelsome years when partnered with Rosberg. That ‘harmony’ was what likely turned the tide in favour of Valtteri Bottas. For now, though, the two Mercedes drivers will be looking forward to the Belgian Grand Prix and the start of the second half of the season.