Formula One: Bottas keen for long-term Mercedes deal

Bottas at a press conference ahead of the Azerbaijan grand prix.
Bottas at a press conference ahead of the Azerbaijan grand prix.PHOTO: EPA

BAKU (AFP) – Valtteri Bottas made clear on Thursday (June 22) that he is keen to secure a long-term future with Mercedes and is not speaking to any other F1 teams about 2018 and beyond.

The Finn, who joined Mercedes last December as replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, said he felt no pressure in not having a contract beyond 2017.

“I feel normal, because every single year I’ve been in Formula One I was in the same situation at this time of the year, as I had no idea, at this point, what I was going to do the following year,” said Bottas, who has had a pole position and a race victory this year in his opening seven Grands Prix with the team.

“So, for me, it’s a normal situation.”

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Media and paddock speculation about Bottas’s future began earlier this week when Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said the driver was in a “uncomfortable situation” and added that the was in hurry to offer him a contract extension.

Bottas knows Wolff well, and vice-versa, as the Austrian was his manager before he joined Mercedes.

“I don’t know when I will know,” sad Bottas.

“The time line is quite flexible, but, like I said, there’s no rush.

“The discussions will be open soon, because as a driver, at some point, it’s always nice to know what you’re going to do next year.

“But it’s still early days and for sure I’m keen to have a long-term relationship with Mercedes. Every day I work hard to make the most out of every single situation I’m in.”

Bottas is third in the drivers’ championship ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend.