Mercedes have formally announced that Valtteri Bottas has signed a new one year deal, with an option for 2020. The announcement comes a day after the German manufacturer announced that Lewis Hamilton had signed a two-year deal.
Since joining the four times champions, following the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg, the Finn has proved himself to be a challenger to Hamilton. In a statement, Mercedes said “has made a significant step forward in performance and complements Lewis Hamilton as part of the strongest driver pairing in the sport today.”
The confirmation of both Mercedes drivers will have some ramifications for the driver market, as Daniel Ricciardo will now be expected to sign for Red Bull until 2020. While it is understood that Ferrari will replace Kimi Raikkonen with Charles Leclerc to drive alongside Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas has had a difficult season, his season has been marked with poor on-track results while his performances have been nearly on par with Hamilton. Mercedes have admitted that its mistakes have cost the Finn points and that he could be in the championship mix if mistakes weren’t made.
Mercedes Motorsport CEO and team principal, Toto Wolff, said “Valtteri’s performances have been excellent this season and, if not for our mistakes and his misfortune, he could be leading the drivers’ championship at the moment.”
“When we took the decision in favour of Valtteri for 2019, it wasn’t just about his undoubted speed and work ethic, but also a question of character. His relationship with the team, including Lewis, is open and trusting, without any politics at all.”
Bottas finished third last season and is currently third in this year’s championship. He added, “This year, with a full winter of preparation, I have been able to make a good step forward – and I believe that there is still more to come.”
“We have not been so lucky in the races this year but the team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving,” said Bottas.
Bottas has made it clear once again his aim is to lock in his seat until the end of 2020, his performances will be key when they make the decision.