Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insisted on Friday that Valtteri Bottas’ seat with the team was safe and that there would be no ‘musical chairs’ for the Finn’s future.
Bottas, who has been with the squad since 2017, has yet to complete a race this season ahead of teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton or Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
However, he beat the two men in qualifying in Portugal last weekend to take pole position.
“I see no reason to change. It’s these guys over there (Red Bull) who love to play musical chairs so no changes are planned, ”Wolff told Sky Sports.
“Unless he catches the flu and can’t drive, he’s going to be in this car,” he added of Bottas’ position.
Wolff’s reference to Red Bull was revealing – in 2016 they ditched Danill Kvyat at the start of the season in favor of Verstappen.
In 2019, Pierre Gasly was demoted to Red Bull’s sister squad with Alexander Albon winning promotion as a Verstappen teammate.
Bottas has often seen his seat tied to Williams driver George Russell who is part of the Mercedes Driver Program.
Russell impressively replaced Hamilton in Bahrain last season when the world champion suffered from Covid-19.
To underline his loyalty to Bottas, Wolff added, “If you’re not happy with your wife and already start looking for others, it won’t improve the relationship.
“I try to work on the relationship with my driver and get the best result for him before I start flirting with someone else.
Ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Bottas is fourth in the championship with 32 points, 37 behind leaders Hamilton.
Verstappen has 61 points in second place with McLaren’s Lando Norris third of 37.
© 2021 AFP