Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes future secured for F1 2021 as Toto Wolff rules out any mid-season driver change – fr

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Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes future secured for F1 2021 as Toto Wolff rules out any mid-season driver change – fr




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Toto Wolff talks to Sky Sports F1 after Friday practice in Barcelona about his team’s impressive opening day form, Red Bull engine rentals at Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas’ future

Toto Wolff talks to Sky Sports F1 after Friday practice in Barcelona about his team’s impressive opening day form, Red Bull engine rentals at Mercedes and Valtteri Bottas’ future

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has ruled out any prospect of dropping Valtteri Bottas in the current 2021 Formula 1 season.

At Thursday’s drivers’ press conference ahead of the Spanish GP, Bottas had previously dismissed a newspaper article from earlier in the week that suggested he could lose his seat during the season to George Russell.

On Friday, his team leader was equally adamant on the matter.

Asked by Sky Sports F1’s Jenson Button if he could categorically state that Bottas would be in the car for the entire 2021 season, Wolff replied: “Absolutely. Unless he catches the flu and can’t drive, he’s going to be in this car.

“I see no reason to change. It’s those guys over there [pointing towards Red Bull’s motorhome] who like to play musical chairs, so no changes planned. “

Bottas had also referred to Red Bull in his comments on the matter at the press conference. Mercedes rivals made mid-season driver changes in 2016 and 2019.

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Valtteri Bottas insists there is no chance George Russell will replace him in the Mercedes car this season

Valtteri Bottas insists there is no chance George Russell will replace him in the Mercedes car this season

Bottas joined Mercedes four years ago when Nico Rosberg unexpectedly retired from racing and helped the Brackley team maintain their unbroken streak of constructors’ championships in the turbo-hybrid era as part of the ‘a harmonious partnership with Hamilton.

But he has yet to challenge his illustrious teammate for the title of the season, focusing on the future of 31-year-old Mercedes beyond the end of his last contract a year after Russell played alongside him in a. off appearance replacing Hamilton at the GP of Sakhir last December.

Russell is racing for Williams but is a Mercedes-backed driver and will inevitably be in strong contention for a seat at the World Champions in 2022. Neither Bottas nor Hamilton have contracts for next season yet, although the latter has strongly hinted at last week he wanted. to continue his record-breaking career in 2022.

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In three races this season, Bottas is yet to finish a race ahead of Hamilton or Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, although he edged them out in qualifying in Portugal last week to claim pole position.

Using an analogy to emphasize his loyalty to the Finnish driver, Wolff said, “If you’re unhappy 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. “

What did Bottas say on Thursday?

“I know I won’t be replaced in the middle of the season,” Bottas said when asked about the claim. “As a team, we don’t do that.

“I have a contract for this year and I think there is only one team that does this kind of thing in F1, and we are not them. So no pressure from my side. I know how things go – there is always bull **** It’s part of the sport. ”

Hamilton backed his longtime teammate, saying “people need to give him a break.”

“From my experience with the relationship with Valtteri, I think he’s been an incredible teammate,” said the seven-time world champion.

“And if I’m being honest, I think we have the best lineup right now in terms of deliverables and general knowledge in terms of moving our car forward.

“At some point, it’s going to change, it’s going to change. I won’t be here forever, Valtteri won’t be here forever – but for now, I think we’ve delivered time and time again over the years and we continue to.

Wolff Says Red Bull Approached ‘100’ Merc Engines Staff

Meanwhile, a relaxed Wolff suggested that it was “fairly normal” that Red Bull’s recruiting drive for their brand new engine division led them to hire Mercedes staff.

Red Bull is building the new facility on-site at its Milton Keynes base, which is 30 miles from the long-established and successful Mercedes Engine Headquarters at Brixworth in Northampton, and has already announced that it has recruited six people from its championship rivals.

“It’s pretty obvious: if you want to create an engine factory, there is only one [already in the UK] and that’s us, ”Wolff said.

“We have about 900 employees there and if you catch about 15, that’s pretty normal. They mainly tackled the manufacturing staff so it’s not really performance, I guess they want to grow the business. the project is a mount everest to climb, and i would love to fight with the red bull powertrains. “

Saying that Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko had been quoted as saying Mercedes was offering to double the salaries of those who were approached, Wolff said: “I think they approached 100 people or so and they maybe have some. being 15. the wages are one thing but if you triple them, at some stage you are not going to compete any more, even for loyal people.

“But that’s what it is. I respect anyone who wants to stand up for their business or grow their business, and the time for retaliation has not yet come. “

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 earlier on Friday in Spain, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “There is a fatality… we are based in the UK, we are only 30 miles from the road to Brixworth where Mercedes Engines chose to build their engines in the UK, and they did so for a reason, because the talent is in the UK.

“And for us, I think bringing the engines on-site to the campus, integrating them fully into the chassis so that the engine and chassis engineers work side by side, is extremely appealing.

“We were very flattered by the amount of approaches we had. We are starting to be worth a blank sheet of paper and it is important to put the right people in the right positions. Obviously, we have had some success. by attracting fantastic talent, in addition to the talent we will inherit from Honda when they leave at the end of the year. ”

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