Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

Wolff sees no reason to change driver line-up after another one-two

2019 F1 season

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he sees no reason to consider changing his driver line-up when Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are delivering one-twos for the team.

Speaking after Mercedes’ third consecutive one-two finish of the season in the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend, Wolff said: “After a day like today when we are P1 and P2 I’m not considering any other driver for the short-term.

“What I decide for 2020 will be first discussed with Valtteri and Lewis and once that decision is taken it will be taken into account and we can plan for 2020,” he added.

Hamilton is contracted to remain with the team until the end of the 2020 F1 season. Bottas’s current deal expires at the end of this year.

Max Verstappen has dismissed reports Wolff has been in regular contact with him about a possible drive in the future. Wolff also said there have been no serious discussions between him, the driver or his father, former F1 racer Jos Verstappen.

“I haven’t got Max’s number and I never have him on the phone,” said Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans.

“As Max said rightly I’ve known Jos since a long time, I consider him as a friend and we talk about babies and go-karting and when do we put our baby kids in a go-kart. And which team are we going to set up. There is no talking about Max, nor his contract.

“I think for the right reasons Max is very committed to the Red Bull-Honda situation and rightly so. We are committed to our drivers. We are not planning to engage in any sort of discussions nor does Jos and Max. So I don’t know where that came from.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Wolff sees no reason to change driver line-up after another one-two”

  1. Did someone show this to E.Ocon?

  2. What I decide for 2020 will be first discussed with Valtteri and Lewis

    Poor Ocon, why would Hamilton want to replace Bottas?

  3. Maybe Ocon will end up replacing Gasly at RBR and he’ll get out from the Mercedes stable of drivers with no cars.

    1. I doubt Helmut wants to put Ocon next to Verstappen after what happened in Brazil.

      1. Be fun to watch though

    2. Mercedes didn’t ley Wherlein off his contract for a FE race, the idea of letting Ocon go to a new team surely isn’t even crossed their minds

      Ocon should have went to Williams when he could, now if they renew with Bottas he will have to wait even longer and possibly from the sidelines

      1. Courtney Britton
        22nd April 2019, 11:33

        It ain’t even about frivers or teams. Its whos running f1. Whrn bo 1 can watch a tace from home and all the race tracks r empty. Sky is to blame
        How can u give exclusivity to these people n then not peovide a platform for free veiwing. This is killing off the sport . Ive already terminated my sky contract. Cant pay for tv and race day. Bye f1

        1. My heart bleeds: I’ll keep my Sky thanks, since I get the F1 included for no extra charge. Not any special deal, just that I already had Sky HD when Sky got the original contract and every subscriber got it. At least on Sky I don’t have to listen to David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan (who is even more irritating than David Croft)

      2. @johnmilk, Mercedes have already loaned Ocon to Renault as a test driver in the past, where he took part in practise sessions for the team in 2016. In fact, the indication is that Mercedes were in talks with Renault back in 2018 about a potential race seat for 2019 for Ocon, as it is well known that Renault are keen to have a French driver racing for them and have shown a strong interest in Ocon.

        The problem is that even Renault seem to have been caught out by Ricciardo’s decision to accept their offer – it looks like they thought that Ricciardo was a long shot and were lining up Ocon as a more realistic candidate, only for Ricciardo to then surprise everybody by accepting their offer.

        1. Thing is, Renault is no threat to Mercedes, a loan to them would make sense, and even if they became one they could just recall the loan. To STR though they wouldn’t be interested in a loan, if anything they would want to sign Ocon. Can’t see Mercedes let him go to a team that they feel sooner or later will be fighting at the top

          1. And what interest would Renualt have it getting rid of Ric or Hulk to develop a driver for Merc….? I would rather develop my own driver than one for my opposition.

            I think Merc will hold on to Ocon for as long as possible, to have a adequate replacement ready on the off chance one of there drivers can’t compete over a race weekend.

      3. Had mercedes let ocon go from his mercedes contract it is possible ocon would now be racing in f1.

    3. If Red Bull want to remain competitive they’re going to have to look outside of their driver programme for someone to run alongside Verstappen … and Ocon is the obvious choice, but he needs to realise his loyalty to Mercedes isn’t going t help him in his short-term F1 career.

  4. He sees no reason to change when they are delivering only top 6 places and one of their drivers is 1min behind on pure pace either so this doesnt really surprise me.

  5. Bottas is clearly delivering so why change it. Is Ocon better than Bottas? Maybe not. One Toto wants is consistency which Bottas is clearly delivering so why change. Toto is very intelligent and clever team principal. He rarely ever use emotions to make a decision. Ferrari should follow his example if they want to start winning championships again. If Le Cleck is a faster driver then back him otherwise he’ll get discouraged!!

    1. This. If Toto had a driver few tenths faster than Lewis, chasing Ferrari he would back him right away.

      1. But thats a big if because Toto has yet to show hes willing to sign two top drivers for that to ever happen.

        1. @rethla

          Toto was ‘relieved’ when they started the new season without Rosberg. His quote was clearly anti-competition between drivers.

        2. He would be stupid to do so.

  6. That wailing on the wind you can hear is Ocon.

  7. Not a surprise. Frankly, the Ocon to Merc rumors grew dis-proportionally large simply because Bottas’s 2nd half of 2018 was teeny tiny bit lower than normal while Lewis’ 2nd half of 2018 was the stuff of legends, greatly exaggerating the gap.

    Bottas was always better than Ocon, especially when it comes to qualifying. Ocon meanwhile has only managed to beat Perez (a known journeyman when it comes to qualifying) by no more than 1 or 2 tenths

  8. They won WCC and WDC for 5 years in a row. Their drivers tend to finish 1-2, one is a candidate for GOAT, second is not behind to much and is well behaved.

    Why would they change driver lineup? Maybe Ferrari offers Lewis 500 million for the next 5 years?

    I cannot see why would they change anything drastically.

    Meanwhile Ferrari are the underdogs. It is them who need to turn things around to close the gap.

    And they have done it LeClerc seems to be doing well for them, to the point of Seb blushing.

    1. Lewis leaving Merc to Ferrari is one of the things that may shake up Merc, but offering a good deal to Verstappen will balance that easily. With a good engine and team it’s easy to find a good driver at the moment.

      The most important thing that is missing in Ferrari is the stability and consistency of the team. If they sort it out then VET/LEC is more capable of delivering for the team.

      in any case Lewis moving to Ferrari is not enough for ferrari.

  9. Being Mercedes, does this actually mean that they WILL change their driver line-up?

    1. That would be fantastic :)

  10. If VB keeps finishing second, there is no need for change.

    I’m off the opinion that Lewis will retired at Ferrari. He’s always been partial to the idea. After winning his 7th titl, he will probably take a ridiculous salary at Maranello. Lewis will be marketing manna for Ferrari to boot.

  11. Remember Toto’s quote when they started the new season with Bottas. He spoke of being ‘relieved and said it ‘was a better atmosphere’ .
    He clearly doesn’t want too tougher competition for his Number 1 driver.
    The last thing Lewis needs is a driver better than Button or Rosberg. Fair enough he’s done a good job of getting himself comfortable within teams. Which is a big factor for a driver.

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