Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Bottas rubbishes claim he may lose seat before end of 2021: ‘Only one team does that’

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas described reports he could lose his seat at Mercedes before the end of the season as “bullshit”.

The Mercedes driver, who does not yet have a contract for the 2022 F1 season, said he was not concerned by the suggestion George Russell may replace him, and insisted he will remain in his seat until the end of the year.

“I know that I’m not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” said Bottas. “As a team, we don’t do that.

“I have a contract for this year and I believe there’s only one team that does that kind of things in F1 and we’re not that.”

Bottas’ remark is likely to be a reference to Red Bull, who have replaced drivers mid-season twice in the past five years.

“So [there’s] no pressure from my side,” he added. “I know how things are and there’s always bullshit around. That’s part of the sport.”

Three races into the 23-race 2021 F1 calendar, Bottas is already 37 points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton. But he said he isn’t concerned about the prospect he may have to play a supporting role to his team mate.

“There’s still 20 races to go which is a huge amount of points,” he said. “I’m definitely not giving up on the goal for this year. I always believe that hard work will pay off so I’ll keep working hard and keep believing and I know that the results will come and it will pay off.

“About any team orders, et cetera, I’m not worried, to be honest. Not at all. I know there’s a bit of a gap now, but it’s super-early days. For me there’s no point starting to think about that so I’m not worried.”

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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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47 comments on “Bottas rubbishes claim he may lose seat before end of 2021: ‘Only one team does that’”

  1. One rule in politics is that you believe nothing until it is denied. And top level sport is political.

    1. Let’s not forget that Toto will be the one denying though…

  2. So here we go. The hot plate is switched on under Bottas. He will have to win the next four races from pole before they go for the off switch :)) :))

    1. Not forgetting fastest lap at each race, also…

    2. Ahah, poor bottas, that’s never gonna happen this season!

  3. I think the pro British commentary team from Sky needs to ease back a bit on their love for Russell and disdain for Bottas.

    This is just getting plain silly.

    1. ian dearing
      6th May 2021, 14:58

      They will say what they want, true or not, to get their ratings up. And I think its more a case of pro Sky, rather than pro British.

    2. To me, the bigger problem is seeing so many of those who have constantly attacked Bottas and demanded that he be sacked now attacking the press when the change they’ve demanded (Russell replacing Bottas) is proposed.

    3. Ivan Khumalo
      6th May 2021, 22:54

      @DB-C90 Couldn’t have put it better myself. It’s ridiculous so early in the season already we see a level of bias we sadly are accustomed to when sky can’t be objective, just constant speculation and permutations.

      Reply moderated
    4. Everytime i get the feeling they are lobbing to let George promote but we will see at start of silly season.

  4. British media are truly disgusting people. Last year they wanted to get rid of Mazepin to make space for OUR Callum Ilott and now they’re attacking Bottas, so OUR George Russell gets his seat. Deplorable British mafia.

    1. Hah, too bad. The Mazepin one made sense.

    2. @armchairexpert Chill out, mate. If you think Mazepin’s performances so far this year show he merits a place in F1 then that’s an interesting perspective. But if you truly think that the British F1 media are “truly disgusting people”, you must have led a very sheltered life.

      1. Well, you see that his name…no explanation needed.

  5. I am getting annoyed by this already. I think the media is too hype about Russell. If Mercedes dare to replace Bottas during this season, that will be the ultimate turn-off.

    1. George is the Malaysia ’16 saboteur.

    2. Honestly, I would rather see a day at the Mercedes Lando Norris. I agree that there is forced pressure to get Russell. As long as Hamilton is there, he will be the one to choose the companion I think. And it won’t be Russell.

      1. Hence why I said Lando might be the chosen one for the Mercedes substitution.

  6. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    6th May 2021, 15:06

    I agree with him it’s not going to happen. He’s certainly not going to be replaced mid year, that’s 100% certain.

    If I were him I’d be more concerned about next year.

  7. The fact remains that Russell was able match Bottas’ speed on the same weekend he got into equal equipment last year. I don’t rate either of them very highly, but in terms of on-track performance I think Russell has the edge. In terms of playing nice with Hamilton, I think Bottas has the edge. We’ll see which way Toto wants to go.

  8. And why would Mercedes release the guy who’s a handy bag carrier for Hamilton. When will people learn that Mercedes doesn’t care about anyone but Hamilton?

    1. @klon They have to start caring about LH’s replacement, and VB is not the one to carry that mantle. GR needs to be brought in next year and be groomed by the team and mentored by LH so that he becomes the heir apparent to being the senior and go-to driver on the team. That driver is not VB, and what better time to start GR off than with the brand new chapter next year, and while he can learn from LH.

      As to what would happen with the pairing? Would GR be the respectful student? Or would he be an LH beater? Either way, how does Mercedes lose? He either lags behind LH by being naturally a bit less quick, certainly less experienced, and there’s peace on the team, or he starts beating LH and the team now has their new star for post-LH. Either way, Mercedes wins.

      De la Rosa argued during the last race weekend that they should keep VB and therefore the peace at Mercedes while LH is still in F1, and then they’d simply have the pick of the crop to replace LH at whatever time that is, be that with a GR or a Max or whoever they want, is what he implied. There may be something to that, but what has me disagreeing is that GR is a Mercedes driver under TW and I don’t see TW doing that to GR in the same way that happened to Ocon and Wierling, as GR seems more talented to be hung out that way and lent off. And as well, VB is getting swallowed up and could cost them a WCC and maybe even be less and less useful to back LH as competition from RBR closes in, and perhaps another team or two in the new chapter for all anyone knows. They do it the De la Rosa way and they sit right now a for the next few years not knowing who their drivers are going to be post-LH until they need to lure who by then? An unknown pairing? And cold turkey? Nah, I don’t see it.

      No imho VB is becoming too weak a link and it makes too much sense for Mercedes to take in GR (already part of their family, was already brought in for a race) for the very beginning of the new chapter. Of course they are loyal to LH, and bringing in GR does not mean disloyalty to him, and they also have to look at loyalty to themselves and the big picture long term.

  9. Who asked him that question? Clearly a journalist who knows nothing about F1, because there’s no way he would be replaced after only one bad race (and two average ones). Unless he puts in Imola-like drives every race, he will be fine. But apart from Imola he hasn’t even driven badly this season so far.

    1. @f1frog Once it was floated by some tabloid, it was inevitable that it would be run. Even RaceFans did it. Having obviously fake rumours and allegations as fact is just the way it works in the post-truth world, and British F1 media will do anything to support their countrymen which we’ve seen many times and now they are hounding Bottas for Russell.

  10. Well, Redbull isn’t the only team that changed drivers mid season.

  11. He isn’t going anywhere this season, he’s doing the exact job that’s needed unless Checo starts getting into the mix, even still I suspect he’d still be safe for 2022 unless of course Lewis packs his bags and goes home. Unless someone knows something massive that nobody else does, I think this is just a load of nonsense, and though not exactly helpful for him, I can’t see him having anything to worry about.

    1. I agree he’s safe for this year, this story is nonsense. He actually complements Lewis rather well. And Toto mentioned he does not want to repeat the “two roosters in one hen house” situation they had with Rosberg. But at some point you have to think about the future and I think that Russell actually has the best chance to be in a Merc for next year out of the three.

  12. Sure, he won’t get axed during this season, but next season is another matter.

  13. Why would they kick a driver out who has helped them achieve 4 wcc?

    1. Well – Damon Hill was dropped by Williams in 96…

  14. ColdFly (@)
    6th May 2021, 17:44

    I believe there’s only one team that does that kind of things in F1

    I guess he is referring to Toro Rosso (AT), as RBR only swapped drivers with their sister team.
    There might be a chance of a swap though.
    Personally I don’t see his performance this year as too shabby. He stayed close (or ahead) in quali and wasn’t too far off on race pace on 2/3 of the races.
    But if Perez continues to improve and finish ahead of Bottas then the team might want to consider another driver.

  15. That’s one way to call out Red Bull and Dr. Marko

  16. Whoever came up with this story clearly doesn’t have a clue. Bottas is managed by Toto. I hardly think he’s going to be dumped by Mercedes, mid-season unless he had some truly awful results. Just more fake-news from some cheap, uninformed journalist.

    I too am getting fed up with sections of the media over-hyping Russell like he’s the second coming. I would rather go for Norris given the choice. And I’m British.

  17. He’s probably right.

  18. Bottas’ remark is likely to be a reference to Red Bull, who have replaced drivers mid-season twice in the past five years.

    It clearly is. Clearly.

  19. I get the feeling that we’ll see Bottas retained at Mercedes next year, with Russell moving to Aston Martin. I think Toto won’t want to lose Russell as a back-up plan, but won’t also be willing to upset the Mercedes apple cart either, so he’ll use his influence at Aston to get Russell into a seat there. Russell is fairly satisfied at finally being a part of a team capable of fighting in the midfield (by 2022 hopefully), and Mercedes keeps its effective number 1 and number 2 driver system.

    1. Only chance this could happen is if Vettel leaves/retires. I can’t see Stroll Snr firing Stroll Jnr anytime soon…

  20. Bottas has the hardest mountain to climb in F1. Lewis is more talented and more experienced.

    Bottas can snag a pole here and there, and is close. About as good as Perez, the RBR #2 seems to be.

    Now do they need him to be any better than this? Mercedes remember Rosberg all to well, he was slightly better than Bottas, but crucially destabilized Lewis to perform worse.

    Can Mercedes afford to have a slightly upset Lewis?

    Not in this fight they dont.

    When Perez starts to threaten Mercedes WCC however alarms will go off.

  21. In my mind, one of the big reasons for keeping Bottas on at least another year is to have a solid reference for the massive design change in he cars.

    Yes, Russel is the future, but they need a very solid platform in terms of data to analyse the new cars.

    You could say, fresh start, so what does it matter. But you need a reference to determine the new char characteristics. A full understanding of a divers past performance to correlate with a new machine.

    So while the heart may say get Russel in to a new car, my head says it is far wiser to keep Bottas.

    1. @mach1 I disagree about needing a reference from this car to next, but even if you’re right, they can’t get that from LH?

      To me it only makes fully perfect sense to start GR off in the new car next year when continuity from this season to next is less crucial since the cars will be so different anyway. Presumably GR will be going to Mercedes at some point. What better time than when he can go next year to start the new chapter and only know from Mercedes’ new car? Why have him go waste time and energy elsewhere only to then go to Mercedes and have to then adapt to a different feeling car? Take him in next year to be mentored by LH while LH is still in F1, and mould him to the car and team and not taint him with a season or two elsewhere.

  22. Cristiano Ferreira
    7th May 2021, 1:08

    Unless Bottas start doing some Gasly/Albon performances, he is going to be retained… at least until this season is over. For the next season his job will depends on how well Perez is doing in Red Bull. If Perez starts to outscore him, then its game over for him.

    So far his only job is to outscore Perez and be a nuisance to Verstappen, and if he can take Verstappen out one or two times all the better (For Toto and Mercedes in general). Being the good wingman he is, i think taking out Verstappen to retain his seat is not out of the question.

  23. I really dont understand where the clamouring to replace Bottas is coming from. He has done his job dutifully over the last few years. Due to Red Bull’s lack of reliable second driver, he has always been close enough to allow Mercedes some flexibility with regards to strategy, well, when they’ve needed it of course.

    In a weird sorta way, I feel that the biggest bearing on Bottas’ future will Perez’s performance through the remainder of the season. Up till now, Perez has not been close enough to the top 3, meaning Bottas slipping back from the front 2 has not caused Mercedes any real trouble. However, if Perez improves and manages to get the most of out Sundays. Bottas may be under some pressure to improve.

    Just looking at Bottas’ demeanour and his rhetoric, I feel that he isn’t in a good place. He seems frustrated. Possibly due to the fact he can’t get on Hamilton’s pace or be consistent on Sunday. I keep going back to Gary Anderson’s Eddie Irvine-at-Ferrari analogy. Bottas should forget about beating Hamilton, he can’t, he isn’t in that class of driver, and there is no shame in that. Instead, he should just focus on getting the best result each weekend, just focus on his performance. I think he will be a lot happier, and actually may end up performing better.

    As things stand, putting Russell into the car will is not a logical step as Mercedes have more to lose than to gain.

    1. @jaymenon10

      I really dont understand where the clamouring to replace Bottas is coming from.

      Easy. It upsets Bottas, helping Brit Hamilton, and helps Brit Russell by pressuring the team to take him on. In F1, even a lot of the media are fanboys.

      Reply moderated
    2. @jaymenon10 I was surprised how much Bottas still feels that he can be in the championship fight though. He really does not seem to have given up at all.

      He indicated to have worked hard on “something” in the simulator (tyres related he hinted) and this hard work paid off in landing him pole.

      He also felt that after the race in Portugal the title fight would be between the three of them. Probably under the impression that he would take the race win since he got pole, but then he somehow blocks out that it’s usually Hamilton who takes the win if Bottas starts from pole.

  24. Rolando tillit
    7th May 2021, 13:17

    Bottas should think twice about teams doing funny things. Mr. Briatore faced serious consequences when we found out Piquet Jr. crashed his car on purpose.

    Reply moderated

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