Bottas to Renault or Red Bull to make room for Vettel (3rd Update)
|The bias British F1 media do not want Vettel to land at Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton for fear he might beat him and prove it was the superior Mercedes car that won all those races and titles|
UPDATE "Valtteri Bottas is in conversation with Red Bull," writes well connected Sky Sports F1 TV reporter Ted Kravitz.
Max Verstappen has penned a long-term contract with the Austrian team but uncertainty surrounds Alex Albon's future with the team.
If Bottas was to leave Mercedes then Wolff will have to make a decision on whether to go with his young driver program or turn to four-time world champion Vettel.
"Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula One team," Wolff recently said.
"When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration."
The Mercedes boss also opened up to ESPN about his relationship with the German driver.
"We have a friendly relationship [with Vettel]," Wolff explained.
"I am not so surprised about his decision; I think you could see some cracks.
"He's a great personality, has been one of the personalities of the last 10 years in Formula One, winning four titles and starting this hugely successful spell at Red Bull.
"It's disappointing for him to see that this dream at Ferrari is being discontinued but it is what it is.
"How the events panned out was fast and different because one must not forget there is still a full season to race.
"And you would rarely take decisions so early in the season because be it for Daniel at Renault, or Carlos at McLaren, or Sebastian at Ferrari, these guys will race the new kit, will see all the innovation, will need to be involved in the development of the vehicle and need to play their team part also in some of the competitions.
"So, yes, these decisions came about quicker than I would have done but it's interesting to watch, maybe there's something to learn."
|Bottas has to expand his options as Vettel may take his place at Mercedes|
05/25/20 According to the latest reports, Valtteri Bottas is allegedly considering Red Bull as an option beyond 2020. The Finn, like the majority of the grid, doesn’t have a contract after this season. With Mercedes stalling talks until the season begins, Bottas needs to keep his options open before it’s too late.
Wait too long and one could even end up losing a drive. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Bottas is exploring other options. Recently, the rumor mill suggested Valtteri was in talks with Renault over a potential seat for next season. According to F1-insider, Bottas’ manager recently sat down with Christian Horner. According to reports, Bottas’ manager- Didier Coton invited Horner to dinner.
Bottas joining Red Bull isn’t completely outrageous as he brings in a unique set of skills. He’s a race winner, and an experienced and level headed driver. Max Verstappen is the team’s number 1 driver but having the Finn onboard could bring more level-headiness to the team.
05/22/20 (GMM) Valtteri Bottas' name is the latest to join the 2021 driver 'silly season'.
Speculation is gaining speed that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sees George Russell (not ready), not Sebastian Vettel (ready), as the ideal next teammate for Lewis Hamilton.
Reports in Germany suggest that Bottas' manager Didier Coton has been in talks with Renault, who need to replace the McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso has also been linked with that seat.
But even Hamilton's next move is under scrutiny.
"It may not be a coincidence that Wolff is now privately involved as an investor with Aston Martin," former driver Marc Surer told Speed Week.
"Hamilton may feel that the great Mercedes era is coming to an end, especially with the budget cap. I can imagine he is doing a lot of thinking.
"But if he stays, then he will try to ensure that Bottas stays too. Personally I would put George Russell in the car. Bottas is a top number 2 but I don't see him as a future world champion.
"If you build up a young driver, you have someone who could take Hamilton's place some day," Surer added.
Another former driver, Timo Glock, said of Mercedes' driver deliberations: "I wonder why they are taking so long to announce the new contracts.
"Mercedes will also be looking at what Daimler is doing, because in the long run they may discontinue the entire project," he told motorsport-total.com.
05/21/20 According to Germany's Motorsport-Total Renault has touched base with Valtteri Bottas as part of the French team's plans to seek a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo for 2021.
The eruption last week of F1's drivers' market, sparked by Sebastian Vettel's departure from Ferrari at the end of the year, has left Renault with a seat to fill for next season alongside Esteban Ocon.
While Vettel and Fernando Alonso have both been cited as potential candidates for the Renault drive, few believe either driver is interested in racing for a team that will not be contending for wins in 2021, at least not on its own merit.
According to Germany's Motorsport-Total, Abiteboul has held talks with Bottas' manager Didier Coton to sound out the Finn on his prospects for 2021.
While Ferrari and McLaren have defined their future line-ups even before the 2020 season has started, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is in no hurry to designate his 2021 drivers.
However, all signs point to Lewis Hamilton racing on next season but Bottas' fate is less certain.
Wolff has taken note of Vettel's sudden availability for 2021 but the Austrian made clear that Mercedes' priority regarding the future is either a status quo or a move of one of its protege's - either George Russell or Esteban Ocon - to the Silver Arrows squad.
"We have to stay true to our line," said Wolff. "Loyalty is something incredibly important, part of our values.
"We are loyal to our current drivers and do not want to negotiate at a time when the season has not even started."
Bottas would likely prefer to sign-up for a fifth season with Mercedes, but the seven-time Grand Prix winner's dependency on Wolff's choice could risk leaving him out in the cold if Renault chooses to swiftly complete its 2021 line-up.