F1 British GP: Bottas close to Mercedes F1 2018 deal
18 Julio, 2017, 02:29
Bottas joined Mercedes in January 2017 to replace retired champion Nico Rosberg, but joined on a mere single year deal to give the title winning team contingency should he not perform to standard and provide flexibility in a fluid driver market that sees the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen out of contract for 2018.
With 18 months left to run in his current Mercedes deal, Toto Wolff says the Brackley squad are keen to "find an agreement for the future" with Lewis Hamilton.
However, Bottas has shown a fine turn since joining Mercedes, his wins in Russia and Austria putting him within 23 points of the championship lead at the mid-way stage in the season.
Wolff made it clear that the length of the contract will be one of the main considerations, as the team in effect tries to second guess the longer term intentions of Lewis Hamilton. If this happens, Raikkonen would be expected to race on for one more season.
"He's almost a no brainer", he said.
"I think looking at his performance, it really is a no brainer". "But I just like to accept the puzzle together, and it's not only about 2018. After the race in Budapest (July 30), I will think about it some more on the beach".
Wolff recognized that the Italian team was one every racer dreamed of driving for, but added that Hamilton had the fastest car at present, while the dynamic in the team was "the best".
"Having Valtteri on board has brought a lot of positivity to the team and dispelled a lot of negativity we had before", Hamilton said. Indeed, Bottas - who has also established a good working relationship with Hamilton so far - has emerged as the highest-scoring driver of all since the Round 5 in Monaco. "We are coming to the point where we are getting to the middle of the season and the August break will be here soon and normally discussions will start then".