Bottas “open-minded” about F1 future amid Mercedes uncertainty
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Mercedes currently has no drivers contracted for the 2022 F1 season and is set to be the key to unlocking the driver market silly season for next year, with both Lewis Hamilton and Bottas’ deals set to expire at the end of 2021. While Hamilton has indicated that he plans to continue racing with Mercedes for at least another year, Bottas’ future appears less certain. Bottas is currently in his fifth season at Mercedes having previously agreed a succession of year-by-year deals to remain with the German marquee. Mercedes announced Bottas’ current deal last August, just five races into the 2020 season, after the Finn expressed his desire to tie up his future early in order to avoid any unnecessary distractions. Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, Bottas stressed he was keen to get initial discussions over his future underway in the coming weeks. “We haven’t yet talked about anything, because this is being a pretty demanding championship and we know how much it matters to be able to work in peace,” he said. Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); 2021 F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Follow Friday Practice LIVE!accImages.createImage(); Hamilton’s reminder of athletes’ vulnerability leaves lessons to be learned“When you can focus on the main thing, that is performance, but that time will come, for sure. It hasn’t been yet, but for sure time flies, especially as we’re soon going to go to triple headers. “So I would imagine that, naturally, over the next month or so you need to start to speak and I know from previous experiences that the sooner you can sort things out, the better for everyone. It will come soon, but not yet.”Bottas remains eager to sort out his future by the summer but Mercedes is faced with a big decision to make over its protege George Russell, whose contract with Williams also runs out at the end of 2021.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Why Alonso has found F1 return better than expectedaccImages.createImage(); Why Alonso has found F1 return better than expected2807149.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Russell has been tipped for a promotion alongside Hamilton but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is wary about potentially destabilising team harmony, particularly with a major overhaul to the regulations coming into force next season. Despite the uncertainty lingering over his future, Bottas insists he is still enjoying driving for Mercedes as much as he did when he first joined the team back in 2017. “About my future, what are my thoughts? I’m quite open minded,” the 31-year-old added. “Like in life in general, you need to always take opportunities and you just never know what is around the corner. And that’s also, having clear goals, what you’re pushing for and that has taken me this far. “4“I always want to kind of follow my heart and follow my passion and I am still enjoying Formula 1 very much and racing at the front. I really, really love it and I still enjoy it as much as I did in example first year with Mercedes, no doubt. “But if I look at the big picture, for sure I still have a good few years in me. I feel like, year-by-year, I keep improving in certain areas and keep getting better. And you know, I’m quite far from the oldest drivers on the grid, so in theory, I still have time. “I don’t know what the future holds and I already try to take a weekend-by-weekend, and see what comes.””5
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