Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits Valtteri Bottas must improve his performances in 2019 in order to earn a race seat for 2020. Bottas was the only driver in the top three teams not to win a race in 2018 as team-mate Lewis Hamilton secured his fifth world title.
The Finn was the clear number two in Mercedes’ strategy last season and was often used to try and block the Ferraris and Red Bulls from closing down any lead that Hamilton had built up.
Rumours are suggesting Mercedes might be lining up former Force India driver Esteban Ocon for a seat in 2020 should Bottas’ results not improve.
And team boss Wolff says the 29-year-old must show the doubters why he is being given the seat again for 2019 – despite openly backing him a few days ago. “Every racing driver in a Formula 1 car has to look over his shoulder. It is a very brutal sport where only the best ones survive and they are very well aware,” Wolff told Reuters.
“They have made the selection of the top-20 racing drivers in the world and every single year they have to justify that they deserve the place. It is not only valid for Valtteri but all the others as well.”