By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team announced Thursday that veteran driver Valtteri Bottas has agreed on a one-year contract extension to stay with the race team.
The new deal will mark the Finnish racer’s fifth straight season piloting the No. 77 “Silver Arrow” where he’s scored all eight of his Formula One victories, including this year’s season opening Austrian Grand Prix.
“I’m very happy to stay with Mercedes in 2021 and build on the success we’ve enjoyed together already,” said Bottas. “Thank you to everyone in the team and the wider Mercedes family for their continued support and their trust in me. I’m very proud to represent this great team and the three-pointed star on our journey together again next year.
“The past few years have been all about continuous improvement, working on every aspect of my performance. I’m confident that today I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, but I can always raise the bar. Mercedes embraces the same philosophy: They always want to get better and are always hungry for more.
“Ever since I fell in love with F1 as a kid it’s been my dream to one day become world champion. I’m in the fight for the title this year and staying with Mercedes puts me in the best possible position to compete for it next season as well.
“We’re in the middle of a shortened season and I want to give my absolute best in every single race we’ll go to this year. The puncture last weekend was a bit of a blow in my fight with Lewis, but I’m determined to come back strong this weekend on the same track.”
Heading into the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Bottas sits second in the World Championship standings, trailing teammate Lewis Hamilton by 30 points after four rounds.
More importantly, the duo have scored a combined total of 146 points, we’ll ahead of Red Bull Racing Honda in the Constructors’ standings by 68 points as they’re determined of going 7-0 in the Hybrid Era.
Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff shared his excitement of having Bottas back for at least another season due to his ever improving characteristics on and off the track.
“We’re seeing the strongest Valtteri we’ve ever seen this year – in terms of his on-track performance, but also physically and mentally. He is second in the championship, finished the last season in P2 and plays a very important part in our overall team performance,” said Wolff.
“I’m confident that we have the strongest driver pairing in F1 today and signing Valtteri is an important first step in retaining this strength for the future.
“Valtteri is a hard-working, straightforward guy who has a good relationship with the entire team – including his team-mate, which is not a given when both drivers are fighting for the championship.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to raise the bar together with us this year and in 2021.”