Former F1 Champ, Jacques Villeneuve, On Why Mercedes Should Not To Dump Valtteri Bottas
This is an odd situation for Valtteri Bottas to find himself. The team boss of Mercedes F1 is highly likely to dump Bottas in favor of Sebastian Ocon. Ocon was released from Force India in 2018 as the team changed ownership and rebranded into Racing Point. The seat went to Lance Stroll, whose billionaire father bought Force India. Ocon, a Mercedes driving protege, had no options open to him to drive for the 2019 season. Bottas put pen to paper in 2017 when he secured his current Mercedes F1 drive.
It’s fair to say that his teammate Lewis Hamilton has been the superior driver. However this season Bottas has raised his game, he has matched Hamilton’s tally of 4 pole positions, an indication of his pure speed. But conversion from pole to win isn’t great and has lessened his appeal to Toto Wolff. Hamilton has won 8 of the 12 races contested so far, Bottas has managed two. And of course, multiple podium finishes.
While his performance at the climate change German Grand was fine when it mattered most when Bottas had the opportunity to potentially win the race he ended up spinning and crashing out. Hamilton had a worse race but still managed to bag two points due to others picking up penalties.
But Germany showed that when Hamilton is down you have to strike because you get few chances against a driver like Hamilton. Bottas didn’t take his chance when it was presented to him. Now Toto Wolff is deciding on the future of a driver who has the speed, but perhaps not the killer instinct.
Will Mercedes Dump Bottas? JV Says They Should Not
But the real question is, who can say Ocon will fare any better? Former F1 champion, Jacques Villeneuve, gave his opinion on the matter in a recent interview:
“Why would you do that? Of course, they should continue with Bottas. How many times have they been first and second this season? If was half a second slower at every race, like he was last year, then ok, you can replace him. But that is not the case. Why would you take him [Ocon]? He is yet to prove himself. I don’t know exactly how good he is and would never take that risk,”
It is highly likely that Wolff will replace Bottas with Ocon in 2020. How can that be? It’s really simple to deduce, Wolff has publically stated that he is considering his options. This time last year Bottas secured a contract extension, that has yet to happen at the moment.
Which also means Bottas and Wolff are discussing severance terms. It’s tough for Valtteri Bottas but this is the harsh and ultra-harsh world of F1. It’s happened before and it will continue to happen now and in the future.