Mercedes has announced that the name of Lewis Hamilton’s teammate for the 2020 Formula 1 season will be chosen between Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Ocon, and a decision could be made this summer.
Valtteri Bottas had two victories in the first four races of the season, but later the Finn was repeatedly outclassed by Lewis Hamilton.
In the last two races, the Mercedes driver dropped out of Hockenheim in the rain and a modest 8th place in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Following these results, Bottas is 62 points behind Hamilton and still has a 7-point lead ahead of Max Verstappen.
In this context, Bottas risks losing his place in the team for next season, and Mercedes officials have already announced that they are considering the option of bringing Esteban Ocon to the team.
“It is a dilemma between Ocon and Bottas. In a way, both are worth a place. The decision is between a stable pilot, very good and with a lot of personality and between giving a young pilot the chance and opportunity of a car, with all the rewards and risks. It can bring them in. We are starting the process on Monday and it will not be easy, “said Toto Wolff, Mercedes motorsport director.
Aware that he is in danger of losing his place at Mercedes, Bottas has revealed that he already has a plan B, but has not yet provided any details in this regard.
“When you are in such a situation and you want to compete you need a plan B and maybe a plan C. I think about different things and it is good to have different plans. Now I wait,” said the Finn.
Ocon is a driver whose career is supported by Mercedes, and the absence from the starting grid this season is considered unfair due to the talent shown in the 2018 season. Wolff admitted that if the Frenchman does not get the place in the main team, he will allow him to leave to compete with another team, in order not to endanger his career.
“If you can’t give a young pilot an opportunity you have to make compromises. I will not sabotage Ocon’s career by blocking him or by refusing to leave him to another team in Formula 1. He must be given the opportunity in Formula 1, either with us or with another team, “Wolff added.