“Bottas is going to be in our car” – Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has put an end to all speculation of George Russell replacing Valtteri Bottas next season.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has assured Valtteri Bottas that he “is going to be in our car.” After George Russell replaced Lewis Hamilton for the Sakhir GP and let most of the race, there was speculation that it could be an all-Brit line up for the German team next season. But, on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff put all these rumors to rest.
“I’m hereby confirming it, we have a contract with Valtteri, he’s going to race next year.”
“You need to kick me quite hard in a sensitive zone for me to ever lose my morality. And I am loyal to my two race drivers in the same way I’m loyal to our junior drivers.”
Toto Wolff staring at Bottas’ contract for 2021 right now. pic.twitter.com/VKvLkuONGu
— Mohamed Komora (@mohamedkomz) December 5, 2020
Toto Wolff explains radio communication with Bottas
Yesterday, during qualifying, Toto Wolff broke the Mercedes convention as he sent a radio message to Bottas. Bottas pipped Lewis Hamilton to take the provisional pole before Max Verstappen took a shock pole position. Wolff explained why he doesn’t like being on the radio, except after a race is done.
“Every driver is different and we have strict intercom protocols that we follow. I remember when I was a racing driver, I was annoyed by the guys that leaned over to the cockpit and shook my hands before I got going, and in that respect, I and the team will always adjust to the drivers’ modus operandi. And that’s why I’ve never been on the radio unless we have a critical situation in the race.”
So what led to Toto Wolff and Valtteri Bottas communicating during qualifying at Abu Dhabi? Wolff explained it is down to their discussion prior to the weekend of the driver wanting feedback from his boss. Wolff added that it was Bottas who explicitly wanted this, and this is how “all you have, Valtteri” happened.
“But when I discussed with Valtteri about how we could improve our communication, he said that he felt like a more open discussion or more open communication even whilst being in the car is something that he would like to entertain.”
“I said to him ‘are you sure because I don’t want to interfere into you driving the car?’ And he said ‘no, I’m actually up for it, and I’ve been thinking about it for a while’.”