Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has described the prospect of Valtteri Bottas remaining with the team for F1 2018 as 'almost a no brainer', but says the decision can wait until the upcoming summer break.

Bottas joined Mercedes in January 2017 to replace retired champion Nico Rosberg, but joined on a mere single year deal to give the title winning team contingency should he not perform to standard and provide flexibility in a fluid driver market that sees the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen out of contract for 2018.

However, Bottas has shown a fine turn since joining Mercedes, his wins in Russia and Austria putting him within 23 points of the championship lead at the mid-way stage in the season. Indeed, Bottas - who has also established a good working relationship with Hamilton so far - has emerged as the highest-scoring driver of all since the Round 5 in Monaco.

Despite the options available to Mercedes, it is therefore expected to keep Bottas for F1 2018 and seemingly beyond, with a decision to 'contemplated on a beach' in August.

"He's almost a no brainer," he said. "Just like to accept the puzzle together and it's not only about 2018. I think it's about moving forward, about what happens in 19 and 20, the risk and opportunities. That's why after Budapest, hopefully a good race again and we're going to contemplate on a beach on what's about right and wrong for the team."

Indeed, many expect several movements in the driver market for 2018, with the emphasis shifting away from Raikkonen and Alonso as the 'keys' to the driver market and instead focusing on Vettel, who - according to sources in the Italian media - could be forced to tone down his deal with Ferrari as part of the fallout from his Azerbaijan Grand Prix furore.

Christian Horner has already stated neither of Red Bulls drivers are moving, though there is suggestion Daniel Ricciardo could have signed a pre-deal with Ferrari for 2019. If this happens, Raikkonen would be expected to race on for one more season.

Meanwhile, Alonso is set to stay with McLaren - regardless of which engine it uses -, while Hamilton remains in contract with Mercedes until the end of the 2018 season.

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Bottas is delivering so why not retain him. There's no way lulu would share a team with Alonso again.

ProfessorDave: The question Toto is probably asking himself is 'who would score more points in a Mercedes next year, Bottas or Alonso?[\blockquote]

if alonso join mercedes and share the points with hamilton.. it would be bad for mercedes either.. as sebastian vettel might be reaping the benefits.

Do not expect big changes up top. Lower down might see movement.

FIF1 - most likely no changes
Williams - most likely no changes.
Renault - JP gets dropped. possible CSjr, in exchanges for free engines
STR - DK might get dropped. CSjr possible to Renault
Sauber - ME gets dropped
McL - FA resigns for 1yr.

Alonso is staying at Mclaren and being promised another Indy500 run and two other potential Indycar races to give him a fair shot at winning races while the Honda F1 engine catches up. This is what I'm hearing from a Mclaren team member.

Taz: Bottas is delivering so why not retain him. There's no way lulu would share a team with Alonso again.[\blockquote]

Both of these points are the consensus at this point.

Add to it that the Mercedes is performing now and it helps Bottas perform / keep his seat. If the competition was a bit more dicey, such as the beginning of the year, Bottas may be in Raikkonen's shoes with the constant threat of replacement providing "motivation". If Bottas constantly brought home 4th place finishes, they may feel compelled to get Alonso or Sainz Jr. to try to eek out more points regardless of how Hamilton feels.

"Force Team-Mate Off"

The question Toto is probably asking himself is 'who would score more points in a Mercedes next year, Bottas or Alonso?