Valtteri Bottas insists he is “not worried” about rumours linking Esteban Ocon to his Mercedes Formula 1 seat for the 2020 season.

Bottas endured a winless 2018 season and struggled to match teammate Lewis Hamilton, who in contrast claimed 11 victories and pole positions on his way to clinching a fifth drivers’ world title.

The Finn ended the year fifth in the championship standings, and has found himself subject of speculation linking Ocon with his Mercedes seat for 2020. Ocon will become Mercedes’ reserve driver for 2019 after losing his spot at Force India to Lance Stroll.

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Bottas signed a new one-year deal with the German manufacturer earlier this season but Mercedes has the option to continue with the three-time grand prix winner alongside Hamilton in 2020.

Asked if he is worried about the speculation, Bottas replied: “No, it’s not a concern.

“People are always talking and, for sure, every driver wants to move on with their own career, they want to grab the opportunities.

“But it’s not my job to worry about that, it’s only going to hurt me.

“I have a very good relationship with every team member here, including Toto [Wolff], and we can always speak openly about anything, so there’s nothing being hidden.

“If I meet my targets and the targets the team has for me next year, that’s good. If I don’t and if the team feels I’m not performing well enough, then it’s fair enough.

“It’s how the sport goes, so I’m not worried.”

Bottas, who labelled his 2018 season as the “worst” of his career, said he has already targeted areas for improvement over the winter and believes his testing campaign will make him “tougher”.

“I need to have a look at everything from this season and in every race weekend there are things you can do better,” he explained.

“I cannot say it was just one thing [to improve] but we’ll have a better look at everything and talk with the team about it.

“Then I’ll need to decide what will be the main points, because there are many things and we’re limited with time and with what you can process at once. That’s the plan for the winter.

“From a season like this you just have to learn and try to forget, but this is definitely a season that will make me a tougher person and driver for the future.”

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