Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has said the team has not lost any trust in Valtteri Bottas despite his winless 2018 campaign, but confirmed Esteban Ocon is in contention for a seat in 2020.

As teammate Lewis Hamilton marched to his fifth F1 world title with 11 wins and a record points total, Bottas finished 161 points behind as he struggled to P5 in the drivers' standings.

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Questions are already being asked about Bottas' long-term future at Mercedes, particularly with junior driver Ocon angling for a top drive in 2020 after two impressive full seasons in F1.

Speaking to ESPN, Mercedes F1 boss Wolff said that while Ocon was in contention for a future drive, the team still had full faith in Bottas.

"Yes of course, Esteban is a factor for us in the future," Wolff said.

"We have options for Esteban for 2020, but of course he might also be an option for Mercedes. It depends how the season pans out in Mercedes and how Valtteri goes.

"Still, we haven't lost any of our trust in Valtteri. We are 100 percent behind him because there is the trust within our drivers, because if we wouldn't be behind him, we might as well make the change now. But we don't.

"We think that he's our man, and then obviously Esteban is in the starting blocks because he's keen to drive that car."

Bottas played a support role to Hamilton through much of the 2018 season to help his title bid, even giving up a likely win in Russia to aid his teammate's championship aspirations.

Wolff said he felt this had an adverse impact on Bottas' on-track displays, and tipped the Finn to perform at a high level next year so long as he is in contention for the title.

"I think that for any driver it's very difficult to overcome a situation where you need to back your teammate for a drivers' championship," said Wolff.

"I think that is normal when you are taking away the single most important motivation for a racing driver, which is to be able to compete for a world championship. And I think we have seen that effect in Valtteri last year after Spa and this year after Monza. And he knows that.

"I think as long as he's in the hunt for the championship. he's going to drive at a very high level. That is the most important. I don't think it makes a difference whether he wins the races or not, this is because he knows that after the summer he was basically only second in line to win the race.

"He would have won in Sochi maybe. So on paper he should have had at least two or three wins this season."



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