Valtteri Bottas says he has a “Plan B and even a Plan C” in case he loses his Mercedes Formula 1 seat to Esteban Ocon for the 2020 season. 

Bottas faces an anxious wait over the summer break to find out about his F1 future, with Mercedes setting an August deadline to firm up its 2020 driver line-up plans. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has a deal taking him until the end of next year, while the German manufacturer has an option to extend Bottas’ contract for an additional year upon its expiry at the end of the current campaign.

But it faces a dilemma in the shape of its reserve driver Ocon, who was left without a full-time F1 drive this year after losing his seat at Racing Point to make way for the arrival of Lance Stroll. Mercedes is desperate to ensure Ocon ends up on the grid as it does not want to lose its highly-rated prospect to a rival team.

“When you are in this situation, as with everything in Formula 1, you need to have a Plan B and, sometimes, even a Plan C,” Bottas said.

“For sure when you’re talking about stuff it’s always good to have different plans and that’s what I’m doing.

“I’m not really nervous, but for sure it would be nice to hear some news from the team, to know what they want to do, as well.

“What can I do? I was trying, took a bit of a risk, trying on the outside into Turn 1 and then it was a bit messy in Turns 2 and 3.

“Got a bit unlucky with the front wing damage, so it could have been a completely different race.

“I don’t think one race is going to change anything, like I said on Thursday, and I’m sure we’ll get some more news soon.”

Bottas sits second in the 2019 drivers’ standings having taken two victories from the opening 12 rounds. The Finn is 62 points down on championship leader Hamilton and just seven points clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that it work to provide Bottas with a “soft landing” should it ultimately opt to promote Ocon.

“We have responsibility for the juniors and for the ones who are in the car with us right now,” Wolff explained. “We’re not going to do anything that is going to make it harder for them.

“Whatever we decide we’ll consider what are the options for the driver to go elsewhere. If it’s for Esteban to progress [elsewhere], to make it back one day in a Mercedes; or if it’s for Valtteri to have a ‘soft landing’, because he deserves it, he had great speed [in qualifying].”

 

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