Valtteri Bottas will remain with Mercedes for the 2020 Formula 1 season after the team confirmed on Thursday it had activated the option in his contract, keeping him at Brackley for a fourth year.

Bottas signed a one-year deal with Mercedes for 2019 with a further one-year option for 2020, but was left facing an uncertainty future over the summer following a difficult run of form that had seen him not win a race since the end of April.

Mercedes was considering promoting junior driver Esteban Ocon into Bottas' seat for 2020, only to ultimately stick with its existing line-up and partner the Finn with Hamilton yet again next year. With Bottas now confirmed for 2020, Ocon is due to take up a race seat with Renault for next year.

"I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me," Bottas said.

"My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019. 

"My overall target is to become Formula One world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020. 

"We have nine races to go this season and I am determined to keep improving at every one of them. Now, all my thoughts are on Spa and delivering a strong performance with the team this weekend." 

Bottas joined Mercedes for the 2017 season following world champion Nico Rosberg's shock retirement, and has helped the team win the last two constructors' titles alongside Hamilton.

All five of the Finn's grand prix victories have come in Mercedes colours, the most recent coming at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

"For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018 - and he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year," Toto Wolff, Mercedes team boss said.

"Although it has been his most successful first half of a championship so far, he is hungry for more and determined to keep on improving and raising his level. That's the mindset we want from all our team members.

"The results we have achieved together with Valtteri are no coincidence: he has been an integral part of our championship success in the past two seasons, his teamwork with Lewis has been exemplary and he has shown real strength of character in how he has responded to setbacks.

"I'm delighted that he will stay with the team for another season at least - and look forward to seeing him raise the bar even further." 

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