Valtteri Bottas wants to start negotiations over a new Formula 1 contract with Mercedes as early as possible in 2020 to avoid “unnecessary talk” about his future.

The Finn, who enjoyed his best-ever F1 season in 2019 as he claimed runner-up spot behind teammate and champion Lewis Hamilton, is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the year.

Bottas has been on rolling one-year deals since he joined Mercedes in 2017 and has had his future resolved no earlier than July in the past three seasons, with his 2020 contract not being announced until late August last year.

“It’s no secret that my contract ends [at the] end of this season,” Bottas said.

“So naturally you want to start talking quite a bit early on but at the same time, at this time of the year there’s no point as it’s too early and we are pretty busy focusing on performance.

“But we have a good relationship with Toto [Wolff] and everyone in the team, so when it’s time, we will talk about things openly.

“For sure I learned things and the team also said they learned about how we handled things [the 2019 talks] last year and how we communicated it.

“I’m sure it can be done a bit smoother and with less things happening around [it] - less headlines. But like I said it’s early days.”

Bottas admitted he found his drawn-out contract talks of previous years to be “a distraction” that hindered his performance.

“There was a bit too much unnecessary talk outside the team,” he explained.

“Everything should have just been kept internal. I think it makes things easier. And for sure we learnt that when the decisions were made last year it was always better being earlier.

“If you have to drag it on for August, September, it kind of builds up and becomes more of a distraction but if things were done a couple of months earlier then it makes it much more simple because all of the speculation ramps up towards August and September.”

And Bottas believes it “helps a lot” to be tied down to a long-term contract, describing it as a “win-win situation” for both team and driver.

“If you know [what you're doing] for many years ahead and obviously if you're comfortable in the team, it's only a win-win situation,” he said.

“If the team wants you long-term, if the driver is happy to be there, you know what's happening in the future, so you can concentrate on the work and on the future... There's no need for the team to hide anything from the driver.

“So it's always a good thing if it's long-term, I believe, but it doesn't always happen in Formula 1, as I've seen.

“It's a political sport and there's many drivers wanting to get seats, and many teams want to keep options open for different reasons, and that's how it goes.”

 

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