The Mercedes-AMG F1 Team has renewed Valtteri Bottas for the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Bottas’ future at the Silver Arrows had been under a cloud with speculation that former Force India driver turned Mercedes reserve, Esteban Ocon might take his seat.
However, the Brackley squad has now exercised its option over its Finnish incumbent, which will see him race a factory Mercedes for a fourth season.
“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,” said Bottas.
“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.”
After a winless 2018, Bottas dominated this year’s opening race at Albert Park and vied with team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the championship lead until drifting to what is now a 62-point deficit.
He is currently second in the drivers’ standings with two wins and a total of nine podiums out of the 12 grands prix to date.
“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,” said team boss Toto Wolff.
“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.”
Ocon has been linked to the Renault F1 Team seat currently occupied by Nico Hulkenberg, a move now more likely after Mercedes’ announcement.
The championship resumes from its summer break tomorrow with Practice 1 at Spa-Francorchamps from 1900 AEST.