Bottas: Mercedes told me it is not looking at Vettel

Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel on-track during pre-season testing

Valtteri Bottas claims to have been told by Mercedes that it is not looking to sign outgoing Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

The German is on the market following the move to split from the Scuderia, which has replaced him with Carlos Sainz from 2021.

The Spaniard will join the already renewed Charles Leclerc while the Mercedes-AMG Formula One Team, on the other hand, has no driver confirmed beyond the end of the current season.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, who had already explained that he could see benefits in having Vettel at the squad, stated recently that his interest in the four-time world champion is more than “lip service”.

However, he also advised that “Our priority lies on the Mercedes drivers, Valtteri and Lewis (Hamilton), and then obviously George (Russell, contracted to Mercedes) and the Williams situation we’re looking at with interest.”

Bottas has now altogether downplayed the prospect of Vettel taking his seat.

Asked if he worried about situations where such a driver is available, the Finn told Sky Sports F1, “No, it doesn’t get to you.

“We’ve been very honest also with my team all the time, what’s the situation, and how it’s going to be contract-wise.

“I got a pretty straight message that no, they are not considering Seb, so I said ‘Fine, no worries then.’”

Bottas has been on a string of one-year deals since being called on to join Mercedes in 2017, and his latest renewal was not announced until August last year.

The unique circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic means that deals are already being done before a wheel has been turned in a race in 2020, and the seven-time grand prix winner says he has even been amused by chat about his future.

“It’s the same as every year for me. It’s no different in any way than any other season for me,” remarked Bottas.

“There are always talks, and the situation has been the same for me.

“I find it quite funny with not even a single race done, there’s been people getting my seat. It made me laugh a couple of times.

“There’s no pressure from that side, because I still have my clear goal for the season in my mind, and that’s it.

“Things will then sort themselves, one way or another, whatever is going to happen. I have no stress about that at all.”

The 2020 F1 season will commence at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 3-5.

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