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Bottas to stay at Mercedes in 2020
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 08 - 2019

Valtteri Bottas will stay at Mercedes for another year, the Formula One champions said on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Finn, who joined the team in 2017 after Nico Rosberg's sudden retirement, was confirmed ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix as Formula One returned from its summer break on Thursday.
"My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick start the second half of 2019," Bottas said in a statement. "My overall target is to become Formula One world champion.
"From my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020."
Bottas bounced back strongly this season after a disappointing 2018 by winning the first race in Australia. Winless in 2018, he has taken two victories and a further seven podiums from 12 races this season.
Following his triumph at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, the Finn has faded during recent races and trails teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 62 points.
But his improved form convinced Mercedes bosses to retain Bottas, who has brought intra-team harmony to the world champions after several acrimonious years with Hamilton and Rosberg.
"For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018," said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. "And he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year."
Wolff had previously said the team would choose either Bottas or 22-year-old Esteban Ocon as five-time champion Hamilton's teammate next season.
Frenchman Esteban Ocon will drive for the Renault Formula One team next season, the French manufacturer announced on Thursday.
The 22-year-old Mercedes protege, filling the reserve driver role for the world champions this year, will replace Nico Hulkenberg alongside Australian Daniel Ricciardo as part of a two-year deal keeping him at the team until 2021.
"I am very attached to this team and everyone who works there," said Ocon, who was the team's reserve driver in 2016 and part of its junior driver program when it ran as Lotus under previous ownership.
"They are the ones who opened the doors of top level motorsport for me." Ocon, who raced for Force India and then racing Point after the team was renamed under new ownership in 2017, was set to join Renault last season.
But the highly-rated youngster found himself on the sidelines after the French manufacturer agreed a deal with Ricciardo instead. He was in the frame for a seat alongside five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
But the Brackley-based team chose to stick with Valtteri Bottas in a deal announced earlier on Thursday. Ocon will fulfill his duties as Mercedes reserve until the end of this season, a spokesman for the team said.
"Over his Formula One career Esteban has experienced the highs and lows of the sport, and fully understood the need to seize every possible chance," said Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul.
"He has shown his ability to score points, has great professionalism... plus his recent experience as reserve driver to the current world champions will be a valuable asset to the development of our entire team."
Renault have endured a difficult season and are currently sixth out of ten teams in the standings. There was no immediate announcement on where Hulkenberg could be headed next year, but the German has been tipped to replace Romain Grosjean at Haas. — Reuters


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