Russell denies Mercedes deal is done, as Bottas ignores rumours


Valtteri Bottas has dismissed suggestions he has been told he will be replaced at Mercedes for 2022

Valtteri Bottas, 2021 French GP

Could Bottas be replaced by Russell? He doesn't think so

Antonin Vincent - Pool/Getty Images

Valtteri Bottas says he is trying to block out the noise surrounding his F1 future as speculation grows he will be replaced by George Russell next season.

The Finn has made his worst start to a season since joining Mercedes in 2017 and both he and potential replacement Russell are out of contract at the end of the year.

Asked if he had been informed that he’d be in the Mercedes seat next year, Russell stopped short of an outright denial but emphasised that he hadn’t signed anything yet.

While there has been no official confirmation yet about either driver’s futures, Bottas says recent rumours about his departure from Mercedes are premature, though talks with the team about a new contract have not commenced yet.

“I haven’t really thought about it yet that deeply, honestly,” Bottas said of his contract situation pre-race in Paul Ricard.

“Obviously, you can’t always block the noise that is around, and it’s every, every season is the same thing, same questions and same speculation, that’s part of the sport.

“We haven’t really yet discussed anything about contract, that will come eventually. We’ll see maybe at some point.”

Bottas also denied suggestions that he has already been told he will be replaced next season.

“I can’t can’t confirm that, at least nobody told me about that so that’s not true, that’s speculation.

“I’m sure there’s all kinds of information that is not based on any facts, people are trying to make up stories just for the clicks you know that’s how it goes.”

On the other side of the equation, Russell says he hasn’t signed a contract yet though added he is aiming to clear up his Formula 1 future by the summer break.

“Nothing’s set in stone for next year,” Russell said. “I’m still a Williams driver, I haven’t signed any contracts.

“I’m just fully focused on my job at the moment, hopefully my future gets settled one way or another, maybe come the summer break. But right now, just enjoying the racing and focused on that.”

Despite Bottas’ poor form and momentum suggesting that he is in line for a promotion to Mercedes next season, the British driver said he would be staying focused on the racing rather than any rumour around his future.

“Obviously I’m aware of all of the speculation but I think right now I’m just enjoying driving race by race.

“I want to get my future nailed down at some point. Right now I’m just focused on this weekend. The summer break is usually when these things sort of happen.

“You can’t get too carried away looking into the future. If you start having a bad run of form, suddenly everything can change.”