Formula 1

Toto Wolff responds to claims Mercedes have found driver for 2019

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Football News

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has swiftly refuted shock rumours that the 2017 Constructors Champions are already eyeing up a replacement for one of its drivers.

Not surprisingly, Lewis Hamilton is not the man at the centre of these claims, rather it is his teammate Valtteri Bottas who stories are suggesting may be cruelly dispensed with for the 2019 season.

Bottas, the 28-year-old Finnish driver, had a very successful maiden campaign in the silver car, claiming three victories and coming third overall with 305 points.

However, the F1 rumour mill has been working in overdrive this off season and is hinting that Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon is being lined up to replace Bottas for the 2019 season.

Speaking to the Finnish based newspaper Turun Sanomat Wolff flatly denied these suggestions.

"Esteban is one of our drivers and is therefore in the picture, but the team and all of its strength is behind Valtteri," Wolff said.

"If we to start thinking about other drivers, it would mean that the emotional side would not be 100 per cent for Valtteri.

"I can assure you, from the board to every team member, we all want Valtteri to succeed," he continued.

"Together with Lewis, he is our driver and we do not think of any others."

Ocon, the French youngster, showed tremendous promise during the 2017 season, coming eighth in the championship driving for Force India, but Wolff was tremendously impressed by the Finnish driver's campaign, and believes that he has enormous potential for the future.

"Valtteri just has to understand what he missed during the weekends when he lost out to Lewis, and on the other hand understand his strength of those weekends when he beat his teammate, for example in Sochi," Wolff said.

"Valtteri has it all. He just has to get the whole package together," he concluded.

Valterri Bottas
Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1

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