Formula One: Mercedes reveal replacement candidate for Valtteri Bottas in 2019

With Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport looking for a replacement for Valtteri Bottas in the 2019 season, they revealed a potential candidate.

Valtteri Bottas

Over the past few months, there have been rumors circulating that involve Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport potentially searching for a replacement for Valtteri Bottas following the 2018 One season. This rumors have picked up steam as of late.

During the 28-year-old’s fifth full-time season in the sport and first season with the team this past season, he was given just a one-year deal to continue driving for the team in 2018. Many people believe that if the team were sold on his potential, he would have been given a longer deal.

Bottas had his best career season in Formula One with his first three career victories in the sport and a career-high 3rd place finish in the drivers standings. However, he had the worst season among all Mercedes drivers since the start of the 2014 season.

Since then, none of the team’s drivers had finished a season with fewer than five victories, and none had finished a season in lower than 2nd place in the drivers standings. Unfortunately, that changed as a result of Bottas’ first season driving for the team in 2017.

Because of this, rumors exist that involve Bottas no longer driving for the team in the 2019 season, especially if he does not improve in 2018. A name that has come up in discussions as far as potential replacement candidates go for Bottas is Esteban Ocon.

Ocon, 21, drove in nine races in the 2016 Formula One season, but he has driven full-time in the sport for just one season. Even in that one season, he has already shown tons of potential. This past season, he was forced to retire just once, and that retirement came after a 27-race streak to start his career without a retirement, which is now a new record.

In the 19 races Ocon actually finished this past season, he did so in the top 10 a total of 18 times, proving just how consistent and fast he is. His best finishes were 5th place efforts, which he recorded in the Spanish Grand Prix and the Mexican Grand Prix.

Here is what Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport executive director Toto Wolff had to say about the matter, according to Planet F1.

“Esteban is one of our drivers and is therefore in the picture, but the team and all of its strength is behind Valtteri. 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. Together with Lewis, he is our driver and we do not think of any others.”

While Mercedes are not focused on signing Esteban Ocon to drive for them in the 2019 Formula One season at this very moment, it is clear that he is on their radar. Will Valtteri Bottas, Ocon or perhaps someone else like Daniel Ricciardo be driving for Mercedes in 2019? Stay tuned to find out.