The 2019 Formula 1 grid is shaping up and Mercedes has added yet another piece to the puzzle after confirming that Valtteri Bottas will complete the team’s line-up next year. The news comes just a day after Lewis Hamilton's two-year contract extension was announced.
Bottas has signed a one-year contract extension with Mercedes, with an option to remain with the team in 2020 too.
"This year, with a full winter of preparation, I have been able to make a good step forward - and I believe that there is still more to come. We have not been so lucky in the races this year but the team knows how I am performing, and this is a great sign of confidence in me and my driving,” said Bottas. "We have a big battle on our hands right now, so it's good to have the future clear for everybody – it means we can have a full focus on the championship fight."
Since joining the team as a replacement for Nico Rosberg in 2017, the Finnish driver has collected three Grand Prix wins and five pole positions, helping Mercedes clinch their fourth consecutive constructors’ championship last year. He currently stands fifth in the 2018 drivers’ championship standings, two points behind Daniel Ricciardo.
"We are very pleased to extend Valtteri's contract with Mercedes for another season at least – and to be able to confirm an unchanged driver line-up for 2019, ahead of our home race in Hockenheim,” added Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff. "When we took the decision in favour of Valtteri for 2019, it wasn't just about his undoubted speed and work ethic, but also a question of character. His relationship with the team, including Lewis, is open and trusting, without any politics at all."
"Those are the ingredients you need when you're fighting strong rivals in both championships and they mirror the values inside the team," Wolff went on to say. "I am very excited to keep Valtteri in the team and look forward to celebrating many more successes with him."