Valtteri Bottas Signs New Mercedes F1 Deal As Team Keep Options Open For 2019

Former F1 driver Mika Salo says that Valtteri Bottas' 1-year contract to drive for Mercedes in 2017 is "really strange."

Bottas' switch from Williams to replace the suddenly retired reigning world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes was finally unveiled on Monday. But sources quickly reported that the deal is for just one year.

"It is a strange solution, really strange," former Sauber and Ferrari driver Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV. "I don't know what's behind it. One-year contracts are quite rare nowadays. Perhaps Mercedes wants to check that Valtteri does the job as he should."

One interpretation is that Mercedes wants to keep the door open for 2018, when talents like Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso might be available.

Bottas, however, has first crack at the seat and wants to show that he can produce Rosberg-like results in 2017.

"He has a winning car, and the possibilities are endless," Salo said. "Everybody can see that Valtteri was the best choice for that job."

When speaking with Ilta Sanomat newspaper, Salo said lining up against three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will be a tough task for Bottas.

"It is not an easy place to be," Salo said. "Lewis has been with his team for a long time, while Valtteri has been with his team his whole career and now has to learn how they (Mercedes) do everything. (Bottas) has a car to fight for the world championship, but then he would have to beat Hamilton. It's really not easy."

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Source : http://autoweek.com/article/formula-one/valtteri-bottas-one-year-deal-mercedes-raises-eyebrows

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