Valtteri Bottas has denied that he could be replaced at Mercedes mid-way through the 2021 Formula 1 season, labelling the rumours as “bullshit”.
Bottas, whose contract with the world champions expires at the end of the current season, is in competition for a seat at the team next year with Mercedes junior George Russell, who has been linked to the drive.
A report in the Daily Mail earlier this week suggested that Bottas could be dropped prior to the end of the current campaign, which would allow Russell to join early.
Speaking in Barcelona ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Bottas affirmed that he has a contract in place until the end of the season.
“I know that I’m not going to be replaced in the middle of the season,” Bottas said. “As a team we don’t do that, I have a contract for this year.
“I think there’s just only one team that does that kind of things in Formula 1 and we’re not that team,” Bottas added, likely referring to Red Bull.
“So, no pressure from my side. We know how things are, there’s bullshit around, that’s part of the sport.”
Russell has long been linked with a future Mercedes seat, with the suggestions heating up following his strong one-off performance for the team at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Although Lewis Hamilton is also yet to sign a deal beyond the 2021 campaign, the seven-time world champion has hinted that he will stay on the grid for 2022.
Bottas states he has not yet considered next season, insisting his full focus is on 2021.
“It’s early days – I haven’t thought about next year, really,” Bottas said. “My full focus is on this year and now, because that’s all that matters and normally that will bring a good future.
“I’ve no idea and at the moment I don’t care I just want to focus on this year and putting every single thought and every bit of energy I have into that.”