F1 driver news: Bottas staying at Mercedes; Ocon signs with Renault

Valtteri Bottas has reason to smile after seeing his contract picked up by Mercedes for the 2020 Formula 1 season.

Valtteri Bottas will remain with Mercedes for at least another year, as the team exercised its option to retain the 30-year-old Finn for a fourth year.

Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon, who was rumored to be a possible replacement for Bottas, has been named as the replacement for Nico Hulkenberg at Renault for 2020.

It can realistically be assumed, given that Mercedes officials had been adamant they would announce their driver lineup prior to the end of the summer break, that the Belgium Grand Prix was the latest a decision could be made before Bottas would be free to pursue other options.

It is unknown whether the contract was extended beyond 2020.

“I am very happy and proud to be part of the team for a fourth season and wish to thank every team member and the board of Mercedes for their trust and belief in me,” said Bottas. “My performances have been getting better and better each year, and this is a great way to kick-start the second half of 2019. 
“My overall target is to become Formula 1 world champion. I believe that on paper, and from my experience with the team, Mercedes is the best option for me to achieve that goal in 2020. We have nine races to go this season, and I am determined to keep improving at every one of them. Now, all my thoughts are on Spa and delivering a strong performance with the team this weekend.”

In a connected move, Renault announced that Mercedes reserve driver Esteban Ocon will partner with Daniel Ricciardo in 2020.

“First and foremost, I am very proud to become a Renault driver,” said Ocon. “I have grown up at Enstone, starting with Lotus in 2010 and then with Renault. I am very attached to this team and everyone who works there. They are the ones who opened the doors of top-level motorsport for me.

“Secondly, I am pleased that a team with big ambitions has entrusted me with the opportunity to once again demonstrate my skills at the highest level of F1. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. The confidence they have in me to help the progression of the team is a very positive pressure, and I look forward to giving the best of myself.”

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