Bottas was in talks over contingency plans for 2021 before Mercedes renewal

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Valtteri Bottas has confirmed he was in talks with other teams as a contingency plan for if Mercedes hadn't renewed his contract for 2021.

Last week, the Finn was announced for another year at least with the German manufacturer after signing what he called a "pretty much copy and paste" contract extension.

There was some speculation, however, during the prolonged off-season due to Covid-19, that Bottas had been contacted by Renault following Daniel Ricciardo's decision to leave for McLaren, taking the seat of Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.

And while Valtteri didn't name any specific teams that he spoke with, he did admit considering his options given the unique situation F1 was in.

"Yes, I had talks with other teams, I can say that," he told ESPN.

"Even before we had started to race, there was quite a bit of movement in terms of teams and drivers.

"But the team [Mercedes] made it very clear they are not going to sign anyone before we started racing because they still needed time to get back to racing, etc.

Also Read:

"From my side, I thought, just in case, I wanted to look for other things in case Mercedes, for some reason, wouldn't take me.

"I don't want to go too much into detail how deep the discussions were but I was looking around at what would be there in case."

As it was Bottas described a "smooth" process that led to his guaranteed one-year extension, and that was something he was happy to accept despite his wish for a multi-year contract earlier in the year.

"If there was a long-term contract offer, I would have gone for it for sure," he said. "But we decided again with the team to go for that, and if that is everything they can offer, then I take it.

"For me, this year, even though Lewis is leading with thirty points, there is still a chance to win the title, and next year I know that I will get the opportunity if I perform well. That's all that I need.

"Sometimes it's good to look short term and that's good for your long term. If I want to win the title, this is the team to be at, so if it's one year, I take it. It's normal already, so it's fine.

"Yes, it would have been nice to get a long-term contract," he admitted, "but it's the best I can get, so I take it."

Some were a little disappointed at Mercedes taking the safe option with Bottas, rather than plucking George Russell from his current seat at Williams.

And it's hard to deny that the decision helps Lewis Hamilton, with the Briton having comfortably beaten the 30-year-old since he joined in 2017.

So unsurprisingly, the six-time world champion was happy to see Bottas retained.

"Consistency is always a good thing for a team, and Valtteri has had such a positive influence on the team over these five years," he said.

"He's trustworthy and does an incredible job on the track, and is a great team-mate to all the people within the team.

"I think it's a tribute to all the hard work he has done."