Bottas agrees new Mercedes contract 'in principle' for 2021

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Valtteri Bottas has reached an agreement in principle to remain at Mercedes for 2021, Autosport claims.

Speculation has been high about the future of the Finn with Williams driver George Russell and outgoing Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel both linked to his seat.

There was also a rumour that Renault had made contact with Bottas' manager over potentially filling the seat left by Daniel Ricciardo, though that has of course now been taken by Fernando Alonso. 

But speaking to Sky Germany recently about drivers and the possibility of signing Vettel, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius stated Mercedes would be retaining their current line-up for next season.

And that now appears to be at least half true with Bottas' strong performances in Austria convincing the team to remain for what would be a fifth season in 2021.

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Commenting on his future after winning the season opener just over a week ago, the 31-year-old was calm.

“I really hope [they don’t distract], but it’s a pretty special season, starting so late, so the timings are not relevant compared to other seasons. We’ve only done one race, so, on one hand, there’s no rush," he was quoted by

“Also, time will fly by quickly and before we know it, it’s going to be the end of the season, so I hope soon we can do something with that and get it out of my mind.

“As we’ve seen, if things drag on it’s never beneficial, we’ve learned from that and we’ll be taking actions based on what I’ve learned.”

As it stands no final deal has been signed, but with this apparent commitment to continue it opens Mercedes up to focusing on extending Lewis Hamilton's contract.

Throughout the year there have been reports of the six-time world champion's salary being a potential hurdle in talks, and perhaps the fact Mercedes has seemingly secured Bottas first for next year is an indication of the additional complexities in retaining Hamilton for another few years at least.