Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he expects to finalise the team’s 2020 Formula 1 driver line-up during the summer break, with further talks set to take place with Valtteri Bottas.
“We want to end the season before the shutdown in a good place and put in two solid performances in Hockenheim and Budapest and then spend some time thinking about driver line-up for 2020 and beyond,” said Wolff on Friday.”
“We agreed that we will take the decision in August going forwards. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we will announce it in August.”
“As we all know, it was an unfortunate situation last year that Esteban fell between the chairs,” said Wolff.
“He could have chosen between two seats and in the end nothing came out so from our perspective everybody knows about his driving capabilities.
“For Mercedes, for ourselves, Valtteri is showing some very strong performances and merits the seat but equally Esteban has shown that in the past and is a great addition to the team.”
“He contributes a lot behind closed doors. He drives the sim overnight on race weekends, comes in here on Saturday and gives us input and he’s a great kid overall.”
“Putting a Mercedes young driver in the car would be interesting as well.”
“Having said that, there is interest for Esteban among other teams and we need to carefully make a decision for ourselves and with the other interested parties, not only for our own benefit but also for Esteban’s benefit.”
“And if it would mean that we are taking a decision in favour of Valtteri, it clearly also means that somebody else would continue to develop him Ocon and would mean that we would lose our hand for a year or two or more on Esteban and these are the consequences of that decision.”