(GMM) James Allison thinks Valtteri Bottas “deserves” his seat at Mercedes.
Mercedes’ technical director, who is stepping into a less intense role from this month, this week contradicted Toto Wolff’s claim that the 2021 car will no longer be developed.
Now, he Allison has thrown another spanner in the works regarding speculation that Bottas, 31, looks certain to be replaced by George Russell for 2022.
“To be honest, it’s not my job to speculate about it,” Allison is quoted by Speed Week.
“But Lewis and Valtteri have been a duo that has worked very well over the past few years. But as I said, it’s not up to me to speculate about it.”
However, Bottas performed well last weekend in Austria and Allison says the Finnish driver “deserves his place on the team”.
“He is a top-class driver and a weekend like the one in Spielberg is of course extremely helpful in that regard,” he insisted.
Fascinatingly, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone agrees that Bottas has done enough to justify staying at Mercedes beyond 2021.
“He was a loyal teammate over the years – a loyal helper to Lewis,” the 90-year-old told Sport Bild.
“They shouldn’t forget that. As a team, they should stand behind a man like that.”