Valtteri Bottas wants his 2021 contract talks with Mercedes to be finalized earlier than last year, when talks dragged on and proved to be a distraction that weighed on the Finn’s performance.
Last summer, Bottas was awarded a one-year extension to his deal with Mercedes.
But the uncertainty that prevailed before his signing and the rumors swirling in the press disrupted the seven-time Grand Prix winner’s mindset.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff recognized his driver’s plight and vowed to do a better job this year handling the team’s contract talks with Bottas.
“For sure I learned things and the team also said they learned about how we handled [the 2019 talks] and how we communicated it,” said Bottas last week in Barcelona.
“I’m sure it can be done a bit smoother and with less things happening around [it] – less headlines.”
Bottas’ main complaint last year regarding his negotiations with his employer was the incessant chatter surrounding the talks and the distractions it engendered.
“[There] was a bit too much unnecessary talk outside the team,” he added. “Everything should have just been kept internal.
“I think it makes things easier. And for sure we learnt that [the team making the decision] earlier than when the decisions were made last year was better.
“If you have to drag it on for August, September, it kind of builds up and becomes more of a distraction, because all of the speculation ramps up towards August and September.”
The 30-year-old’s tenure at Mercedes since 2017 has been governed by one-year contracts. The Finn would obviously prefer a multi-year deal and the psychological benefit such an agreement brings.
“It’s no secret that my contract ends [at the] end of this season,” he said.
“For sure, if you know [what you’re doing] for many years ahead and obviously if you’re comfortable in the team, it’s only a win-win situation.
“If the team wants you long-term, if the driver is happy to be there, you know what’s happening in the future, so you can concentrate on the work and on the future.
“There’s no need for the team to hide anything from the driver.
“So it’s always a good thing if it’s long-term, I believe, but it doesn’t always happen in Formula 1, as I’ve seen.
“It’s a political sport and there’s many drivers wanting to get seats, and many teams want to keep options open for different reasons, and that’s how it goes.”