Valtteri Bottas has rubbished reports that his salary at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team is a staggering 8 million euros a year.
The Finn has found himself the topic of many conversations since his surprising move to Mercedes from Williams Martini Racing following Nico Rosberg’s retirement. And if the rumours were to be believed, the sum would place Bottas on an income over three times of that he received at Williams (3 million euros) and place him at the top-half of the paddock on earnings.
“I don’t know where those numbers come from and I don’t like talking about it,” he told the Finnish news agency Suomen Tietotoimisto. “It’s not public information though,” he added. “It is just the usual speculation.”
Rosberg’s late decision to hang up his helmet left Mercedes with very few options as most paddock personalities were signed with a team for 2017. However, many consider Bottas to be temporary fix for Mercedes whilst they wait on Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to drive out their terms, speculation fuelled by the one-year contract Bottas has signed. Others report a four-race window for him to impress the management if he is to have any hope of a renewal.
“I have not been told of any schedule,” Bottas responded. “Of course the team expects good results from me, and I have to deliver. Many people think this is a risk for my career, but I see it exactly the other way around. For me it’s just a ridiculously good opportunity.
“Nico has already showed that it is possible to beat Lewis. Of course he is a triple world champion and I haven’t won any races, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t be evenly matched.”
Bottas has confirmed that his race engineer will be Tony Ross, who partnered Rosberg to his championship win last season.
“My engineer will be Tony Ross; who used to be Nico Rosberg’s race engineer,” he told Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat.
Ross and Bottas share a similar past. Ross’ first F1 position was at the Williams F1 Team, joining the team at the end of 1997. After working alongside the likes of Heinz Harald Frentzen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Nick Heidfeld, it was his partnership with Rosberg that resulted him following the German over to Mercedes at the driver’s request in 2011.