Bottas: 'I still have a few good years in me'

ยฉMercedes/ThomasMaheux

Valtteri Bottas says he still has "a few good years" left in him, but as he nears contract talks with Mercedes it's uncertain if those years will be spent with his current team.

Bottas' fifth season with the Brackley squad is in full swing and approaching a busy triple-header that will unfold in France this weekend and then in Austria.

The Finn is fully focused on improving his results in the upcoming rounds after suffering two successive pointless races. But thereafter, the 31-year-old expects to get down to business with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and kick-start discussions on his future.

"We haven't yet spoken anything because it's a pretty demanding championship and you know how much it matters to have working peace, let's say, so you can focus on the main thing, which is performance," he recently said.

"That time will come, for sure. It's been not yet, but obviously time flies and especially soon when we go to triple headers etcetera, we won't really have time.

"I would imagine that naturally in the next month or so maybe we'll start to speak. I know from previous experience, the sooner you can sort out things it's better for everyone. So it will come soon, but not yet."

With each passing race, the rumor of Bottas' departure from Mercedes and his replacement by the manufacturer's protรฉgรฉ George Russell gets louder.

The Finn's options outside of Mercedes for 2022 appear limited , with Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin all settled for next year while Max Verstappen has become a fixture at Red Bull.

The nine-time Grand Prix winner is nevertheless keeping an open mind about his future which he hopes will see him undertake a sixth season with Mercedes. Regardless of how the coming months will pan out, he insists his passion for F1 remain intact.

"I'm quite open-minded, like in life in general," he said. "You need to always take opportunites and you just never know what's around the corner.

"And that's also having clear goals, what you're pushing for, it has taken me this far, and yes [I] always want to follow my heart and follow my passion.

"And I am still enjoying Formula 1, of course, very much and racing at the front, and I really love it and I still enjoy it as much as I did, for example, in my first year with Mercedes, no doubt.

"If I look at the big picture, for sure I still have a good few years in me. I feel like year on year I keep improving on certain areas and keep getting better," he added.

"I'm quite far from the oldest drivers on the grid so, in theory, I still have time, but you just don't know what the future holds. I take it weekend by weekend and see what comes.

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