Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas has poured cold water on recent rumours that he is set to be replaced by George Russell for 2022.
The Finn has been rumoured to be on the verge of being axed from Mercedes for next season, with his contract up for renewal at the end of this season after a few disappointing races so far in the early part of this year. Asked when his contract plans for next year might be announced, Bottas wouldn't be drawn on the state of affairs with Mercedes.
"I think every year is different. It always depends on how your season has been and depends on your overall situation of the team if they are looking for other options or not at all," Bottas told select members of the media, including RacingNews365 ahead of the French Grand Prix.
"So some years been earlier, some years later. So there's not like a norm. But yeah, all I can say that we just want to focus on the next three races. It's going to require a lot from us as a team before we make any decisions together.
"And my gut feeling at the moment, I haven't really allowed myself to think about that too much. Because that can become a distraction. I've learned that so it will come at some point. So for now, the gut is not saying anything. I just want to win races and get the results that I am aiming for personally."
Rumours had abounded after Bottas' anonymous race in Azerbaijan that he had already received word from team boss Toto Wolff that his time at Mercedes was up, but the Finn denied that any such conversation has taken place.
"With Toto, we speak often, that's normal for us. And we've also spoken lately, that's normal," he said.
"But that I can confirm that at least nobody told me about that! So, yeah, that's not true. That's speculation. And I'm sure there's all kinds of speculation that is not based on any facts. You know, people are trying to make up stories just for the clicks, you know, that's how it goes."
But, despite the rumours, Bottas insists he's not yet thinking about a 'Plan B' incase he loses his Mercedes seat.
"I haven't really thought about it that deeply, honestly," he said.
"Obviously, you can't always block the noise that is around and every season is the same thing. And same questions and same speculation, that's part of the sport.
"So I think it's a bit too early for me yet to answer that in detail. We haven't really yet discussed anything about contract with Mercedes, and that will come eventually. And now it's really focus for this triple header. And we'll see that after maybe at some point, but yeah, not much more to say at this point."