Toto Wolff's brief to new Mercedes recruit Valtteri Bottas was short when asked what the Finn must do to retain his place in the team beyond 2017. He must integrate into the team and 'be quick' said the Silver arrows teams motor sport boss.
The Finn was handed just a one-year contract when he was signed from Williams with Wolff admitting that they could look at different options in 2018 especially with Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso entering the final year of their deals with their respective teams Ferrari and McLaren.
Lewis Hamilton is tied down until the end of the 2018 season, and while Alonso was an option for the 2017 campaign, the Spaniard was keen to honour his contract with the Woking-based team. But another poor year with McLaren and he could be tempted to join the team that has been dominating the sport for the last three seasons.
However, Wolff has backed Bottas to step up his game and provide the level of performance similar to his predecessor. The Mercedes chief wants the two drivers to push each other like Nico Rosberg and Hamilton did during their title battles in recent years. The 27-year-old is yet to win a race, but secured nine podiums during his time with Williams despite having an inconsistent car.
"He has to integrate well into the team - which I have no doubt he will - and be quick. We want to see that the two [Bottas and Hamilton] push each other as we have seen with our drivers in the past," Wolff told Formula One's official site.
"Not at all. We trust in Valtteri. He has done 77 races with nine podiums for Williams and has excellent records in junior categories. I think he is grown up enough to step into Nico's (Rosberg) shoes," the German said, when asked if having the Finn was a step down compared to Rosberg.