Two months before the start of 2019 season, Valtteri Bottas has lost his main sponsor.
Billionaire Antti Aarnio-Wihuri, chief of Finnish Wihuri Group, told that he was disappointed with the Mercedes driver's results in 2018 season. He opined:
“It’s been disappointing. It was not entirely his own fault, some of it was due to the team and technical problems, but I think he was quite weak at the end of the year. It’s a difficult place to be as Hamilton’s team-mate, but Valtteri was left behind by many others and was only fifth overall. It was a pretty weak result."
Wihuri was sponsoring Bottas for nearly 20 years, through his whole career. Aarnio-Wihuri also admitted that F1 sponsorship became pretty expensive over the years. Bottas' manager, Ville Ahtiainen, told that soon he'll have some good news about Valtteri's partners and that losing his main sponsor doesn't have any impact on his current situation.
The 2018 season was an absolute disaster for Finnish driver and no one can argue with that. The fact that Bottas lost his main sponsor only because of his results might be pretty frustrating and is, in fact, really alarming. 2019 is going to be even harder with Esteban Ocon pushing from the reserve seat.
If Bottas won't improve his racing then he might not be able to even finish next season. When you're a Mercedes driver, you gotta show that you have the X factor. The only thing that really remains after 2018 season is infamous "Valtteri, it's James" radio message.
I'm feeling sorry for Bottas, but also I cannot stop myself from thinking that he simply isn't a driver that's suitable for Mercedes car. He'll have to give 110% performances if he wants to keep his seat. If he won't, then Ocon will simply replace him in the blink of an eye.