Valtteri Bottas will join Mercedes from Williams this season it’s been confirmed. After weeks of speculation, Formula One’s biggest rumour was finally became fact.
The move had been on the cards for a number of weeks, following the sudden retirement of World champion Nico Rosberg’s in December. Leaving Mercedes with a vacancy alongside Hamilton. Meanwhile it’s been announced that Felipe Massa will race for Williams, despite retiring from the sport at the end of last season.
Bottas told Mercedes staff “We did the contract today and obviously I’ve been dreaming for a long time to drive for a team like this, a team of champions,” said Bottas as he was unveiled to Mercedes’ workforce.
“So I’m really proud to be part of this and proud of what you’ve achieved in the last few years but also in the whole history of Formula 1. It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow myself this year.” Bottas joins three time champion Lewis Hamilton, who he said is looking forward to working with.
The Fin says he has a clear mission “My goal for the first race is to get all the points available that there’s absolutely possible in the car. I’m still missing my first win, so that’s the first mission.”
Mercedes boss who also manages the Fin, Toto Wolff said “He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1. But now it’s time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for championships.”
“We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we’ve got a busy programme to get him integrated into the team.”
Massa who only quit F1 because he knew he was not wanted at Williams and there was no other good seat available to him. The eleven time Grand Prix, he said: “Given the turn of events over the winter, I wish Valtteri all the best at Mercedes. In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 F1 campaign, it felt like the right thing to do.”
Yesterday Claire Williams said that the team wants to do the right thing and not stand in the way of Valtteri Bottas’s future. Ms Williams said today “With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the current Constructors’ Champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to give Valtteri this fantastic opportunity”
This announcement was shortly followed by Sauber as well who announced that they had signed Mercedes test driver Pascal Wehrlein.
These key announcements give Mercedes the line-up they wanted for this season and it could give Bottas the chance to fly. Bottas has proven that he has the ability to drive and fight against teams who have better cars than the Williams.
Bottas however, still misses that win but has shown he can beat his team-mate on track when it matters, both in qualifying and races. He has so far, never been out-scored by his team-mate Massa in a season. But, he will surely have a tougher fight with Hamilton, which will be interesting as Bottas hasn’t been under the pressure of being in a works team and fighting for the championship.
Speaking about Wehrlein, Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn said Wehrlein had shown “talent throughout his career”.
She added: “Last year, in his rookie Formula 1 season, he proved his potential by scoring one point in the Austrian Grand Prix. There is surely more to come from Pascal, and we want to give him the chance to further grow and learn at the pinnacle of motorsport.”
This move by Wehrlein to Sauber should help the team financially.