Bottas set to replace Rosberg at Mercedes

Bottas-set-to-replace-Rosberg-at-MercedesThe deputy principal at Williams has said Valtteri Bottas is close to leaving the team, and will replace retired world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Rosberg retired five days after winning the title, leaving an empty seat at the Constructor’s world champions and Lewis Hamilton without a teammate.

When asked if it was just a question of “crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s” on 27-year-old Bottas’ switch, Claire Williams replied: “It is exactly that.”

It’s thought that Williams will attempt to lure Felipe Massa out of retirement to replace the Finn.

“I suppose as soon as Nico made his announcement, I knew the call was going to come from Toto Wolff [Mercedes team boss],” said Williams.

“You don’t want to stand in the way of a driver who has the opportunity to go and race in a car that’s winning races, winning world championships.”

If Bottas does leave, the only driver on William’s books would be 18-year old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll. The return of 35 year old Massa would add vital experience to the team.

“We need to make sure that if we are to release Valtteri, we have the best credible option to replace him,” said Williams, speaking at the Autosport International Show.

“I wish I could announce who it was, we are still crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s at the moment with all of the contracts.

“We will be making an announcement shortly because we are testing soon and we all want to know who’s going to be driving for us.”

Testing of the new cars for the 2017 season begins at the end of February; the season itself starts in Australia on the 26th March.

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