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- Updated: January 16, 2017
Mercedes have confirmed the arrival of Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg for the 2017 season. The deal was finalised after weeks of negotiation and talks after Rosberg had announced his decision to retire in December 2016.
“It has been dragging on and I think everyone wants to know. It is a great opportunity for Valtteri and he has given a lot to Williams. We’ve always said if we can make this happen on terms that are positive for Williams, then it is probably the right thing to do. No one needs or wants a driver in your team who really wants to be somewhere else.” Williams said.
The 27-year-old is set to join Lewis Hamilton as Mercedes hope to continue their winning ways from last season.
Williams also confirmed the arrival of Felipe Massa, who is expected to fill the void left by the Finnish driver. The Brazilian stalwart was convinced by Williams’ team management and decided to return to F1 in an attempt to provide experience to a line-up that includes 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll.
“If Felipe was to come back I don’t believe there would be any lack of competitive spirit within him. We also wouldn’t bring a driver who we had any concerns over his ability to do the job for us.” Claire Williams said.
Massa added that he was happy that Williams had approached him and he would enjoy working with a team he has shared many good moments with.
“Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams,” said Massa. “I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve.
“Valterri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.”
Williams confirmed that the contract was would be for a year.
Many are viewing Bottas joining Hamilton as a strategy by Mercedes to keep their star man happy, considering the fact that Bottas will not mind Hamilton basking in the limelight. That facet of his personality has been evident since his days with Felipe Massa while driving for Williams.