Bottas free to join Mercedes if Williams find Experienced Replacement

The Williams team have set down clear terms regarding a deal that would involve their crucial points-scorer Valtteri Bottas moving to Mercedes.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams has stated that a driver, possibly Brazilian and recently retired, would fit the bill as a perfect replacement to Bottas should he leave.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 27: Valtteria Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 27, 2014 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 27: Valtteria Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at Hungaroring on July 27, 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)

“I’m delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico. We have always known Valtteri is one of the sport’s key talents and are proud that the championship leaders recognise this.

However, Williams has its own ambitions and we must always ensure we give our team the best opportunity to move forward. Any changes would only be made if Williams remains in a strong position to compete and develop in 2017.

If we did allow Valtteri to leave, we would only do this if an experienced, credible alternative was available, such as someone like Felipe Massa, for example.”

– Claire Williams

SAKHIR, BAHRAIN - APRIL 19:  Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams looks on in the garage during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 19, 2013 in Sakhir, Bahrain.  (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)
SAKHIR, BAHRAIN – APRIL 19: Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams looks on in the garage during practice for the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 19, 2013 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)

A crucial part of the deal for the Williams would include a massive reduction on their Mercedes engine bill next season, thought to be in the region of worth of £8.4m.

Nico Rosberg chimed in on the speculation too, adding,

“At the moment it seems to be between [Pascal] Wehrlein and [Valtteri] Bottas. We’ll see.

Both of them are certainly good drivers. Pascal is a German hope for the future. With Bottas, you know a little more of what you’ll get – playing it safe a bit. Both of them would be good fits for the team.”

– Nico Rosberg