Valtteri Bottas will join the Silver Arrows as Nico Rosberg's replacement
01:13, Jan 18, 2017
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Valtteri Bottas has replaced retired Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, with Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa coming out of retirement to take the Finn's seat at Williams.
Mercedes-AMG F1 used the new driver announcement to also confirm it would launch its new W08 Hybrid race vehicle on February 23.
Mercedes had to scramble to find a new driver after Germany's Nico Rosberg, 31, shocked everybody by announcing last month that he was retiring from motor racing just days after winning his first drivers' title. His departure left the German team in a great trouble to find a replacement.
Speaking about his partnership with Lewis Hamilton, Bottas said, "We can be a strong pair together".
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That is usual at this time of year but until he changes his attitude, he is out of the team and he's not going to train with us. It was the most united the club has felt all season, as first team coach Edin Terzic astutely wrote in a tweet after the match.
In fact, Mercedes already contacted Williams about Bottas' transfer since a year ago.
The success of Bottas's first season in a championship-contenting team is likely to be judged on how he fares against Hamilton in the same auto - a driver Wolff has reiterated is "almost unbeatable" when at his best.
Mercedes did not disclose the length of Bottas's contract but Wolff, Mercedes' motorsport boss, has hinted at an initial one-year term with options beyond that.
"I'm very relaxed now because I believe with Bottas we again have an equal driver pairing like past year. I'm sure we can work together and have a good experience to race flat out and fair together". "I'm still missing my first win, so that's the first mission".
The team will also likely have an easier time managing any rivalry that might develop between a hungry Hamilton determined to reclaim his lost championship crown and the reserved, soft-spoken Bottas, than they did with the Briton and Rosberg.
So, Massa returns to Williams, Bottas moves over to Merc, and we have a 2017 F1 championship shaping up quite nicely...
The 35-year-old will have a new team-mate in 18-year-old Lance Stroll. Pending the fate afforded to Manor, with these announcements, the composition of the 2017 grid is set.
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