Williams admits it may allow Mercedes to sign Bottas

Claire Williams has confirmed under-contract driver Valtteri Bottas could be allowed to join Mercedes, provided his current team's 2017 campaign isn't compromised as a result.

Williams admits it may allow Mercedes to sign Bottas
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, Williams
Valtteri Bottas, Williams
World Champion Nico Rosberg celebrates
Valtteri Bottas, Williams
Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, and the team say a fond goodbye to Felipe Massa, Williams, after his final race for the team and in F1

Williams' acknowledgement of Mercedes interest - and the possibility of doing a deal - comes on the heels of the German marque clarifying it would not announce a replacement for F1 champion Nico Rosberg until January 3 at earliest.

It also goes against Williams tech chief Pat Symonds' insistence that Bottas is "crucial" to Williams' 2017 plans.

Rosberg shocked the motorsport world by announcing his decision to retire from F1 on December 2, shortly after winning his maiden championship.

It was a decision that Mercedes higher-ups admitted had caught them off-guard, the team faced with an urgent search for a teammate to Lewis Hamilton for 2017.

Bottas - whose career is managed by a team that includes Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff - was thought to be high on the list of candidates from the very beginning.

"I'm delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico," Claire Williams, deputy principal of the Williams F1 team, told BBC Sport.

"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."

The Williams team, which has its engines supplied by Mercedes, had announced a line-up of Bottas and 18-year-old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll for 2017.

Parallel to Mercedes' interest in Bottas, the Grove-based team is set to hire the German F1 squad's current tech chief Paddy Lowe.

Williams newcomer Stroll was to replace retiring F1 veteran Felipe Massa in the line-up - but the Brazilian could now feature on next year's F1 grid after all.

"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," Williams was quoted as saying the same day as a report in France's L'Equipe suggested her team was indeed in talks with the Brazilian over a 2017 return.

"Whatever we decide, it must be in the best interests of this team."

Should Williams allow Mercedes to sign Bottas for 2017, it will come as a heavy blow to the German marque's protege Pascal Wehrlein, who was the other main contender for the seat, and who would instead likely look to Sauber or Manor to continue his F1 career.

shares
comments
Hamilton: Teammate relationship needs to be no worse than with Rosberg

Previous article

Hamilton: Teammate relationship needs to be no worse than with Rosberg

Next article

Ross Brawn: early starters on 2017 can "shape arguments" over new F1 rules

Ross Brawn: early starters on 2017 can "shape arguments" over new F1 rules
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021