AMG Mercedes Signs Bottas For 2017 Season

Photo By Mark Sutton/Sutton Images
[Photo By Mark Sutton/Sutton Images]

Following many weeks of speculation, on who would replace defending world champion Nico Rosberg following his sudden retirement, AMG Mercedes decided on Monday to snatch Finnish driver Valterri Bottas from the Williams Martini Racing team and sign him to a contract with the Brackley, England, squad to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton for the 2017 season.

To start things off, Williams resigned Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa, after it looked like Massa was going to retire from the sport. It was this deal that cleared the way for Bottas to change to Mercedes. As for Rosberg, he will be an ambassador for the Silver Arrows.

Many drivers had the chance to join what is the best team for the last two seasons, including some drivers who have current contracts on their squads. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have solid contracts for at least another season, but it was too difficult to switch with so much money on their contracts. Even drivers of young quality, such as Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon found other teams, so only Bottas seemed to be the only one that could make a decent deal, with some strings attached.

“Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said to ESPN F1. “Nico’s decision in December was a big surprise – certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow. “Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us. He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1. But now it’s time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for championships. We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we’ve got a busy program to get him integrated into the team. One thing is for sure: as I know Valtteri, he will give it everything.”

As for Bottas, it was a deal that he felt has waited a long time for…with a little luck involved.

“It’s very exciting times for me. I think it’s going to take a while to understand that this is really happening”. He added. “It’s definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history — especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive. I’m really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity. “I’ve had a really warm welcome so far. Of course, I have a lot more people to meet and new faces to remember. But initially everything has felt very good. I’m really impressed with the facilities and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better. My first experience with Mercedes power was in F3 back in 2009 and, of course, I know the Power Unit well from the last three years with Williams. But there are a lot of new things to learn with the car and also with how the team operates at the factory, in testing and at the races.”

Wolff himself benefited by becoming Bottas manager since he was first working at Williams, and stayed with him even when the Austrian switched to Mercedes to partner Niki Lauda as team manager. Now that Bottas is on his team, this causes a conflict of interest, in which Wolff has now withdrawn his position to just managing the team and not the driver.

AMG Mercedes will launch their car for the 2017 season on February 23rd.

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