Numerous reports flying around suggest Mercedes has approached Valtteri Bottas to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg.
We’ve just about calmed down after the announcement of Nico Rosberg’s retirement, opening up a vacant seat at reigning champions Mercedes for the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Mercedes is doing just what it said and taking its time over the decision, but that hasn’t stopped numerous reports to fly around suggesting who could be in line for the drive.
According to the BBC, Williams racer Valtteri Bottas is first in line for the seat and is Mercedes’ preferred choice to partner Lewis Hamilton in F1.
It’s a move that would make sense, with Mercedes’ ties to Williams as an engine partner and Wolff being part of Bottas’ management team.
Bottas was previously on Ferrari’s radar, having impressed over the years at Williams ever since his debut in 2013.
But now it appears Mercedes has his sights set on him, reportedly sending Williams a deal to cut its engine prices in return for releasing Bottas from his 2017 contract.
Apparently, that was turned down by Williams. If Bottas does go to Mercedes, though, it’s likely the Silver Arrows could slot another contender for the seat, 2016 Manor racer Pascal Wehrlein, in at Williams.
Bottas can clearly be seen as a quick and reliable driver, a safe pair of hands – a bit like Rosberg, in a way.
But he is an important part of the Williams team for 2017, as the more experienced driver alongside 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll.
So, whether Williams agree to a deal, that remains unclear. If it does happen, it’d be a good fit. But if not, Mercedes does have a few other options.
Interestingly, other reports have linked the two teams, with Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe rumoured to be on the move to Williams.
Interesting times ahead, that’s for sure…