Confirmed today, after weeks of rumours, was the signing of Valtteri Bottas to Mercedes and the return of Felipe Massa to Williams.
Speaking at Mercedes Brackley HQ, Bottas said “We did the contract today and obviously I’ve been dreaming for a long time to drive for a team like this, a team of champions,”
“So I’m really proud to be part of this and proud of what you’ve achieved in the last few years but also in the whole history of Formula 1. It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow myself this year.”
Bottas went on to say he was sure he and Lewis Hamilton would make a strong pairing.
To avoid conflict of interest Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has stepped down from Bottas’ management team following the signing. Whilst Nico Rosberg will maintain links to the team via an ambassadorial role at Mercedes for 2017.
It was Williams that confirmed the Bottas signing news after first announcing Felipe Massa would be rejoining the team partnering Lance Stroll. Massa who bid an emotional farewell to Williams in November, has stated that he intended to race in 2017 and Williams is a team close to his heart, he then went on to wish Valtteri all the best at Mercedes.
Also confirmed today was the signing of Pascal Wehrlein to Sauber for 2017. 22 year old Wehrlein, part of Mercedes’ young driver programme missed out on Nico Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes but joins Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss team.
Allison Remzi Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick