Following the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg at the end of the last F1 season, Mercedes were left with the challenge to find a new team mate to join Lewis Hamilton in the silver arrows.
After much speculation, including young Mercedes development driver Pascal Wehrlein, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso to reunite with Hamilton, the hottest seat in Formula 1 has been awarded to Valtteri Bottas. Since Christmas, rumours over Williams and Mercedes entering negotiations over the Finn’s contract were running high.
But the question is, ‘Is Bottas a good fit for the team and will he get on with his new team mate Lewis Hamilton?’ Fans have witnessed the on-going battle between Rosberg and Hamilton over the last three years, but the Finn is a calm and resilient driver whilst still showing the ability to race hard.
Bottas has shown his skill on the track. In 2013 there was the brilliant qualifying session in Canada where he claimed third spot on the grid in very tricky conditions, beating cars that were considerably faster than his at the time. During his time at Williams he achieved nine podiums but is still yet to have his first F1 win. There is a high chance that this could come with Mercedes if they match their performance from last year.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport chief Toto Wolff, who was keen to get Bottas on board has said
“I think Valtteri fits very well in our team, as a driver he's very fast, and he has also the heart in the right place. He shares our values and passion," Wolff added. "He's modest and humble and he's hard working."
Of course, the move has freed up a seat at Williams alongside the newly signed Lance Stroll. Felipe Massa, who also announced his retirement last season, will now come back to re-join the team racing with them for a fourth consecutive season.
The Brazilian had this to say on his return
“Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve.”
As the teams continue testing the start of the new season is not far away with the first race in Australia at the end of March. You can browse the full F1 2017 calendar here.