Yes, in the worst kept secret of recent times, Valterri Bottas has been chosen by Mercedes AMG F1 to replace their World Champion Nico Rosberg who decided to hang up his helmet after his victorious 2016 season. In other shocking news, Felipe Massa has returned from the shortest ever retirement to his Williams team, as they wanted an experienced driver familiar to them for the uncertain year of many rule changes ahead.
Bottas was not the obvious Mercedes choice for many as Wehrlein looked set to be given the nod. He is more than part of the Mercedes family, being DTM World Champion with them. He has proved himself to be a fast and consistent driver in the less than competitive Manor car in 2016, and his German-ness would surely have kept the big cheeses happy.
I suppose in the end it was though that he was still a little young and inexperienced in the top level of motorsport that is Formula One to be given the reigns of what will definitely be a competitive car, and could be an all dominant car. Still, I would have liked to see him get a go!
But alas, it was Valterri Bottas chosen to be teammates to Lewis Hamilton for 2017. Smart move by Mercedes? Yes, very I think! There is no doubt about Valterri Bottas’ speed and consistency shown since his 2013 debut. He is a very good driver. But I do not think he is at all special or gifted like some of the greats. However, this is probably just what Mercedes were after.
It would be an ideal situation for Mercedes if Bottas was #2 to Hamilton. I can not see any way that Bottas could beat Hamilton in the championship unless the #44 is plagued with misfortune. Will Bottas have his moments and beat the three time champion on occasion? Sure, they all do. Hamilton must be pleased with Mercedes’ choice not to go for Alonso or the likes, but I can see issues arising given that Bottas is managed by Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff.
As Bottas left Williams they had a seat to fill. Given their other driver will be Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, you can understand their desire to have a familiar face in the garage. Re-enter Felipe Massa. After retiring last year and being given one of the most heartfelt sendoffs in Brazil, he returns for a year to help Williams through the 2017 rule changes.
If I were Felipe I’d be pretty unhappy with being called back after making plans to build a massive indoor obstacle course for his son and those cool go kart things he is always playing with on Instagram. (I can only assume this was his main plan) There wasn’t exactly anybody else though that comes to mind who was experienced, available, and willing.
We can all wait and see now how this driver shake-up will affect things going into 2017. Will Bottas be level with Hamilton from Melbourne? Will Massa regret coming back?
Also, feel free to look at my video discussing the matter on YouTube.