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Mercedes targeting Bottas?

NEWS STORY
12/12/2016

At a time Mercedes should be basking in the afterglow of its third successive driver and constructor titles, the team finds itself working flat-out trying to find a replacement for Nico Rosberg and probably a new technical boss.

No sooner had the new world champion announced that he was quitting than credible sources revealed that Paddy Lowe was also seeking pastures new.

With the 2017 driver line-up all but settled, as confirmed by the FIA's official entry list, all potential replacements for Rosberg already have their berths sorted.

With the likes of Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel out of the question, along with other high-profile names, media interest has settled on the likes of Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas, with Pascal Wehrlein also in the frame.

Over the course of the weekend, as technical boss Paddy Lowe was linked with a move to Williams, so talk of Bottas heading to Brackley increased in intensity.

Though a protégé of the Grove team, the Finn has not impressed this year, indeed he has never been quite the same driver since the period of similarly intense speculation linking him with Ferrari a while back.

Nonetheless, he is a fast driver, a capable driver, and perhaps a change of scenery, especially with a (currently) winning team might help him rediscover his mojo. Furthermore, like fellow-Finn Kimi Raikkonen, Bottas is laid back to the point of almost being comatose, any atmosphere being created on the other side of the garage will be wasted on him.

The BBC claims that Mercedes bid for Bottas services has been rejected by Williams however no quotes are given or sources mentioned.

Formerly a director and shareholder in Williams, Toto Wolff is part of the group that manages Bottas. Furthermore, as was the case when it came to speculation concerning Sergio Perez and Force India, with Mercedes supplying the power units a lucrative discount could be on the table.

While losing Bottas would leave Williams in the same predicament as Mercedes currently finds itself, in terms of needing a proven driver, one possible scenario could see Paul di Resta return to the F1 grid.

Not too long ago, speaking in the Pitpass podcast, editor Chris Balfe suggested the Scot would be a good move for the team at a time neither Bottas or Felipe Massa was particularly impressive.

If, as is widely thought, money is an issue at Grove, any cash or discount from Mercedes for Bottas will be welcome, while di Resta, scheduled for DTM duty with Mercedes in 2017, could be part of the deal. And then there are the exceedingly deep pockets of Lawrence Stroll who wil surely see Bottas' departure as an opportunity for his son.

With no disrespect to Pascal Wehrlein, the youngster is not ready for the 'hot seat' at Mercedes indeed, it could damage him as he would be in a lose/lose situation. Should he do well all credit would go to the championship winning car at his disposal, while if he has issues…

Consequent, Bottas - assuming the likes of Ricciardo and Alonso are out of the question - could be the best move.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Canuck, 12/12/2016 12:13

"One driver that is not mentioned in this whirlwind of suggested moves is Esteban Gutierrez. Although he was pointless for the season at Haas, he suffered more than his share of technical difficulties at the beginning of the season when Haas was impressing with Grosjean. Yet he showed his one lap speed staying close when not beating Grosjean in qualifying. His race craft needs work but I think he would be a good addition to a team looking for a driver."

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