After six weeks of negotiation, Finnish Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas is set to take the vacant spot in Mercedes following the retirement of world champion Nico Rosberg. Claire Williams, the deputy team principal of Williams, said the negotiations have taken a little longer than expected but confirmed that the deal is almost done.
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"It has been dragging on and I think everyone wants to know. It is a great opportunity for Valtteri and he has given a lot to Williams. We've always said if we can make this happen on terms that are positive for Williams, then it is probably the right thing to do. No one needs or wants a driver in your team who really wants to be somewhere else."
"It is not nice either to stop a driver who has such a great opportunity, particularly at this point of Valtteri's career, but it has to work for Williams and that is what we've been working hard on over the past six weeks. We are nearly there; we are at the tail end of it and hope we'll be able to make an announcement this coming week," The Guardian quoted Williams as saying.
With Bottas set to join Mercedes, the current Formula One champions, Williams will be left with 18-year-old rookie Lance Stroll but it is expected that Brazilian racer Felipe Massa, who initially retired at the end of last season, is expected to fill the void left by Bottas and he will add the much-needed experience that Williams lack at the moment.
Despite no official confirmation being made as to who would replace Bottas in Williams, Claire said they would make the announcement shortly as they are still putting the final touches of the contract.
"We need to make sure that if we are to release Valtteri, we have the best credible option to replace him. I wish I could announce who it was; we are still crossing the t's and dotting the i's at the moment with all of the contracts. We will be making an announcement shortly because we are testing soon and we all want to know who's going to be driving for us," Claire was quoted as saying.