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Final pieces of F1 2017 jigsaw set to fall into place

With Valtteri Bottas' deal to Mercedes is set to be announced soon, the final pieces of the F1 jigsaw are set to fall into place...
The significant final pieces of the Formula 1 2017 jigsaw are expected to be confirmed imminently with all signs pointing towards a move to Mercedes for Valtteri Bottas following a reported pre-Christmas seat fitting.

The Finn has been heavily tipped to succeed newly retired 2016 F1 champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes since it became apparent the team had approached Williams about releasing him from their contract.

Though the initial bid was turned down by the Grove squad, the emergence that it has itself turned to Felipe Massa for a return to F1 little more than a month after he left both Williams and the sport indicated a deal was in process.

Whilst Mercedes said no deal would be announced before the turn of the new year, sources suggest a contract has been signed, with Motorsport.com reporting that Bottas visited the factory in Brackley for a seat fitting prior to the end of the year.

With Bottas set to head to Mercedes, Massa is thus expected to resume his spot at Williams alongside rookie Lance Stroll, with the Brazilian taking to Twitter over the break to show he remains in training.

Meanwhile, Pascal Wehrlein is all-but-certain to switch from Manor to Sauber, the German's lack of experience at the highest level seemingly counting against him in his bid to secure a berth alongside Lewis Hamilton. Williams also turned down the offer of taking on the former DTM champion seemingly because the combination of Wehrlein and Stroll was considered too 'young' for title sponsor Martini.

Elsewhere, Pat Symonds' decision to leave his post at Williams is expected to open the door for Paddy Lowe to make his much rumoured switch from Mercedes into his place, with ex-Ferrari man James Allison set to take his place later in the year.

Manor is the only remaining team left to announce its drivers for the 2017 season, with respected journalist Joe Saward suggesting a potential deal with Rio Haryanto has fallen through as he won't be backed by Pertamina. GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi had also been linked with the drive prior to his appointment with Ferrari as its test and reserve driver.

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Related Pictures

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04.09.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
04.09.2016 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
Paddy Lowe - Williams Martini Racing
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(L to R): Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso with Franz Tost (AUT) Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal.

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January 02, 2017 11:46 AM

My New Year conspiracy theory (should be read with a glass of wine in hand!) It is fair to assume that Mercedes Benz (the car company) has achieved all it needs from F1.and they are now preparing an exit strategy. - They 'borrow' Bottas for a year. - In return they do a deal with Williams to give them better spec PU's. at a bargain basement price. - They send Paddy Lowe to Williams to restructure Williams along the lines of Merc today.(that's why Symonds had to go) - End 2017 or 2018 they pull out as a manufacturer team. - Williams becomes the number 1 engine customer aka "Merc works team" - Bottas returns to Williams - Lewis has no contract ... - Frank retires - Toto buys back his shares in Williams & becomes CEO/Team Principal - Claire is also made CEO/Team Principal (Merc style) - Lauda retires.. Happy New Year to you all!

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