Valtteri Bottas will bring a 'fresh energy' to Mercedes AMG Petronas ahead of the 2017 Formula 1 season as the title-winning team finally confirmed the Finn as Nico Rosberg's replacement.
After weeks of speculation, Bottas put pen to paper on a deal that sees him switch from Williams to Mercedes, the nine-time podium winner approached after Rosberg shocked the racing world by quitting just days after winning his first F1 world title in December.
Bottas comes to Mercedes after four seasons at Williams – with whom he made his F1 debut in 2013 – with the deal marking the first change in the manufacturer's driver line-up since 2013.
Pitching Bottas against three-time champion Lewis Hamiton, though Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff admits the abruptness of Rosberg's exit was difficult for the team, he is optimistic that his replacement will generate new motivations for Mercedes.
“Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities. Nico's decision in December was a big surprise - certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow.
"Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us. He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1. But now it's time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for Championships.
“We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we've got a busy programme to get him integrated into the team. One thing is for sure: as I know Valtteri, he will give it everything."
“We have confidence in Valtteri's ability and it's one of the reasons that he is the driver we set our sights on this winter,” he said.
“The next weeks will be busy as we work to build relationships so Valtteri understands the team and the car. But that's an exciting challenge that will bring us fresh energy and a new dynamic between the drivers. And, of course, we're working hard to give Lewis and Valtteri the car they need to do the job."
Bottas will get his first taste of Mercedes machinery when pre-season testing kicks off towards the end of February. Prior to that though, Mercedes will launch the W08 at a special gathering at Silverstone on February 23rd.
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