An article by Motorsport.com this week reported that Valtteri Bottas has already visited the Mercedes factory in Brackley, despite the news of his likely move to the team not confirmed by either them or Williams.
Following the retirement of Nico Rosberg after his championship win in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes have been on the lookout for a replacement. A number of drivers were in the frame, including Mercedes junior driver Pascal Wehrlein, and part-Toto Wolff managed Valtteri Bottas. It was reported at the time a number of drivers also contacted the team to enquire, with many of them already under contract for next season.
The most likely replacement is Valtteri Bottas, with suggestions that Felipe Massa has agreed to replace him at Williams this year, despite announcing his retirement at last years Italian Grand Prix. Sponsor Martini was keen to have a driver over 25 in order to promote their product in as many territories as possible, and for Williams to have an experienced hand alongside rookie Lance Stroll.
The report by Motorsport.com suggested that the Finn had a sit in the 2017 car, along with meeting the engineers ahead of an announcement.
Pascal Wherlein, who was negotiating a contract with Sauber before Rosberg’s announcement is expected to conclude a deal there for 2017.