It was a shock to everyone when Nico Rosberg announced his retirement in December, but as ever Formula One moves on, with Mercedes now entering a new era as three time world champions.
The past three seasons have been all for Mercedes, the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg keeping everyone entertained with Lewis winning in the first two season, and Nico coming back at him last season. As childhood friends, the dynamic at the team could have been described as fractious at times, something they were very careful to keep in check.
With Rosberg gone, and late in the day the team needed a super sub who would be able to take on Lewis Hamilton and fight at the front of the field. That would fall on the shoulders of Valtteri Bottas, who was brought into the sport by Mercedes’ very own Toto Wolff. A known quantity you would say, and has already shown in testing he has what it takes.
What we don’t know yet is the dynamic between him and Lewis Hamilton. The quiet Finn is known to get the job done, although only tested against Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado it is difficult to gauge how good he will be against the popular Brit.
The car is there or there about, but with the speed Ferrari have shown over the winter it is likely that the advantage they have enjoyed over the previous seasons could be reduced significantly, with a four way battle at the front of the field, at least for the first few races.