A spate of announcements today have confirmed a number of driver line-ups for the 2017 Formula 1 season, which gets underway in Australia on the last weekend in March.

Manor, with doubts about its financial survival, is the only team yet to announce who will be driving its cars.

Valtteri Bottas will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes

Image by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport today revealed that Valtteri Bottas will replace Nico Rosberg, who unexpectedly announced his immediate retirement from Formula 1 shortly after securing the 2016 world championship in Abu Dhabi last November.

The 27-year-old Finn has competed Formula 1 for the past four seasons, all of them with the Williams F1 squad. In that time he has started 77 races and finished on the podium nine times. Speaking in Brackley, the home of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, Bottas said;

“It’s very exciting times for me. I think it’s going to take a while to understand that this is really happening. It’s definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history – especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive. I’m really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity.

“I’ve had a really warm welcome so far. Of course, I have a lot more people to meet and new faces to remember. But initially everything has felt very good. I’m really impressed with the facilities and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better. My first experience with Mercedes power was in F3 back in 2009 and, of course, I know the Power Unit well from the last three years with Williams. But there are a lot of new things to learn with the car and also with how the team operates at the factory, in testing and at the races.”

Meanwhile Williams Martini Racing has confirmed that Filipe Massa, who retired at the end of last season, has agreed to re-join Williams on a one-year deal. Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, said;

“Felipe has always been a much-loved member of the Williams family, and having the opportunity to work with him again is something we all look forward to. He was always going to race somewhere in 2017, as he has not lost that competitive spirit, and it was important that we had a strong replacement in order for us to let Valtteri go. Felipe re-joining us provides stability, experience and talent to help lead us forward. He is a great asset for us.”

Speaking about the announcement Massa, who will line up alongside F1 debutante Lance Stroll, said;

“Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve. Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.”

“In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 Formula One campaign, it felt like the right thing to do. I certainly have not lost any of my enthusiasm for racing and I’m extremely motivated to be coming back to drive the FW40. The support from my fans over the last few weeks has been a huge boost and I’m grateful for that. I also look forward to working with Lance; I’ve known him for many years and seen his talent develop during that time, so I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

 The other driver announcement today came from the Sauber F1 Team. Former Mecedes-Benz DTM driver Pascal Wehrlein will line up alongside Marcus Ericsson at the Swiss team.
Speaking after the announcement Wehrlein said;
“I am very delighted at being a part of the Sauber F1 Team for the upcoming Formula One Season. It is a new challenge in a new team, and I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure. Our objective is to establish ourselves in the mid-field and to score points on a regular basis. That being said, I will do my best to support Sauber. Now I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the team and to tackling the preparations for the 2017 season. I want to say a big thank you to Sauber for trusting in me and giving me this great chance. And surely, a huge thanks also goes to Mercedes for the support.”