BOTTAS JOINS MERCEDES-AMG

Mercedes-AMG have signed Valtteri Bottas as their 11th driver to compete in Formula One with the Silver Arrows following six weeks of detailed evaluation, deliberation and negotiation. The 27-year-old native of Nastola, Finland has completed four seasons in Formula One with Williams, making 77 starts and scoring 9 career podiums so far.

Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for the brand. 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.

Valtteri was cautiously optimistic when he met his new team-mates in the factory. “It’s very exciting times for me,” he grinned. “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.

The scale of the challenge ahead cannot be underestimated. New aerodynamic regulations mean a reset for the entire field and there is genuine uncertainty about which team will emerge on top; Valtteri is paired with probably the most ferociously fast team-mate in the sport, Lewis Hamilton; and there are just 70 days until the red lights go out at the start of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Valtteri is under no illusions about the task ahead: “I’m ready to work hard, to prove myself to the team and to prove my skills. It’s going to be a challenging season and joining a new team makes it more work than normal. But I’m 100% ready for that. I’m training hard to be at my physical best because it will be much tougher with these new cars. I always set the bar really high, so my target is to perform from the first race. I’m full of energy and ready to get to work for this year and hopefully many more to come with Mercedes.”

The agreement for Valtteri to join Mercedes has not happened in isolation. With today’s announcements that Pascal Wehrlein will join Sauber for 2017, and that Felipe Massa will return to Williams, the final pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place for this year. And that has only been possible thanks to positive working relationships between all the teams involved in a complex chain of negotiations.

From Valtteri, there were warm words for his friends and colleagues at Williams: “I had a great seven years there, starting as a test driver in 2010. I’m very proud of what we achieved together and I leave with some very good memories. My debut in F1, my first points and nine podiums all came with the guys and girls at Grove, so I must say a big thanks to everyone and I wish them all the very best for the future.”

As Valtteri now begins a busy week of technical and physical preparations for the new season, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport is pleased to confirm that Nico has accepted an ambassadorial role with the team for 2017.

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