Formula One: Bottas confirmed at Mercedes as Massa returns
This week we finally got official confirmation of the move we had all been waiting six weeks to hear. Valtteri Bottas will partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this season.
The Finn has landed the best seat in the house thanks to Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement following his championship win in Abu Dhabi.
But the move also now means that all the (likely) seats are filled for 2017 – with the exception of Manor who may not make the season opener in Australia.
Bottas’ Williams seat has been taken by former team-mate Felipe Massa, whose retirement lasted a swift two months.
And the one-time frontrunner for Mercedes, Pascal Wehrlein, has been placed at Sauber.
Manor’s seats – if they can sort their finances – will likely go to the highest bidder.
But behind Bottas, there has been plenty of movement in the midfield during the winter.
Each of Williams, McLaren, Force India, Renault, Haas and Sauber will feature new line-ups, which is sure to mix things up.
It’s been one of the busiest winters for driver moments for years.
Stoffel Vandoorne will be stepping up to succeed the newly-retired Jenson Button alongside Fernando Alonso – no pressure!
Meanwhile, Renault have snapped up the highly rated Nico Hulkenberg, with the German leaving Force India after three seasons.
Hulkenberg’s Force India drive has been taken by Esteban Ocon, who has been given the chance to step into the midfield action following a half season at Manor.
And man who vacated that Renault seat, Kevin Magnussen, has left the French outfit to join American boys Haas as they enter their second campaign in the sport.
Only Ferrari and Red Bull maintain the same driver pairing from 2016.
So there we go. The new cars are set to be revealed in a month’s time, with the red lights set to go out for the first time in Australia in nine weeks.
And with so much movement in the off-season, the new campaign promises to be full of drama and intrigue.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing