Sahara Force India’s chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has admitted that he is surprised Williams Martini Racing have not yet confirmed Valtteri Bottas will be remaining with the team for 2017.
Following the announcement that Felipe Massa is to retire from the sport at the end of the 2016 season, Williams not announcing that Bottas is staying is a surprise to the Force India man, especially with the Finn out of contract at the end of the season.
Force India have already announced that Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez will continue driving for the Silverstone-based outfit in 2017 to try and avoid any off-track distractions, but with one seat definiately available at Williams in 2017, Szafnauer feels Williams would want to get Bottas signed up again, especially if they decide to take on FIA European Formula 3 Championship leader Lance Stroll as their second driver.
“Well with us both of are signed up for next year, so you do that separate from the racing anyway,” said Szafnauer to f1i.com.
“Maybe it has an impact on the drivers that are there [at Williams], I’m surprised Bottas isn’t secured… I don’t know, but I imagine if they take [Lance] Stroll then they will probably want Bottas.”