Claire Williams has admitted that her Williams Martini Racing team would be willing to let Valtteri Bottas depart to join the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team for 2017, if they can prevent their own season being compromised.
The Deputy Team Principal of the Grove-based team is happy that Bottas has been linked to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg next season, believing that what he has achieved at Williams has showed Mercedes what he is capable of should he be chosen to join Lewis Hamilton in 2017.
However, Williams would not allow Bottas to leave if they could not source a viable replacement to partner Lance Stroll next season, with rumours surfacing that Felipe Massa could be tempted to postpone his retirement to continue with the outfit.
“I’m delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico,” said Williams to BBC Sport. “We have always known Valtteri is one of the sport’s key talents and are proud that the championship leaders recognise this.
“However, Williams has its own ambitions and we must always ensure we give our team the best opportunity to move forward. Any changes would only be made if Williams remains in a strong position to compete and develop in 2017.”