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CLAIRE WILLIAMS: Felt Right to Let Bottas Move to Mercedes

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It has never been in Williams’ interest to block Valtteri Bottas’ move to Mercedes, according to Claire Williams.

The deputy team principal of the team spoke on the Autosport stage at the 2017 Autosport International event in Birmingham, England, revealing more insight into the decision the team faced over drivers for the new Formula One season.

Valtteri Bottas was finally announced as a Mercedes driver just one day after the event finished, partnering Lewis Hamilton, with Felipe Massa returns to Williams to team up with Lance Stroll.

She thought as soon as Nico Rosberg retired in December that Toto Wolff, the Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, who was with the Williams team before moving to Mercedes and had previously been involved with the management of the Finnish driver, would be interested in signing him.

“I suppose as soon as Nico made his announcement I knew the call was going to come from Toto, I know he’s admired Valtteri and I think many people do admire Valtteri’s talent,” she said.

Williams believes letting Bottas go was be the right thing to do morally for the driver’s future, and their decision shouldn’t impact their team.

“Really for us, you don’t want to stand in the way of a driver that has an opportunity to go and race finally in a car that’s winning races, that’s winning world championships. Everybody knows Ferrari were after Valtteri in 2015, it was, and we stood in his way and he stood by us.

“I think you have to do the right thing sometimes, but we also as a team have to do the right thing by the 650 other employees that we have at Williams. So we need[ed] to make sure that if we are to release Valtteri then we have the best available option to replace him with but also put in the best structure that supports that change moving forward.”

Bottas spent four seasons at Williams, claiming nine podiums, with a best finish of second place at the 2014 British and German Grands Prix.

EMAIL CAMERON AT cpatersonf1@gmail.com

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Cameron Paterson

Cameron Paterson has been a watcher of Formula 1 since 2007, a casual television watch evolved to watching and reading anything related to something with wheels and an engine. A fan of writing, it was a no-brainer about what to do to try and get into motorsport, consistently discussing things about this great sport since 2016.