Wil­liams coy on Bot­tas to Merc

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Wil­liams has re­fused to com­ment on the spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing Valt­teri Bot­tas be­ing a tar­get for the va­cant Mercedes seat.

The Fin­nish ace has re­port­edly courted in­ter­est from the triple world cham­pion team, which is run­ning low on op­tions to re­place the re­tir­ing Nico Ros­berg.

Mercedes head Toto Wolff is part of Bot­tas’s man­age­ment team.

Mercedes also has the choice be­tween its two ju­nior driv­ers, Pas­cal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon. Wehrlein has just a year of grand prix ex­pe­ri­ence, while rookie Ocon has signed a deal to join Force In­dia for 2017.

Bot­tas has also penned an ex­ten­sion to his Wil­liams deal, but sources sug­gest Mercedes has made an ap­proach. Mercedes is un­der­stood to have of­fered Wil­liams a re­duc­tion on its en­gine sup­ply – around £10m – and the use of Wehrlein. Wil­liams is con­cerned that would leave it with two rookie driv­ers, hav­ing al­ready signed new­comer Lance Stroll. Mercedes is un­der­stood to be pre­par­ing a sec­ond deal.

Wil­liams has re­fused to com­ment.

Bot­tas is in the frame

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