'Williams would be wise to let Valtteri Bottas join Mercedes'
Former champion Jacques Villeneuve believes Massa can still bring a lot to team if he replaces Finn
By William Esler
Last Updated: 15/01/17 3:22pm
Jacques Villeneuve believes Williams would be right to let Valtteri Bottas join Mercedes and replace him with Felipe Massa, particularly if it meant discounted engines.
Bottas is hotly tipped to replace Nico Rosberg at the Silver Arrows following the German’s shock retirement following his 2016 title success.
With rookie Lance Stroll confirmed at Williams for 2017, Villeneuve believes the team need someone of Massa’s experience in the second seat.
“Definitely it would be good, Massa brought a lot to the team with his experience and his attitude and Bottas is a Toto Wolff driver anyway so that wouldn’t be too surprising,” the 1997 world champion told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I guess the mid-term future for the team is Lance Stroll anyway, so for a driver like Lance it is better to have an experienced driver like Felipe next to him helping him out.”
If Bottas does join Mercedes, Villeneuve thinks his ability to challenge Lewis Hamilton will depend on whether the three-time world champion rates him as a driver.
“Lewis is a favourite for the title definitely. He lost the championship last year and I’m sure that didn’t go down well with him so we will come very aggressive into the season,” the Canadian added.
“It depends whether is respects Bottas a lot or not. Because if he doesn’t respect Bottas then he will probably just take it easy. So it will depend a lot on that.”