The AMG Mercedes F1 team have today confirmed 27-year-old Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will become the 11th driver to compete in Formula One for the Silver Arrows, replacing outgoing World Champion Nico Rosberg. Remarkably it has been 45 days since newly crowned Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from Grand Prix racing with immediate effect, leaving one of the hottest seats in all of motorsport open for the upcoming 2017 Formula One season. With the decision to step away from active driving duties coming so late in the year, Mercedes have been left with a difficult gap to fill in their driving strength, further compounded by many of the big names in Formula One already firmly secured under contract to their respective teams for the new year. With the following six weeks since Rosbergs' announcement full of speculation by each and every motorsport outlet, the firm odds-on favoutite for the drive has now been official confirmed by the team, step forward Williams Martin Racing driver Valtteri Bottas. At 27, Bottas has completed four seasons in Formula One with Williams, making 77 starts and scoring 9 career podiums so far. Highly regarded by Williams and Formula One insiders, Bottas is thought to bring the right level of experience, youth and a cool head to help Mercedes retain both their drivers and constructors championships won in 2016. “Sometimes in life, unexpected circumstances provide interesting opportunities. Nico’s decision in December was a big surprise – certainly a challenging situation for the team to handle. But weathering the storm makes you more resilient and we see this as another opportunity for the team to grow,” explained Toto Wolff as he introduced the fourth driver to race for the Silver Arrows in the modern era. “Valtteri is a no-nonsense guy: down to earth, straightforward and very focused. Pretty Finnish, to be honest, and a great fit for us. He has an impressive track record in the junior categories and nine podiums in F1. But now it’s time for the next level, to see how he can step up to challenge for race wins and for Championships. We know that we are already behind the curve in terms of preparations for the new season, so we’ve got a busy programme to get him integrated into the team. One thing is for sure: as I know Valtteri, he will give it everything.” Understandably Bottas was delighted to receive the call up from Mercedes, however in typical Finnish style the new Silver Arrows driver was cautiously optimistic about his chances for the season ahead: “It’s very exciting times for me,” he said. “I think it’s going to take a while to understand that this is really happening. It’s definitely another dream come true, to race in another team with such great history – especially in the recent years, which have been so impressive. I’m really proud to become a part of that and grateful to everyone at Mercedes for trusting my skills and giving me this opportunity. “I’ve had a really warm welcome so far. Of course, I have a lot more people to meet and new faces to remember. But initially everything has felt very good. I’m really impressed with the facilities and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone better. My first experience with Mercedes power was in F3 back in 2009 and, of course, I know the Power Unit well from the last three years with Williams. But there are a lot of new things to learn with the car and also with how the team operates at the factory, in testing and at the races.” 2017 will mark a substantial change in the design of Formula One cars with wider more durable Pirelli rubber, more downforce and a greater emphasis on flat-out driving rather than conserving fuel and tyres, the year ahead could witness one of the biggest shakeups of the grid seen in recent seasons. Of course one would expect Mercedes to appear at or near the sharp end by the time the teams reach Melbourne, but the scale of the challenge ahead should not be underestimated. “We have confidence in Valtteri’s ability and it’s one of the reasons that he is the driver we set our sights on this winter,” continued Toto. “The next weeks will be busy as we work to build relationships so Valtteri understands the team and the car. But that’s an exciting challenge that will bring us fresh energy and a new dynamic between the drivers. And, of course, we’re working hard to give Lewis and Valtteri the car they need to do the job.” Alongside today's announcement comes news that Mercedes junior driver Pascal Wehrlein will join Sauber for 2017, and that Felipe Massa will postpone his retirement to return to Williams of which he has been a driver since 2014. “On behalf of Mercedes, I must thank Williams for their cooperation in allowing Valtteri to make this move – and also Monisha and Sauber for their patience during the past weeks,” concluded Toto. “It’s been a busy day in the driver market and I am pleased to know that Pascal will be racing at Sauber to continue his development in F1. He had a good first season with Manor and we feel this is the right path for him in the sport. It’s satisfying to have both of our Young Drivers taking on new challenges in F1 this year, with Esteban also racing at Force India. We’ll be following their progress closely; I’m sure we’ve got an exciting season ahead of us.” From Valtteri, too, there were warm words for his friends and colleagues at Williams: “I had a great seven years there, starting as a test driver in 2010. I’m very proud of what we achieved together and I leave with some very good memories. My debut in F1, my first points and nine podiums all came with the guys and girls at Grove, so I must say a big thanks to everyone and I wish them all the very best for the future.” With all of the top spots now filled ahead of the 2017 season, attention will be turned to the upcoming car launches in February before the testing season begins at Barcelona on February 27-March 2 and again on March 7-10. Mercedes have already confirmed the new car and driver lineup will be revealed at Silverstone on Thursday 23rd February, where a short on track filming session is expected to be undertaken by the Brakley based team. Unless either Bottas or Mercedes make a royal mess of the 2017 season it looks like fans will have a new winner to cheer on by the close of the year. Just how well the quiet Finn will tackle his illustrious teammate could be one of the main talking points throughout the year. I can't wait. For all the latest happenings in the world of Grand Prix racing head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. We cover Formula One, World Endurance Championship, Formula E and IndyCar as well as highlights from many motorsport series around the world. Have a browse through our forums and join in the discussion today! Do you think Bottas to Mercedes is the right deal for both team and driver? Will VB be able to compete on an even footing with Lewis Hamilton this season? Will Mercedes allow both drivers to race in 2017, or is Bottas coming as a second driver? Let us know in the comments section below!