Williams may allow incumbent Valtteri Bottas to leave for Mercedes, should it find an experienced driver as the Finn’s replacement.
Following Nico Rosberg’s shock announcement to retire from Formula 1, Mercedes has been frantically searching for a driver to fill its second seat.
With world champions such as Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel bound by contracts, it has been forced to look elsewhere.
As a result, Bottas has emerged as a prime candidate to become Lewis Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes, having proven his credentials with nine podium finishes for Williams. And the Grove-based team’s deputy Claire Williams is open to the idea as long as she can find a ‘“credible alternative” to the 27-year-old.
Having an experienced driver in its lineup is high on Williams’ agenda following the hiring of 18-year-old European F3 graduate Lance Stroll.
"I'm delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico," Williams told the BBC.
"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.
"If we did allow Valtteri to leave, we would only do this if an experienced, credible alternative was available, such as someone like Felipe Massa, for example."
Allowing Bottas to Mercedes will bring financial benefits to Williams in form of engine subsidy from the German manufacturer.
by Rachit Thukral