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Who's in contention for a 2017 Williams seat?

  • Published on 04 Sep 2016 12:03
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

With Felipe Massa announcing his retirement from Formula One and Jenson Button confirming he'll be taking a sabbatical we look at the drivers who have an opportunity to take a seat at Williams for next season.

Valtteri Bottas
The Finn has reportedly signed a two year extension with the team, however no official confirmation has come from Williams. The 27 year old is well acquainted with the Grove based team having joined them in 2011 as a test driver and made his race debut with the team in 2013. He has claimed 9 podiums for them and many are expecting confirmation of his signature very soon.

Felipe Nasr
Perhaps it's because he's unhappy with the car, perhaps it's because he senses an opportunity higher up the grid or perhaps it's both, Nasr has made it clear that he is keeping all his options available when it comes to a race seat for next year.

Nasr is competing in his second season in Formula One with his best finish being his memorable race debut when he finished fifth at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. The former British Formula 3 champion has been keeping eyes and ears open looking for his best option for 2017.

Nasr at Williams would also make sense for the team as he is somewhat familiar with them. Before signing for Sauber for the 2015 season, Nasr was Williams' test driver and made his first appearance at the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix in free practice one. Wether the team want to allow a Nasr return and a retainment of Brazilian input, we will wait and see.

Marcus Ericsson
It may well be worth mentioning the other current Sauber driver. If Williams were looking at choosing between the Sauber pairing, an advantage that Ericsson holds is that he is a more experienced driver having made his race debut in 2014 for Caterham.

Ericsson has also out-raced him team-mate more often than not this year and has be spoken of as an underrated driver by some fans. Perhaps, or maybe there is just a big anxiety to leave Sauber.

It is understood that the recent group who have invested in Sayber are sponsors of Ericsson but Ericsson denies that this would mean he is required to commit to the team and block a move to Williams

Sergio Perez
The Mexican has been re-impressing the grid ever since he joined Force India in 2014. The 26 year old had a torrid 2013 season when he drove for McLaren and since then he has had to rebuild his reputation.

However one would argue that Perez has done just that after being strongly linked for Ferrari before the Scuderia oufit opted to retain Kimi Raikkonen. Perez appears a stronger driver and has a lot of interest around the paddock from a number of teams.

Would a move to Williams make sense for Perez? If he is in the pipeline for a 2018 Ferrari seat then staying put at Force India may be the best option but that his for him to and the team to decide.

Daniil Kvyat
Somewhere, deep inside of him, Kvyat must know that he will never be returning to Red Bull. After being demoted back to Toro Rosso and replaced by Max Verstappen, Kyvat has endured a woeful time at Toro Rosso. He has been out-qualified by lesser experienced team-mate Carlos Sainz seven times to two and only out-raced Sainz in Belgium for the first time due to a DNF for Sainz.

But one thing that Kvyat showed before his F1 world was turned upside down was the hunger he had and how well he could race. He gained many admirers from up and down the paddock and a fresh start at a fresh team is exactly what he needs. The question is, will he get it?

Alex Lynn
The 2014 GP3 champion became a Williams development driver in 2015 and still holds the position. The Brit is doing everything he can to break into Formula One and is now competing in the GP2 series.

Rumour has it that Lynn has an opportunity because Williams is a British team and he is a British driver and the team want that compatriot relationship. Adding fuel to fire, Lynn has already stated that he will not be returning to the GP2 grid in 2017.

Although being courted by Formula E, Lynn has his sights on Formula One and more specifically, at Williams. His current GP2 season is not going as planned but Lynn feels he has done enough to be in with a shout of the seat for 2017.  

Lance Stroll
Another option would be for Williams promoting their development driver Lance Stroll to a race seat. Coming up to his 18th birthday, Stroll in competing in the FIA European Formula 3 series and has taken seven wins so far this season meaning he leads the standings by a monstrous 61 points.

Despite only becoming Williams' development driver in 2016 Stroll is attracting a lot of interest and Williams could take a risk and sign on a long term deal, securing him in a race seat for the future.

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  • Country Finland
  • Date of b. Aug 28 1989 (33)
  • Place of b. Nastola, Finland
  • Weight 70 kg
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