Williams are proud of Valtteri Bottas and believe the recent approach from Mercedes shows what a talent they have in their ranks, according to deputy principal Claire Williams.
The Finn has been the subject of recent interest from the Silver Arrows as they look to find a replacement for Nico Rosberg following his shock retirement.
However, Williams have stood firm as they look to protect Bottas and keep him on board for the 2017 season. Mercedes are continuing their hunt for someone to take the vacant seat and partner last season’s runner-up, Lewis Hamilton.
Williams’ deputy principal feels that Bottas is one of the best on the grid but conceded they may be forced to let him go “if an experienced, credible alternative was available”.
“I’m delighted to see that a team like Mercedes lists Valtteri as a potential replacement for Nico Rosberg,” Williams said.
“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.”
Mercedes are not expected to make an official announcement over their new driver until at least January 3, while Felipe Massa has been linked with a return to Williams if Bottas, who is priced at 6.50 to win the Drivers’ Championship, does jump ship.