Jenson Button believes a return to Williams for Valtteri Bottas could be exactly what he needs to reignite his career.
Bottas first joined the Formula 1 grid in 2013 with Williams, scoring nine podium finishes with the team before being signed up by Mercedes for the 2017 campaign.
For large periods since that move, Bottas has enjoyed dominant machinery over the rest of the grid, finishing runner-up to team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship in 2019 and 2020.
The 2021 campaign though has been much more a struggle, and the calls are growing louder for Mercedes to promote George Russell at Bottas’ expense.
If Mercedes were to make that decision then Button, who serves as Williams’ senior advisor, feels Bottas would be in a “better place” mentally should he make a return to the team where it all started.
Bottas has also been linked with an Alfa Romeo seat for 2022.
“I think there will be some drivers leaving their teams at the end of the season,” said Button, a Williams advisor, in an interview as part of his collaboration with Readly’s ‘Step back in time’ retro campaign.
“But at this point in the season, many top teams have their drivers in place for next season and are pretty happy with them. There are quite a few contracts up at the end of the season, I think, but I don’t think there will be any significant changes.
“It could be a complete swap around with Williams and Mercedes, I guess with George going to Mercedes and Valtteri coming to Williams. He’s been at Williams before and I’m sure it hurts to go to a team that isn’t fighting in front. But he would be great for Williams.
“He comes with a lot of experience and maybe he’d find his feet again and mentally he’d be in a better place. He’d also be at a team that doesn’t have Lewis Hamilton in it.
“I think Mercedes have been happy with Valtteri not being on pace the last few seasons. But he’s always come away with good points in second or third in the races, so Mercedes have always won the Constructors’ Championships.
“But this year, he hasn’t been performing as well and has been out of the points, and they are not getting the points they are used to, so that’s why they are probably looking elsewhere to get another driver for 2022.
“With my Williams hat on it would be sad to lose George, but the team completely understand that if he gets an opportunity to race in a car like the Mercedes, they have to let him go.”
Jenson Button is fronting Readly’s ‘Step back in time’ retro campaign. Readly is offering free unlimited reading to over 5000 magazines and republished retro issues from 22nd June until 30th of September 2021, then £7.99 a month thereafter. Visit www.readly.com/motorsport21 for more information.