Mercedes and Williams could be set for a "swap deal" in the coming weeks with reports suggesting personnel movement between both the Formula One teams.
The Silver Arrows team are desperately looking for a replacement for Nico Rosberg, who made a shock announcement to retire from the sport following his maiden title triumph, and have shortlisted a number of drivers. They have been compromised in their search owing to the timing of the decision, and hence are unable to sign one of the top drivers like Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso among others, as they are all contracted to their respective teams.
Valtteri Bottas is the latest to be linked with a switch from Williams to Mercedes, and is tipped as one of the favourites to fill the vacant seat alongside the Brackley based team's junior driver Pascal Wehrlein. According to ESPN F1, the reigning world champions have made an approach, but are yet to receive an answer from Sir Frank Williams' team.
Toto Wolff had spoken about Bottas replacing Rosberg earlier in the month, and will have an added advantage in their pursuit as he is part of the Finn's management team. Williams, however, will be keen to hold on to their driver, as his departure will leave them with 2017 rookie Lance Stroll, who was named as Felipe Massa's replacement prior to the end of the season. Mercedes can sweeten the deal by offering them Werhrlein, but with the upcoming season seeing a drastic change of rules, they will be left with one of the most inexperienced driver lineups on the grid.
Meanwhile, according to Motorsport.com, Paddy Lowe's position at Mercedes is said to be uncertain, with the team's executive director (technical) tipped to quit the team to join Williams as one of the main bosses alongside Pat Symonds, who could step down after decades in the sport. Both the teams have made no comment about the possible switch, but it is believed that he could accept the Grove-based team's offer.
Lowe's contract with the reigning constructors' champions expires at the end of the year, which could allow him to join Williams on an immediate basis rather than serve a lengthy period on gardening leave. Former Ferrari and Lotus technical chief James Allison is said to be the front runner to replace him at the Brackley-based outfit.