Ferrari has launched a bid to secure the services of Valtteri Bottas, according to Germany’s Bild newspaper. Amid heightening speculation about Kimi Raikkonen’s future at the Italian team, the report said Ferrari has made “an offer” not only to Finn Bottas, but also his current team Williams. That is because the British team has a firm contractual ‘option’ on Bottas’ services for 2016, and is determined to keep the highly-rated 25-year-old.
“It would be a pity if he leaves the team,” said Williams’ experienced technical boss Pat Symonds. “I know he feels very comfortable here, and he is an important part of the team.”
Bild claims that Ferrari is offering to pay Williams 4 million euros to release the young Finn, “but deputy boss Claire Williams is demanding much more“. The report believes Williams’ counter-offer could be as much as EUR 15 million, which has been initially rejected by Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene. But Bild said that if Bottas ultimately does go to Ferrari, the main contender to fill his place at Williams would be the team’s driver of 2010, Nico Hulkenberg. The report said Hulkenberg is not in the running at Ferrari because the Italian team would not want to pair Sebastian Vettel with a second German driver.