Speculation surrounding Valtteri Bottas’s future is a positive rather than a distraction for the Finn, claims his manager Didier Coton.
Bottas’s continued impressive performances for Williams have already singled him out as a candidate for a Ferrari future – even though he has insisted recent speculation of signing a contract are wide of the mark.
He underlined his position as the man that all team bosses are watching by holding off Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps in Bahrain, and then doing the same with Kimi Raikkonen in Spain.
Despite missing the first race in Australia the Williams driver lies fifth in the world championship, ahead of team mate Felipe Massa.
Rumours a confidence vote
His manager Coton says that while there is no substance to the recent stories linking the Finn to Ferrari, it does no harm to have the Finn recognised as the man in demand.
“For a driver like Valtteri it's a nice return on the sacrifice and commitment that he's put into the sport and into his driving,” Coton told Motorsport.com. “It's all positive.
“Frankly speaking what people call the 'silly season' is not on yet', so let's stay relaxed about it.
“What happened last week [with Ferrari], I don't know where it came from. It's a rumour, and it was launched by I don't know who.
“Personally I consider that Williams is a top team. Valtteri is with Williams and he's concentrating on that. We saw again in Spain that he did a great race, and we will continue to speak with them, and see after.
“Our job is to look at what he wants to achieve, and it's our job to help him to achieve that.
"Sometimes it's a long term objective; it's not something that will happen in one year, it may happen in two years or three years.
“So the most important thing is to build a path to that objective, even if it takes a bit more time.”
Williams still an option
Coton also made it clear that it would be wrong to assume that Bottas has no ongoing ties with Williams after this season.
“I cannot go into details of contracts, but you have free agents and free agents.”