Formula 1
Formula 1
24 Oct
-
27 Oct
Event finished
01 Nov
-
03 Nov
Event finished
14 Nov
-
17 Nov
Event finished
28 Nov
-
01 Dec
Event finished
R
Australian GP
12 Mar
-
15 Mar
Next event in
89 days
19 Mar
-
22 Mar
Next event in
96 days
R
Vietnamese GP
02 Apr
-
05 Apr
Next event in
110 days
16 Apr
-
19 Apr
Next event in
124 days
30 Apr
-
03 May
Next event in
138 days
07 May
-
10 May
Next event in
145 days
21 May
-
24 May
Next event in
159 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
04 Jun
-
07 Jun
Next event in
173 days
11 Jun
-
14 Jun
Next event in
180 days
25 Jun
-
28 Jun
Next event in
194 days
02 Jul
-
05 Jul
Next event in
201 days
16 Jul
-
19 Jul
Next event in
215 days
R
Hungarian GP
30 Jul
-
02 Aug
Next event in
229 days
27 Aug
-
30 Aug
Next event in
257 days
03 Sep
-
06 Sep
Next event in
264 days
R
Singapore GP
17 Sep
-
20 Sep
Next event in
278 days
24 Sep
-
27 Sep
Next event in
285 days
08 Oct
-
11 Oct
Next event in
299 days
R
United States GP
22 Oct
-
25 Oct
Next event in
313 days
29 Oct
-
01 Nov
Next event in
320 days
R
Brazilian GP
12 Nov
-
15 Nov
Next event in
334 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
26 Nov
-
29 Nov
Next event in
348 days
Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

F1 Driver market on starting blocks with latest Bottas development in Italy

shares
comments
F1 Driver market on starting blocks with latest Bottas development in Italy
Jul 17, 2015, 9:26 AM

Reports in Italy this morning suggest that Ferrari has done a football-style transfer deal with Williams for the services of Valtteri Bottas from 2...

Reports in Italy this morning suggest that Ferrari has done a football-style transfer deal with Williams for the services of Valtteri Bottas from 2016 onwards. The release fee is reported by Corriere dello Sport as €12m, which would go directly into Williams' coffers.

This development comes against a backdrop of prevailing negative messages from Ferrari about the performances of Kimi Raikkonen recently and it appears that, if the reports are confirmed, his option will not be taken up by the team.

Bottas has been rumoured as the likely replacement for Raikkonen for some months. Ferrari has been able to measure him against a well-known benchmark in Felipe Massa, who is driving at his highest level since 2008, when he almost won the title for Ferrari.

He is an entirely logical choice to partner Sebastian Vettel as he is a proven points scorer and a fast qualifier. Ferrari has had a very lobsided constructors' championship record in recent years, with the lead driver providing the majority of the points compared to Red Bull in the Vettel/Webber era or Mercedes today with Hamilton/Rosberg.

While Ferrari has its champion and team leader in Sebastian Vettel, Bottas is fast enough to put pressure on the four times champion and keep him sharp. Ferrari is very happy with Vettel, who contributes immensely behind the scenes, but they don't want him to feel too comfortable and 'unthreatened'.

Bottas meanwhile would be able to learn a lot from the way Vettel works with the team, which he will need if he is to push on from here and one day be a champion himself.

Vettel Raikkonen

This move by Ferrari, if confirmed, will kick off the F1 driver market over the summer months. As always money will be a key factor in many of the decisions.

Ferrari's alternative option was to do a one-year deal with Nico Hulkenberg and pay less for Bottas in 2017. Their other target Daniel Ricciardo, is frustrated that his lock-in clause at Red Bull prevents him from moving, but as he admits, he would not be in F1 were it not for Red Bull's support.

If the Corriere dello Sport indiscretion is correct - and it should be noted there is some scepticism about it among other Italian media - the driver market will now start to move. Williams has a seat to fill and although the Corriere della Sera reports that the team will move for Felipe Nasr, who comes with around €18m a year of Banco do Brasil backing, the flip side of it is that Williams may well need more of a 'name' and may instead opt for Jenson Button, who recently contradicted McLaren boss Ron Dennis' assertion that he has a contract.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - British Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Silverstone, England

A world champion in the car commands higher fees on sponsor contracts and Button would delight Williams' sponsors like Martini and Unilever. Although he's clearly in the Autumn of his career, Button, 35, is currently performing well against Fernando Alonso, as he did against Lewis Hamilton up to the end of 2012. Alternatively Nasr and Button as a pairing may be Williams' strategy as they reshuffle their pack with a blend of experience, youthful promise and significant sponsor income.

Button would potentially provide speed and experience at a lower price than Massa. Either way Williams is in a strong position.

As for Hulkenberg, he is in demand lower down the grid; Force India would like him to stay and the new Haas F1 team are interested in his services, but that elusive top team seat seems destined not to happen for the German.

Detailed analysis of his on track performance data by the engineers, which Williams management will be studying now, as all the teams do, shows that while he has his moments of magic, he's not at the level of a Bottas or a Ricciardo.

The key to being a top F1 driver is repeatability; the knack for putting your three best sectors together in a qualifying lap when it counts, doing it every time and essentially not having off days.

We'll look into that topic in more detail over the summer months, while the driver deals for 2016 are getting done.
Next article
Renault could still pull out of F1 - Prost

Previous article

Renault could still pull out of F1 - Prost

Next article

Bottas and Ferrari: Where there's smoke, there's fire

Bottas and Ferrari: Where there's smoke, there's fire
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas Shop Now
Teams Ferrari Shop Now