May 3 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has not ruled out a move to the fabled Maranello team for Valtteri Bottas in 2017.
The Italian was interviewed by Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper following speculation Finn Bottas may already have inked a ‘pre-agreement’ with Ferrari to move from Williams at the end of the season.
Finnish sources played down those reports, but elsewhere it was suggested that the Ferrari-Bottas link was actually referring to 2017.
Indeed, Arrivabene on Sunday indicated that Kimi Raikkonen is likely to keep his place alongside teammate and friend Sebastian Vettel next year.
“If he continues like this, we will extend for another year,” he said, referring to 35-year-old Raikkonen, who like Bottas is also Finnish.
“But performance alone is only one thing — I also like how he (Raikkonen) and Seb work together. They even sometimes travel together, so these are things that do influence a decision.”
Regarding 2016, Arrivabene’s mind sounds made up.
Speculation Lewis Hamilton could be heading to Maranello from Mercedes, therefore, is dismissed.
“Why do I need Lewis Hamilton when I have a heavyweight like Vettel?” said Arrivabene.
“I would rather look around for a young, talented driver to unite with Sebastian,” he added.
Williams driver Bottas, 25, would appear to have definitely caught Arrivabene’s eye, paving the way for the new rumour — that Bottas has signed a pre-agreement already for the 2017 season.
Arrivabene said: “I promised in the pre-season that I would never lie to you (the media), but for this question it is too early to give a precise answer.”