May 24 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Valtteri Bottas is shaping up as the star player in this year’s ‘silly season’.

The annual round of speculation and counter-rumour regarding the movement of drivers within the paddock has got off to an early start, as talk of the Finn’s potential switch from Williams to Ferrari will just not go away.

Reporters are even now trying to guess the precise mid-year date of the ‘option’ on Bottas’ current contract, and whether it corresponds with Ferrari’s simultaneous deliberations over keeping Kimi Raikkonen in 2016.

“It has to be quite flattering for us, hasn’t it?” smiled Williams deputy Claire Williams in Monaco.

“Valtteri has an agreement with us,” she told the Finnish broadcaster MTV, “and I know that he is very pleased with the team at the moment.

“We are of course pleased with the way he is going, and he has been a part of the team for a very long time,” Williams added.

“I know he feels comfortable here and is able to do a great job.

“I think it’s up to us to give him the kind of car he deserves — he is future world champion material,” she declared.

However, Williams would not be drawn on the precise expiry date of Bottas’ supposed 2016 contract ‘option’, amid suggestions it is the customary July 31.

“You know how it is,” she replied. “We will not go into any contractual details.

“I know that everyone wants to know what’s going on and I wish I could be a little more open about it, but these are private conversations at the moment,” Williams added.