Jul.1 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Valtteri Bottas has been singled out as the ideal replacement should his countryman Kimi Raikkonen depart Ferrari.
Multiple Italian media sources agree that, notwithstanding speculation Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg are also in the running, it is Williams’ Bottas who is first in line in the event fellow Finn Raikkonen is ousted.
On the new cover of Italy’s Autosprint magazine, a ‘photoshopped’ Bottas is even depicted in red overalls, with the caption that Raikkonen should “wake up!” if he wants to stop the image becoming a reality in 2016.
Bottas, 25, would be paired with Sebastian Vettel, and team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said Ferrari has no regrets as it looks into the future in the wake of the Fernando Alonso era.
“Fernando will always be a part of the history of Ferrari,” the Italian told France’s Auto Hebdo, “but it was obvious that the time had come to part with him.
“I do not regret anything. I see that Sebastian, like Fernando, is fast and hard-working, he won the title before and wants to become champion again.
“He is well settled into the team. The situation has become calm, warm and the team has begun to believe in itself again. The rest does not interest me.”
Arrivabene is obviously referring to the barbs occasionally fired at Ferrari by the now McLaren-Honda driver Alonso, who has suggested the Maranello team has made no progress since Vettel joined.
“Alonso can say what he wants,” Arrivabene insisted. “He can talk about it for another ten years, but the team is above it. The chapter is closed,” he added.