Jul.23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) A big topic of conversation in the Hungaroring paddock this weekend will be the future of Kimi Raikkonen.
Some Italian media believe Ferrari has already chosen his successor, fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, having agreed a multi-million buyout of his Williams contract.
But the well-connected insider Leo Turrini insists: “There is no signed agreement with Bottas.”
Indeed, the authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport believes Hungary this weekend – reportedly the last race before Raikkonen’s 2016 ‘option’ runs out – is actually Raikkonen’s last chance to shine.
“This grand prix is historically a crossroads in the driver market and for Ferrari, now is the time to decide who will be next to Sebastian Vettel in 2016,” the Italian daily reads.
Correspondent Andrea Cremonesi thinks it is time for the 2007 world champion to go.
“Kimi must be replaced,” he argues, “for the simple reason that he has not been able to match his teammate in the last two years.
“Alonso destroyed him, and next to Vettel he is not doing much better.”
Ferrari technical boss James Allison does not agree with that, insisting that in terms of pace, “There is no difference between him (Raikkonen) and Sebastian.
“The difference is that Sebastian never – or almost never – makes mistakes,” he told Italy’s Autosprint.
Finally, the Portuguese-language Diario Motorsport reports that if Bottas does move to Ferrari, he will not be replaced by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr.
A Williams switch for Nasr, whose potential teammate would be Felipe Massa, would mean an all-Brazilian lineup for the British team, which “for commercial reasons” has been ruled out.
Secondly, the publication claims Sauber has a firm two-year contract in place with Nasr’s major backer, Banco do Brasil.