Jul.3 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The seat currently occupied by Kimi Raikkonen is the key to the 2016 ‘silly season’.
“I don’t know anything more than you guys,” the Finn told reporters at Silverstone.
The speculation has ramped up because Raikkonen, 35, has struggled not only against Fernando Alonso last year but now alongside his friend Sebastian Vettel.
And a Ferrari source confirmed that it was the 2007 world champion who was solely to blame for his crash in Austria two weeks ago, which could not have occurred at a worse time for Raikkonen.
Felipe Massa, Raikkonen’s predecessor at the fabled Maranello team, thinks the ‘Iceman’ is struggling with the pressure.
“Everybody says ‘Iceman’ but for sure he is suffering more with the pressure than anything else,” said the Brazilian.
Arguably the favourite to replace Raikkonen is the now Williams driver Massa’s current teammate, Valtteri Bottas.
“We cannot forget that he (Bottas) has an option to stay here,” Massa said on Thursday.
When asked about that, Finn Bottas told Germany’s Auto Bild: “I’m sorry, but I can’t talk about contract details.”
Speaking to Brazil’s Globo, Massa commented: “If he goes to Ferrari or not, I don’t know, but he cannot forget that he is already in a very good, competitive team. Our fight at the moment is with Ferrari.
“What would I advise him? Do what your heart says.”
Another candidate to replace Raikkonen is Nico Hulkenberg, but he is probably also first in line for the Williams seat in the event that Bottas does go to Ferrari.
Hulkenberg was dropped by Williams after his rookie season in 2010, but the German says he did not slam the door at Grove.
“I’m not resentful,” he is quoted by Sport Bild. “And then I think it was other people who had the final say,” added Hulkenberg, presumably referring to Williams’ now departed former chief Adam Parr.
Hulkenberg has also been linked with a move to the new Ferrari ‘B team’, Haas.
“The engine will be good and the car will be built in close collaboration with Ferrari,” an insider said. “Haas is a super alternative for Nico.”