Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team, has confirmed that Valtteri Bottas could have joined Scuderia Ferrari in 2015, but Williams prevented him from moving to the Maranello team. Valtteri Bottas has recently signed for Mercedes after Nico Rosberg decided to end his Formula 1 career.
When Scuderia Ferrari showed interest in the Finn, back in 2015, Williams was not willing to negotiate and that situation played an important part in the outcome of the Finnish driver’s move to Mercedes: “Valtteri has been an important part of Williams, he has got that fiery passion that you want in a driver because all he wants to do is be in the best car and win” – Claire Williams said, as reported by the leading weekly motor racing magazine, Autosport: “When you have a driver that you know that’s all they want, why force them to race your car? That is certainly not the right thing to do in such a case. We stood in Valtteri’s way once, when Ferrari came along, and I made a promise to him that I wouldn’t stand in his way again if any other opportunity comes in the future. I honour my promises.” – deputy team principal of the Williams Formula One racing team added.
Valtteri Bottas eventually signed a contract with Mercedes, but the current agreement is available for only one year, which means that at the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season the transfer market may be very active as several top drivers could be available. Scuderia Ferrari’s both drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, also have contracts that expire at the end of the 2017 F1 season, a situation which has lead to a lot of discussions regarding the driver line-up for next year, although the Maranello team hopes to provide its drivers with a string car for the 2017 Formula One championship and thus continue with the same ine-up for 2018.