Mercedes sponsor Wihuri is confident Valtteri Bottas will keep his seat with the Silver Arrows squad in the 2019 Formula One championship, but at the same time confirms that a move to Scuderia Ferrari could also be in the cards for the Finn, in case Kimi Raikkonen will not sign a new contract with the Maranello team. Valtteri Bottas’ defense of his coveted seat got off to a rocky start in Australia where a crash in qualifying put the driver on the back foot at the outset.
The 28-year-old is backing himself to bounce back in Bahrain next week, a message echoed by personal sponsor and long-time supporter Antti Aarnio-Wihuri: “I think it’s likely that Valtteri will continue with Mercedes, but in Formula 1 anything can happen,” said Aarnio-Wirhuri, whose packaging company Wihuri followed the Finn when he moved from Williams to Mercedes back in 2017. The German team will likely keep its options open for the next few months, as it closely follows Valtteri Bottas’ performance, but Mercedes will also keep a watchful eye on Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Force India protégé Esteban Ocon, two men seen as potential contenders for a plum drive with the team in 2019.
Aarnio-Wihuri, one of Finland’s wealthiest men, speculated that a move to Scuderia Ferrari cannot therefore be completely ruled out for Valtteri Bottas: “I think Raikkonen’s time is coming to an end. Last year we saw that his driving started to become inconsistent. Probably his interest is starting to fade.” The Italian side has indeed expressed interest in Valtteri Bottas during his time with Williams, so Aarnio-Wihuri speculates: “Valtteri’s move to Ferrari can still be quite possible. In the meantime, every Formula One driver dreams of driving for Ferrari at some point.” – he concluded.