Report: Bottas signs $13M deal with Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas has reached a deal with Ferrari to replace Finnish countryman Kimi Raikkonen in 2016.
That is the claim of Italy’s Corriere dello Sport on Friday, adding that the Maranello team will therefore not exercise the 2016 option on Raikkonen’s existing contract.
That option does not expire until July 31, and so there will be no official confirmation of the Bottas deal "at least until that date," the newspaper said.
The report revealed that Ferrari reached an agreement with Williams, Bottas’ current team. Williams held an option on the 25-year-old’s services for next year.
Corriere dello Sport said the deal, brokered by Bottas’ experienced manager Didier Coton, amounts to some $13 million.
Corriere dello Sport correspondent Fulvio Solms backs the decision to oust Raikkonen.
"Kimi did not fit with the last two Ferrari cars," he told Speed Week. "He did not fit with the new team management. Sometimes he seems not to fit even with himself."
The Corriere dello Sport adds that the man slotting into Bottas’ Williams seat next year will be the British team’s former reserve driver, Felipe Nasr.
Corriere dello Sport predicts Bottas’ move will trigger a "domino effect" on the driver market involving "at least four teams."
Brazilian Nasr, who stepped up from the Williams reserve seat to make his grand prix debut with Sauber this year, carries the significant sponsorship of Banco do Brasil.
Earlier this week, the 22-year-old had been quoted by Brazil’s UOL Esporte as playing down the rumors of a return to Williams for 2016.
"For my part I have not heard anything yet," he said. "Of course there are always rumors.
"But I’m still committed to Sauber, we have a plan to improve the car in 2016, we have a lot of work going on and have hired a new (technical) boss," Nasr, referring to Mark Smith, added.
But last month, Nasr admitted his frustration with Sauber’s stalled car development in 2015, reportedly calling a recurring brake problem "unacceptable."
When asked by Brazil’s Globo about a potential return to Williams, he answered: "I think it’s too early to talk about it.
"I am committed to Sauber." But as for Grove based Williams, Nasr continued: "I had a great year with them in 2014 so I see the door open. Who knows if in the future an opportunity there may arise."