Dominoes could soon be falling as F1 silly season ramps up
Reports from Italy say that Ferrari has agreed to buy out driver Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas’ contract option for 2016. Italy’s Corriere dello Sport on Friday is reporting the amount of the buyout was approximately $13 million. And the Rome-based daily said the man slotting into Bottas’ Williams seat next year will be former Williams reserve driver Felipe Nasr.
Corriere dello Sport predicted Bottas’ move from Williams to Ferrari, expected to be announced officially in early August once the 2016 option on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari deal runs out, 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 Nasr 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.”
When asked by Brazil’s Globo about a potential return to Williams, Nasr 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.”
Nasr started the first eight races of the F1 season for Sauber, scoring 16 points. He’s 11th in the driver standings. He missed the most recent race at Silverstone when his car came down with a gearbox problem.