The Renault works have made Valtteri Bottas an offer to drive for them in 2017. The 26 year old Finn will be out of contract net year with Williams F1, though Valtteri is believed to have an option to extend with them for another year should he choose to do so.
Valttieri’s manager, Didier Coton, announced that Bottas “wants to commit” to Williams as there is “an unfinished story between those two.” However, well connected Finnish F1 journalist claims today that Renault have made Bottas an offer which could be difficult to refuse.
“I know for sure that he has offers from both Williams and Renault at the moment,” says Oskari Saari. “Will the lure of a works drive be too hard to resist? Yes Renault are in transition and building towards competitiveness, but the challenge to part of that journey may be too hard to resist.
After a year when the driver market was dominated not by
Last year, the driver market stories were rather thin on the ground and it was Red Bull Racing’s claim they were being forced out of F1 which stole the ‘silly season’ headlines. Yet with Sergio Perez and his private bank of sponsors almost definitely on the move from Force India, the first proper announcement is likely to set the domino effect in motion. Then the futures of Massa, Bottas, Perez, Button, Van Doorne, Magnussen, Palmer and one or two others will be frenetically traded.
One predictable casualty has already been announced in the past 12 hours. Rio Haryanto will be replaced immediately by Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon – who is currently on loan as a reserve driver to Renault.
Ocon is highly rated by Mercedes and the current GP3 champion. The Frenchman also won the FIA European Formula 3 title in 2014 – beating none other than Max Verstappen.
Ocon joins another Mercedes protege, Pascal Wehrlein, at Manor F1.
“Esteban did an exceptional job in the works Mercedes at the Silverstone test,” remarked Brackley boss Toto Wolff, “and we are excited to see him take his first steps in an F1 race environment.”