Italian Motorsport portal brings the news that Valtteri Bottas and his representatives have reportedly opened negotiations with Alfa Romeo for a driver's seat for next season if Mercedes decides not to extend the contract.
Bottas has limited options in terms of vacancies on the starting grid next season if he leaves the Mercedes he has been driving for since 2017. It is very likely that Alfa Romeo will keep Antonio Giovinazzi after all, and Bottas would fit in great as a replacement for 41-year-old Kimi Raikkonen.
Both Kimi and Valtteri have a lot of experience and can contribute a lot to the team, especially with the advent of new regulations and new cars, but Bottas who is still in his “best years” could have an advantage over Kimi who is currently the oldest driver on the track.
Toto Wolff has said before that if Mercedes signs a contract with George Russell, he will personally help Valtteri find a new driving position in Formula 1. It is also known that Toto Wolff and Frederic Vasseur are otherwise good friends.
Alfa Romeo and Williams are currently the most likely teams where Valtteri Bottas could continue his career if he is left without a contract with Mercedes. According to the report, Bottas ’agent has spoken to other teams, but staying in Mercedes is still the first choice.
Wolff was asked if Bottas would drive an Alfa Romeo Giulia as an official car, and he replied: "The Quadrifoglio as such is a very nice car." The Mercedes director hinted that a decision may have already been made about who will be Lewis Hamilton’s partner next season, and he praised Valtteri Bottas.
"Valtteri has speed, Valtteri has character, Valtteri is a team player." “In the last few races his approach has been particularly positive and you can see that on the track. In Silverstone, he could have been on the pole with the slipstream and finished a few seconds behind the leaders.
He is completely 'in play' and I'm very happy about it. " “We need to gather our heads in Brackley and discuss the matter with Mercedes to agree on what the future driving couple should look like. We will make the decision in the summer, and then we will decide how to announce it.
" No matter who Mercedes chooses, Lewis Hamilton will accept his employer’s decision, at least that’s what Toto Wolff says. "Lewis is fine with both scenarios, and understands the pros and cons of both Valtteri and George."