In demand Valtteri Bottas is not ruling out staying with Williams beyond the 2015 season, despite speculation he is high up on the Ferrari shopping list..
His comments come amid swirling speculation about the highly-rated young Finn’ future, with Germany’s Bild reporting this week that Ferrari is already beginning to wave its chequebook.
Asked by Sport Bild correspondent Bianca Garloff if he feels ‘strong enough’ to take on Sebastian Vettel at the Maranello team, Bottas answered: “I feel strong enough, although I am learning from each teammate I have.”
Bottas, 25, was groomed towards the F1 grid by Williams since he became a test driver for the Grove team in 2010. And he said he still rates the British team highly.
“For me, Williams is among the top three teams in formula one. If you want to be world champion in the next few years, you have to drive for one of those three teams,” said Bottas, presumably also referring to Mercedes and Ferrari.
“My goal is the title. If that is possible with Williams, I would be very happy. Of course at some point, life goes on and you do need to think about yourself.”
It is a typically skilful answer by the impressive Bottas, who is being courted on one hand by fabled Ferrari, and managed by the Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
Bernie Ecclestone, F1 supremo, was asked recently by Sky if he thinks the once-great Williams team is still capable of adding more titles to its tally, “With Frank (Williams), you would never say that nothing cannot happen. It’s possible.”
“And I’d be the happiest guy in the world if he did. And I think even the people who are winning would be happy if he did.”
Told however that Williams’ budget is eclipsed by the vast sums spent by the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari, Ecclestone admitted: “That’s the problem.”