Not sold on the Bottas to Ferrari idea

What I am about to say will not be popular or received very well and I apologize up front for my total lack of true understanding and insight but as a Ferrari fan, I have concerns regarding the continuing news over the Bottas-to-Ferrari stories.

I like Valtteri Bottas. I like him a lot and when I watch him race, I am reminded of Mika Hakkinen in the way he drives and handles his race car. Having said that, I am not sure Ferrari would be well served to give Williams F1 millions to get access to Bottas as a replacement for Raikkonen.

Reports say that Ferrari are very keen to get Bottas and that Williams would be willing to sell him to the Italian team for a serious chunk of cash. I’m not going to argue that the team should keep Raikkonen because Kimi hasn’t been comfortable since he returned to the team as Fernando Alonso’s teammate. But is Bottas the best choice?

Ultimately a driver is measured against his closest rival—his teammate. Keep in mind that Ferrari replaced Felipe Massa because the Brazilian wasn’t scoring points and wasn’t nearly as competitive as Alonso. They replaced him with Raikkonen and Massa moved to Williams with Bottas.

Bottas outscored Mass last year 186 to 134 and just prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix this year, the score is 77 to 74. If Bottas were the hottest driver on the grid, wouldn’t he be outscoring his teammate quite handedly? It’s worth noting that Raikkonen is at 76 points so are we looking at three drivers who a really good but not exceptional?

Massa, for me, is the measuring stick and Bottas is not blowing him into the weeds. If he can’t comprehensively beat Felipe, he surely isn’t going to set the Ferrari garage alight is he? Maybe the new team and chassis would be the change he needs to really kick his performance into high gear but in equal machinery, he’s not comprehensively better than Massa.

Some argue that Massa has had a resurgence at Williams and is driving better than he has in years and perhaps that’s true but I’ve watched Felipe his entire career and I am not seeing otherworldly performances from him rather solid results and a habit of being a magnate for other cars and mechanical troubles.

If I were Ferrari, I would look deep into their young driver development program and would also entertain Nico Hulkenberg for a less expensive option. I would consider Sebastian Vettel as my main contender and look at other options such as Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz or even take a look at Daniel Ricciardo.

Perhaps Bottas would really shine at Ferrari but he’s on par with Massa so hiring Massa back seems just as logical except for his age and long-term outlook. Regardless, my opinion means nothing but it seems to me that Ferrari spending tens of millions to have access to Bottas is really just giving a competitor more cash in which to challenge the Italian squad for second in the championship.

I hope I am wrong but my jury is out on Bottas and I would love to be proved wrong should Ferrari cut a check to Williams F1 and take the Finn on board.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

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runnah

I don’t get the hype surrounding Bottas, good driver for sure but like Todd said hasn’t really out shined his “washed up” teammate. Show me a win, some more podiums and beating Massa then I will change my tune.

Junipero Mariano

I’d like to see Ricciardo get out of the winter of discontent at Red Bull, but who knows what would happen pairing him with Vettel again. Not discord per se, but probably a little weird. Or it could start a fun rivalry.

If Kimi has to go, Ferrari would definitely be happy with Hulkenberg, Bottas, or Ricciardo. The other teams would love to have a problem like this.

Warham Pendrich

Why would Ricardo even be considered. He was a one-hit wonder with his three wins last year. They were all gifted by Mercedes when they were having issues. This year he has his hands full with Kvyat.

Dr T

The engine is rubbish this year though – you don’t know how much power they are each running respectively and what gremlins they are dealing with. It’s like trying to compare Alonso and Button’s results this year. Not sure you can really comment too much on their (DR or DK’s) results at RBR this year. We always look at Alonso and how he pushes cars up the grid and he has driven some less than stellar Ferrari’s, but they weren’t breaking down on him all the time. I think DR has been quite restrained with his frustration this year. I… Read more »

Boyd McCollum

I’m a bit disappointed with Ricciardo. There are only 4 teams on the grid right now with the money and desire to win championships. He’s already in one of those teams. Red Bull brought him along, gave him his opportunities and he had a decent first year with them. They are firmly committed to him as one of their drivers. Now one bad year and he wants to throw them under the bus. Look at drivers like Lewis and Alonso, and what they endured, and with a modicum of grace as well. Alonso went back to Renault for two years… Read more »

Junipero Mariano

I missed the “champion that never was” comment. That is disappointing to hear him say that. It seems to be a consistent line from Red Bull right now. Who knows where this posturing will lead the team?
If I really got my way, Kimi would just be doing better, rendering this point moot…at least until 2016! :)

Shocks&Awe

I dunno, seems like you’re taking it out of context… Hat tip to the Telegraph: “If we’re to get these results again next year, and don’t move forward, then I won’t be happy,” he warns. It is hard to imagine what an unhappy Daniel Ricciardo looks like. “I get quite – when I say emotional – not sad emotional, but quite fired up. It’s a tough one. I’m confident in the guys, in the team, I know they’re winners. I’m confident they’ll make a change if it needs to be done, and turn it around, but until it happens and… Read more »

Boyd McCollum

maybe yes, maybe no. “… but until it happens and we get back on the podium it’s difficult to know. I’ll be here next year and we’ll see how we go.” He also hasn’t been subtle about eyeing that Ferrari seat. He’s got one foot out the door, and Kvyat’s starting to spank him. He doesn’t talk like someone who is part of the Red Bull team. He still talks like an outsider — “I’m here to drive the car and if the car sucks, I’m gone.” Webber, worked for years to help develop Red Bull. Vettel as well. Look… Read more »

Shocks&Awe

Meh. I see your point, but I think the circumstances are a bit different for Ric than they were for any that you’ve made a comparison to. For one, Both Alonso and Vettel had multiple championships before moving to Ferrari, so they could afford a little patience — and let’s remember that Ferrari haven’t been lower than 3rd in the WCC since 1993 (when they came in 4th) except for 2009 (4th) when Massa was nearly killed and Fisi took over for him. Vettel came in 2nd in the WDC his first year at RBR and then won 4 titles… Read more »

Boyd McCollum

good points. I would say one difference between DM/CH and DR is this – DM owns the team and is a billionaire. He’s talking about leaving the sport. CH is the principle (and partial owner too, iirc, but regardless), and he’s talking about RB leaving the sport. Both though are 100% committed and tied to RBR/RB. DR is talking about leaving RB which means he has a conditional commitment and he’s happy expressing it. The only driver recently who’s expressed a conditional commitment to a team has been Alonso, and he earned it. It was also somewhat of a bluff… Read more »

Shocks&Awe

As a cautionary word, I agree wholeheartedly. I think it’s okay that he said it once, but yes, if he continues to be very vocal about it, it will only hurt his marketability. But then, I shoot my mouth off at work sometimes even though I _know_ I tend to do it, and I _know_ it somewhat career limiting. I’m only human… :-)

Nice chatting with you, Boyd.

Boyd McCollum

You’re ont the only one who does that – I’m less skilled than you, I shoot my mouth off with my wife and usually end up on the couch ;)

Nice chatting with you too Mr. Awe :) I’ve always enjoyed your input on here.

Boyd McCollum

Effectively, the way he’s been expressing himself, he’s saying RB isn’t good enough for him, unless they prove it. They won 4 WCC’s on the trot (somehow without him). They nurtured DR and brought him in to the sport, and Dietrich Mateschitz personally chose him for the RBR when RAI was a real consideration and the press thought it was a horrible idea. They also backed him to 3 victories last year. So yeah, one or two bad years until they can get a better engine, he should suck it up. It’s a quality team, and proven winners. All the… Read more »

Jipaide

As a Ferrari fan as well I couldn’t agree more. I am not convinced by young promising drivers who don’t make mistakes, and Bottas doesn’t make any. Barrichello was the same and never really delivered consistently at the level he was expected at, even against Button. Look at Verstappen and you see what I’m referring to. I don’t see in Bottas tomorrow’s big star, but I reckon his personality could be a good fit with Vettel.

Negative Camber

You bring up a good point about driver harmony and personality types that Ferrari feel would work and are manageable. That might play a factor in it as well.

runnah

Well every relationship needs a dom and a sub.

Patrick Chapman

@ Negative Camber. I agree with your sentiment completely. Massa was coached by Shumacher when he was a consultant for Ferrari and he rated Massa very highly. In his early career he was fast, I mean really fast. So much so that he gave Raikkonen a good run for his money when Kimi was at his best. So I consider him to be an excellent yardstick by which to measure Bottas and in my opinion he is just not stacking up. I agree that Bothas is an excellent driver but no better than Massa it seems. So who is available… Read more »

Meine Postma

I agree that Grossjean would be an excellent choice. With the one note that he seems to be getting a little back to his old self lately.

Andreas Möller

Bottas is a fine driver in his own right, and even though he may not currently outshine Massa and Kimi, he does have the advantage of being younger. They might simply view him as a better option for the future, for that reason. Still, buying him out of his contract with Williams would cost Ferrari quite a bit – not to mention what it would cost to pry Ricciardo (who has more time left on his contract with Red Bull than Bottas does with Williams) loose. Meanwhile, both Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg will be free agents at the end… Read more »

Van Dieu

I see much more to Bottas than just the statistical comparison with his team mate. But I’d argue that 186 vs 134 is already a pretty comprehensive bettering of your team-mate, and I’d also argue that Massa is/was driving much better today than he was during his latter years at Ferrari, when he was basically just an afterthought. Also, don’t forget that Bottas was injured in Melbourne, sat out that race, and was almost certainly not 100% for a few races, so the current h2h comparison does flatter Massa somewhat. Also consider that Bottas is still relatively inexperienced – I… Read more »

DRS_Matt

” I’m not going to argue that the team should keep Raikkonen because Kimi hasn’t been comfortable since he returned to the team as Fernando Alonso’s teammate. But is Bottas the best choice?”

As the team principal of fezza, i’d say “His problem, not ferrari’s problem unless we keep him” and remind you about all the millions he’s gotten from us.

luismg

Bottas has proved that he obeys team orders and Ferrari loves to give them.

Jeff

I think you made some really great points. I wonder if Sebastian would welcome Daniel Ricciardo to Ferrari. I am a tad tired of the Nico Hulkenberg promo campaign – you don’t go to top tier like Ferrari without a seriously established record or time on a premiere team. Does he have promise, yes – but he has to show me more before he gets such a ride. But there is something quite basic about Bottas that is troubling me, something basic – he couldn’t get around Massa at Silverstone. That wasn’t the first time, I think the situation came… Read more »

gsprings

i think bottas can smell that ferarri ride and will improve the rest of the season,i mean the season is not over yet