Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas rues Ferrari speculation

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Valtteri Bottas has hinted that his relationship with Williams has been damaged following the speculation which linked him with a move to Ferrari.

Bottas had been heavily mooted to drive for the Italian team next season, but Ferrari announced on the eve of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix that Kimi Raikkonen will remain with them in 2016.

"Definitely the speculation has been unnecessary because most of it has not been true," said Bottas with Formula One emerging from its four-week summer break in Spa-Francorchamps.


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"For sure it doesn't do any good to my and the team's relationship, so it is not fair for us - those kind of rumours - so now it is easier because everyone knows more or less what is happening.

"Nothing has changed for me since the news yesterday. Yes, I have signed a contract for this year, but as for next year we are still in discussion so there is no confirmation about that."

Williams have an option to keep Bottas for 2016, but the Finn was non-committal on his future.

"I don't know to be honest," said Bottas when asked where he will be racing next season. "You should ask Claire (Williams - deputy team principal). Claire is a better person to ask."

Ferrari's decision to keep Raikkonen came as a surprise with Bottas widely expected to replace his countryman next season.

But it is reported the Italian team stalled on Williams' asking price, reported to be in the region of £10 million.

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who has endured a lacklustre campaign, revealed he is pleased to be extending his second career at Ferrari into a third season.

"We want to challenge for championships next year and I am sure we can produce a better car than this year next year," said Raikkonen, who has scored 84 fewer points than team-mate Sebastian Vettel this season.

"The team is working well together and I am happy to stay here. Right now we have to try to do a good second half of the year, maximise what we have and then prepare for next year."

Raikkonen has finished on the podium just once this season. In contrast, Vettel has won two races and finished on the rostrum on five other occasions.

But Raikkonen, who turns 36 in October, does not believe his new deal will change his performances this year.

"It doesn't change anything as you try to do the same as at every race," he added. " The contract thing is not going to change our approach for the weekend.

"We want more wins, but I had good years, difficult years, and ups and down. I have had a great time there and I am very pleased we will be working together next year again."

"As a team, as they are now, I really feel that it is going in the right direction and we can do great things in the future."

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