F1 Gossip: Valtteri Bottas on Red Bull’s radar, Renault F1 at risk?

This week's F1 Gossip sees Valtteri Bottas move front and centre of the silly season, plus financial turmoil at Renault and a change of leadership at Aston Martin
F1 Gossip: Valtteri Bottas on Red Bull’s radar, Renault F1 at risk?

- The 2020 F1 season may not have started yet but the fabled ‘silly season’ is just kicking into gear following a flurry of moves that have seen Sebastian Vettel confirm his Ferrari exit, with Carlos Sainz taking his place and Daniel Ricciardo swapping from Renault to McLaren. However, there is speculation that may not be the last of the seismic moves with Vettel’s availability reportedly making him a ‘person of interest’ for Mercedes. That could spell bad news for Valtteri Bottas, whose contract concludes this year, reportedly resulting in his management scouting for options in case he is dropped. Already linked with Renault, Bottas’ team is also claimed to have held talks over a possible Red Bull move. (Essentially Sports)

- Renault is facing fresh rumours that it could exit F1 if there isn’t a notable turnaround in the French car company’s financial situation. The manufacturer has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and has subsequently applied for a €5 billion euro loan from the French government to tide it over. However, the government – which owns a 15% stake in the company – has held back on guaranteeing the loan until it is reassured Renault has no plans to close as many as three factories in the country and shift production elsewhere. As such, the company may be forced to make more sweeping cuts, including its F1 effort. (Autoweek via Reuters)

- Incoming F1 team Aston Martin Racing looks set to undergo its first management overhaul since a Lawrence Stroll-led consortium purchased a 25% stake in the British marque. As a result, boss Andy Palmer is set to be replaced by Tobias Moers, who currently heads up the AMG brand. Though Palmer is credited with turning Aston Martin’s fortunes around when he came to the helm in 2014, the company has lost 90% of its shares since its initial public offering in 2018. (Financial Times)

- Ex-F1 drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne have hit out at Formula E rival Daniel Abt after it emerged he used a ‘ringer’ during this weekend’s Race At Home Challenge. Both were suspicious the German was not at the controls of his car on the way to third position in the virtual Berlin race. After it emerged the Audi driver had indeed deceived his rivals, Formula E disqualified him from all races up to this point and fined him €10,000 for the indiscretion. (Fox Sports)

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