There are some pretty credible reports coming out of Italy suggesting that Valtteri Bottas has been signed to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2016. The move has been rumoured for some time and the well-connected Corriere dello Sport says it will be announced after the end of July, which is the date at which Raikkonen’s 2016 option would need to be taken up. If confirmed, the deal will mean a big financial boost for Williams as the team had a five-year contract with Bottas, of which this season is the fourth. That would mean Bottas would have to buy his way out of the Williams contract – with Ferrari presumably providing the cash. While on paper the move is not really logical for Bottas, the future of Ferrari is more clearly defined than the future at Williams, as the Grove team is still not back in the ranks of F1’s big spenders. Such a windfall will do the Williams team no harm at all. This is likely to get the F1 driver market moving and it will be interesting to see what Williams will do, although a deal with Nico Hulkenberg would be the obvious step, as the German has already been a Williams driver, back in 2010. He was not retained in 2011 because the team needed Pastor Maldonado’s money and had already had a deal with Rubens Barrichello. Hulkenberg had been hoping for a chance at Ferrari but if Bottas is confirmed, his best option is Williams. The other man who Williams might like is Daniel Ricciardo. His contractual status is not entirely clear as he’s not keen on giving detailed answers, so it is safe to assume he’s not completely locked in for 2016. One other option that might be possible would be for McLaren to pay for Williams to take one of its youngsters, to help them out developing into future stars. There is even the possibility that Jenson Button might return to the team where his career started 15 years ago. In recent days Jenson has been making it quite clear that his future at McLaren is not certain and that was probably sending a message to Williams. This would be a neat bookend to his F1 career and would help McLaren open the way for Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne to both move up the ladder.