Bottas linked with McLaren switch, Hakkinen acknowledges interest

Massa Bottas Williams

Valtteri Bottas is the latest driver to be linked with a switch to McLaren for 2015.

The Finn has been one of the most impressive performers on the grid this year, scoring a hat-trick of podiums and largely getting the better of veteran team-mate Felipe Massa.

That has led to speculation that Bottas could be seeking a move to a top team, though his natural next step - the factory Mercedes squad - has no vacancies for next year.

He has now emerged as a target for McLaren. The British outfit will switch to Honda power next season and have made it clear that they will target the best combination of drivers to lead their charge.

And Bottas’ fellow countryman Mika Hakkinen - who has been involved with the youngster’s progression to F1 - acknowledged rumours that he could join the Woking-based squad.

“There is interest and that’s good. What happens in the future remains to be seen,” said Hakkinen, who won 20 races and a brace of World Championships for McLaren.

“This is quite natural. Valtteri is still a young driver who has been in Formula One only for a short time. But Valtteri is interesting not only because of his speed. He can also motivate others in the team and is able to create an atmosphere that is necessary for success.”

McLaren are also believed to have expressed an interested in Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, with the latter being made “an outrageously high offer” to join the team. Current drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, as well as McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne, are also in the running for a 2015 seat.

24-year-old Bottas currently sits fifth in the drivers’ standings, more than 50 points clear of team-mate Massa, having scored podiums in Austria, Britain and Germany.