Yesterday gave Formula 1 the very surprising headline that newly crowned World Champion Nico Rosberg is retiring from the sport. My previous post gave information and my opinion on the matter at hand but today we’re here to talk about the future. Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes? Whoever it is almost certainly going to have a very, very competitive car under them and Lewis Hamilton as a teammate.
The safe bet is this man. Wehrlein impressed during his 2016 rookie season driving for the Manor Racing team, the slowest car on the grid. He scored the team’s only point of 2016 at the Austrian Grand Prix by finishing 10th. It just so happens, he’s also not currently contracted top anyone for 2017. Wehrlein would be a great fit as he is already part of the Mercedes family. He won the 2015 DTM Championship driving for Mercedes and was placed at manor to gain experience before, presumably, being ready to replace one of the Mercedes drivers. He is still very young and has only had one year of Formula 1 experience. However, this may be what Mercedes want after three years of fierce rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg. A definitive number one and two driver would be a lot easier to handle and Hamilton certainly would not be complaining, but how brilliant would it be to see Wehrlein able to challenge the three time World Champion.
This is personally what I want to see happen. It is no secret that Alonso is frustrated at McLaren. He deserves to be in a top team fighting for wins and the Worlds Championship. It is also common knowledge that he plans to join the Porsche World Endurance Championship team in 2018. I would love to see Alonso given one more chance to become a three time World Champion before bowing out. If he can find a way out of his current contract, he may well be knocking on the door of Mercedes. But would Mercedes want him? No doubt he a great driver, arguably the best on the grid, but do Mercedes want the hassle that comes with two top level drivers, especially after their rocky teammate history in 2007.
This is an interesting one. Do Mercedes want to retain a German driver? Do they fear Wehrlein simply isn’t ready for his big break? Hulkenberg had just signed a deal with Renault but surely Mercedes could buy him out of this if they wanted too. Hulkenberg has always shown great promise racing for the midfield team of Force India for most of his career and many think he could do great things given a very competitive car. He was glossed over by Ferrari when they were replacing Massa in 2014 and now has had to turn to Renault for a factory drive. Renault are so far down the grid at the moment, though, even if they do climb back to the top, it wont be before Hulkenberg is coming towards his own retirement date.
This is too an interesting one. Bottas would be a safe bet for Mercedes. He is steady, consistent and reliable, although maybe missing something in the ‘special’ category. He is somewhat in the Mercedes family already as Williams are supplied with Mercedes engines, and moreover, he is managed by Toto Wolf. If they choose Bottas it would be a relatively easy thing to bring him over, and I’m sure Williams would not mind losing him if they are getting some much needed money from Mercedes.
Really? Sebastian Vettel? I’m not so sure of this either but I heard his name flying around so thought I’d mention him. Again if Mercedes want a German driver and they want a proven World Champion to rival Hamilton then Vettel is a good choice. However, Vettel seems committed to helping resurrect Ferrari and would love to win a championship with them. Also, Ferrari might be harder to handle if there is a contract buy out as they don’t exactly need money.
This would be great to see. We would lose his great overtakes and wheel to wheel racing shows as in a Mercedes he would probably be miles in the lead. But it would be great to see Verstappen in an equal car to Lewis Hamilton just to see what would happen.