The spare Mercedes seat!?!?

2y ago

875

Rosberg's last minute retirement has left even more uncertainty about 2017 in the air. Who will partner Lewis next year in the sister merc? Hot names are Vettel, Alonso, Bottas and Wehrlein. Personally, I think Wehrlein is the most likely candidate...

Haas, Renault and Force India want stability. They are developing teams with a lot of potential. With the exception of 1 Force India seat, all their drivers are signed up, and they probably, he says gingerly, have enough cash to ward off any Mercedes contract's. I would say Williams, Force India and Manor, running Mercedes engines could be at risk of losing a driver, but Williams are all too much in harmony and Force India I've mentioned already, but Manor is interesting. Wehrlein drivers could be bought, but the question is, is he experienced and quick enough to partner Lewis at the front? I'll come back to him... Toro Rosso have their links with Red Bull so it's very unlikely it'll be a driver from them. Both Red Bull drivers are contracted and look to be sitting very pretty with Newey and an aero formula next year. Sauber has Ferrari power and therefore no links to Mercedes, and their drivers haven't really shown the capability of a Mercedes drive, although could potentially replace another moving driver from a midfield team. Kimi is happy, performing well and contracted. Stoffel Vandoorne is a contracted rookie in a wealthy team, so it won't be him.

Fernando is the first danger name, but I think it's unlikely. Alonso is getting payed too much, he's the solid number one for next season, and McLaren are showing too many signs of improvement, especially with the upcoming rule changes, for him to want to leave, especially with risk involved in partnering Lewis again.

Vettel I think will be desperate for the seat, he's probably on the phone to Niki and Toto right now. I don't think Mercedes will want him though, his volatility with Arrivabene may well play into their hands next year if they turn out to be championship rivals. Also, quite a lot of press around Vettel has been negative this year, I doubt Mercedes will want that after the Nico - Lewis rivalry. I think apart from Arrivabene, Ferrari will want Vettel as well. Not only do they need stability within the team with their development programme, but he works well with Kimi, and if their own drivers appear don't have faith in the team, how will the tifosi? I reckon they'll also say their reserve driver, Charles Leclerc, is too new to the team and inexperienced to be promoted just yet.

Valtteri I think is clever enough to stay away from the electric chair of the Mercedes seat. He's looking very sharp in the Williams, and with a rookie team mate and rule changes standing the experienced, aerodynamic-orientated team in good stead for 2017, he knows he needs to be faithful (unlike Rosberg) and patient, and the results will come. He and Williams seem too happy in each others company.

That only really leaves Wehrlein. Mercedes really need a current F1 driver to try and replace the experience of Nico, and Pascal is the closest thing to that left on the potential market. He already has ties with Mercedes, and with all due respect, Manor will probably have to release him for less than some other teams might, due to budgeting reasons. Not only that, but he's German. Mercedes quite obviously, want a Deutsche in their car. It will be interesting to see what my Lewis conspirator friends will think if they hire another German. Why hire Germans if you're going to let the Brit win the titles and show your native drivers up...

I'd bet money on seeing Pascal in that Mercedes. He's not my personal first choice, but I think he's Mercedes most realistic first option. Unless DC or Webber fancy a career reversal...

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