Nico Rosberg’s decision to retire suddenly after becoming the World champion was the most shocking event of 2016. His decision started a series of rumors regarding his replacement in the Mercedes team.
Since that announcement, following names are under consideration – Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Vettel, Valtteri Botas, Max Verstappen, and Pascal Wehrlein. However, Mercedes have announced that they will not reveal the name of their new driver until next year. Therefore, the speculations will continue till someone’s name is announced.
As per the reports from NBC Sports, Mercedes will wait for the announcement of the new driver at least till 3rd January. The statement further said that nothing is planned for the period between now and 3rd January when they return to work.
Rosberg’s retirement sent Mercedes into panic mode as they had no idea that his retirement was so early. The fact that Rosberg was at the peak of his career has made it harder to swallow the news. However, Nico’s Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton earlier said that he expected this announcement. Mercedes could sign reserve Pascal Wehrlein, who drove for Manor in 2016, immediately, but the team seems to want someone more experienced.
Mercedes have the option to sign reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein for the vacancy. However, the team wants to hire someone with more experience in F1 racing.
Valteri Bottas appears to be number one on replacement list of Mercedes. However, he still has an ongoing contract with Williams for next season. Moreover, Williams wants to retain him as their driver and wouldn’t let him go for any price. Their other experienced driver Felipe Massa also retired this year. As per the BBC Sports report, Mercedes offered their engine at a lower price and Pascal Wehrlein to release Bottas from his contract. But, the deal still didn’t go as expected by Mercedes.