E s is a bizarre situation. After the resignation of world champion Nico Rosberg, one of the two Mercedes cockpits is free. So a place in the dominant racing team of the last three years, which has cleared all titles and won 51 of 59 races.
Mercedes is taking its time - voluntarily or not?
Almost two weeks later Rosberg has announced his departure, the succession has not yet been settled. Although actually the entire field of drivers should fight for the vacant place. And all sorts of names are traded. The situation is complicated, however. No team wants to voluntarily surrender one of its drivers in December. Because you would be in a tight spot two and a half months before the winter test drives.
Mercedes wants to determine Lewis Hamilton's future teammate before Christmas. That was the declared plan of Mercedes Foreign Minister Niki Lauda. As a team spokesman announced on Thursday (December 15, 2016), the new pilot will not be announced until next year. Which could indicate that the search is slow. And Mercedes wants to pull the media off the topic in order to work on the new dream team in peace.
Rumors about Felipe Massa
The big shots of the scene are under contract. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (McLaren) are in a relationship with their racing teams until the end of 2017. Both have already given up. Alonso confessed to his team in front of the McLaren workforce. “I believe in this project. I want to be world champion with McLaren-Honda. That's my only goal. ”Red Bull has tied Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen to itself.
According to their own statements, the Mercedes management team has been working intensively on succession planning since December 5th. It looks like the racing team is looking around in all directions and checking all the options available. Pascal Wehrlein is the favorite. But the man from his own sponsorship team could have been chosen as a Rosberg replacement long ago. That could be interpreted in such a way that Wehrlein is not in the first place on the wish list.
Rumors say that the Silver Arrows want to remove Valtteri Bottas from his Williams contract. Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff is part of the management team of the 27-year-old Finn, who has climbed to the podium nine times in his career. But without Bottas, Williams would have a problem next year. The regulations changedrastic, you need pilots with experience. On the track and in the further development of the car. Newcomer Lance Stroll will not be able to cope with this task. The French L’Equipe therefore brings Felipe Massa into play. Allegedly Williams should try to persuade the Brazilian to hang on for another year. Bottas could then switch to Mercedes.
Red Bull does not want to let Sainz go
But let's remember Massa's words of resignation from Monza. The 250-time race participant affirmed at the time: “It's time to quit at the end of the season. His motives: “My position in the World Cup, my performances on the track, the rules, the long time I've been there. It's just time to go. And I want to do it with my head held high: “Can you even announce your resignation after such a statement? Probably hardly.
Carlos Sainz from Toro Rosso was also traded as an option. Red Bull team boss Christian Horner waves the BBC: “Why should we let him go? Carlos did a great job. He's part of the Red Bull squad. We invested in him and he has a long-term contract. It wouldn't make sense to feed one of our main rivals with one of our guns. '
Hamilton himself is cool in an interview with British broadcaster Channel 4. “Mercedes decides. You can put any driver you want next to me: be it Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso or whoever. I beat Fernando in my freshman year, so I'm not worried. 'Hamilton also says that there is a contract that Mercedes should talk to him about the options. “But I don't have a say,” says the three-time champion, who points out that choosing the second driver shouldn't have a negative impact on the team's climate. Like in 2007, when Hamilton and Alonso quarreled at McLaren and ended up with 109 points behind Kimi Raikkonen in the World Cup.