The press is going around in circles at the moment trying to predict just who Mercedes will choose to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg with some believing Sebastian Vettel may get out of his Ferrari contract or our own home grown star Daniel Ricciardo may find the lure of a drive with the German champions too strong to ignore.
However, Red Bull has dismissed any speculation as to Daniel, or his teammate, Max Verstappen for that matter leaving, just as Sebastian has about his future….
“Our drivers are both on long-term contracts,” team boss Christian Horner told the UK Mirror.
“I don’t know what’s their plan but for us we look after ourselves for next year, there’s a lot of things changing so we’re quite busy ourselves,” Vettel said about the situation when approached by motorsport.com.
The biggest challenger for the role at this stage comes in the form of 2016 Manor driver and contracted Mercedes young gun, Pascal Wehrlein, who has just won the Rookie of the Year award at the Autosport Awards for his performances during this past year.
While taking a chance on a relative rookie may be a big risk for Mercedes, they really aren’t left with a lot of choices and Pascal believes he is more than ready to9 step up and try to fill Rosberg’s shoes.
“One season in F1 is not a lot, but I feel ready for the job, confident enough,” he said after receiving his award. “Now the decision is on the bosses, Toto's phone must have been overheating since Friday, many drivers have called him, but I respect that process and I want to go for the best option.”
Pascal has been testing the new 2017 tyres for Mercedes, something he believes is invaluable experience for next season…
“I think I did most days with the 2017 tyres, and it’s very important to have that experience!”
With Christmas almost upon us, Mercedes has a little breathing room to make their choice with an announcement on lewis Hamilton’s new teammate expected in the New Year.