After the shock retirement of Nico Rosberg after claiming this year’s drivers’ championship, the whole of Formula One has been left reeling.
None more so than the Mercedes team that Rosberg has led alongside Lewis Hamilton at the top of the sport for the past few years.
It means that one of the hottest seats in F1 is now available and there will be no shortage of takers when it comes to filling the void.
Who do you think Mercedes will look to in their time of need?
The four-time champion failed to win a single race in a disappointing year at Ferrari, with whom he has one more season. The switch to Mercedes is an appealing one. Vettel versus Hamilton also has the hallmarks of a mouthwatering rivalry.
The Finnish driver recently re-signed for a fifth consecutive year with Williams, but Mercedes might be prepared to offer the British constructor money and Wehrlein in a move to land the 27-year-old Bottas’ reliable services.
Another young driver who has risen through the Mercedes ranks. Made his grand prix debut alongside Wehrlein at Manor this season, but recently agreed a deal to join Force India, who are backed by Mercedes power, for next season.
Like Vettel, Alonso’s contract expires at the end of 2017. But the 35-year-old Spaniard, who won the last of his two championships a decade ago, will sense the vacant seat at Mercedes as his ideal get-out clause from the struggling McLaren.
The 19-year-old Dutchman is widely seen as the heir to Hamilton’s F1 throne, and is highly rated by Mercedes. But he is under contract with Red Bull and it seems unlikely that team would even entertain the thought of Verstappen jumping ship. But you never know…
A member of the Mercedes junior programme, and a driver who has filled in for both Rosberg and Hamilton in testing, but hardly set the world alight during his debut with Manor. Could Mercedes offer him a one-year deal until Vettel or Alonso become available in 2017?
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