Alonso, Bottas? Who will replace Rosberg at Mercedes?

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The speculation continues this week regarding a suitable replacement for Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. The team have been relatively neutral with their comments to the press and for good reason, most of the drivers they’d like to pursue currently have contracts and Mercedes know that any poaching will be a complex issue and most likely expensive.

The obvious choices of Pascal Werhlein or Esteban Ocon are not so obvious as placing a young driver next to 3-time champ Lewis Hamilton will not be a guarantee they will replicate the points-scoring finishes that Lewis and Nico enjoyed. Niki Laura said that the youngsters may be a “risk”.

With many Formula 1 fans taking to social media voicing their opinion on who should replace Rosberg, Fernando Alonso is a front runner. Mercedes said they value Fernando as a driver but as he has a McLaren contract, they would need to be sensitive to that issue. McLaren’s Zak Brown says that Alonso is happy where he is but there is little doubt he’d like to snatch the seat of a championship-winning dominant car like Mercedes but then almost all the drivers on the grid would like that seat.

Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas is another name being discussed along with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel but in a press conference Sunday in Daytona, Sebastian told me that he and Kimi Raikkonen have contracts for next season so their future should be quite clear.

Contracts can be bought out or sometimes they are porous enough with performance clauses that would allow drivers to take other offers. The complexity is who will be the best fit for Lewis and Mercedes and who will perform at the level the team expects as well as cost the least to dislodge from their current contract?

It’s the hottest seat in F1 and the decision will be very intriguing indeed.

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If Merc’s performance lead is anything close to last season’s, then they could afford to take Ocon or Wehrlein. All they need to do is finish 2nd behind Lewis and win on his off days. If they think they’re going to get blown into the weeds, by any means necessary get Alonso. If the pack happens to tighten up, I would think Sergio Perez is the choice driver if you’re only thinking about points. Force India is in the Mercedes PU sphere just like Williams, and could use the money. Bottas just hasn’t seemed to put in the remarkable drives… Read more »

Max Johnson
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Max Johnson

Right now it seems Mercedes is more looking for a younger driver to develop than to go after the big dogs. Pascal is a natural choice, but if they were smart (or willing to take the risk) they should buy out Carlos, though not going to happen. He may not have the show offs like Max, but there are hidden talents there and he definitely seems to have the pedigree to work with the team.

jakobusvdl
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jakobusvdl

Have we thought about someone Lewis would want to hang with? He has a number of high profile mates who could bring some more gansta cred to the F1 grid , after all as the Nico h8r’s tell us, anyone could win in the Mercedes ;-)

Graeme Fuller
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Graeme Fuller

My money had been on the “International”, but as of the last podcast he stated he wasn’t available. Bottas from Williams has the experience and wouldn’t threaten Team LH so could be borrowed for a year or so until others come out of contract. Also Williams wouldn’t mind cheaper engines or a better deal so an exchange of driver for engines would be a lot cheaper than breaking a contract. Unsure of anyone else sitting in or outside of F1 with a current F1 super license and available to go. Ultimately as MERC F1 is well funded it becomes the… Read more »

Schmorbraten
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Schmorbraten

Unless Alonso has some magic get-out-clause and/or a lot of money changes hands, it will be Wehrlein. And Alonso has been rather quiet.

Rapierman
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Rapierman

For me, the safe bet would be Wehrlein. He’s already ensconced in the Mercedes junior driver program and has some F1 experience. Additionally, he won’t challenge any notion that Hamilton has about Mercedes being “his team”.

Will this mean that Merc goes down? Well, I was expecting the chance of losing a spot in the standings next year. Rosberg’s departure merely sealed that fate, so you might as well go with the safe bet.

Member

I sent my resume to Toto Wolff along with my best racing season results on Codemasters F1 game on the PS3 since I could not get a hold of he or Niki Lauda on the phone. If I’m not chosen, I bet they choose Pascual Wehrlein.

TheFaust
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TheFaust

Williams could use the money and perhaps some technical assistance
if a Bottas contract were to be bought out. Love to see Alonzo at MB though.

Christy from Canada
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Christy from Canada

I think Ricciardo would be the best choice if they could get him

Magnus
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Magnus

All agree

ShocksAndAwe
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ShocksAndAwe

Agreed, but I think Red Bull has enforcers on retainer to pop knee caps if you try to leave the family business…

F1 Lover
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F1 Lover

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Skid Solo
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Skid Solo

Let’s hope It’s Alonso. Every team he goes to slides backwards.

Juho Kallio
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Juho Kallio

I mentioned this in the comments for the last podcast but it bears repeating i think. Merc could buy out Bottas and move Pascal to Williams to gather more experience. If Williams aren’t comfortable with two inexperienced drivers they also have Nasr available who has more races in F1 and was also the reserve for Williams before moving to Sauber. I know the International would vouch for his skills.

ShocksAndAwe
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ShocksAndAwe

I’m genuinely surprised no one is on about Button. Surely he could be coaxed back to drive a championship winning car?

Marcio Ribeiro
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Marcio Ribeiro

Williams will be a lesser team in terms of driver pairing in 2017 in comparing with 2016. By losing Massa – a seasoned veteran in F1 – and putting this new kid Lance Stroll – with no F1 experience to speak of – they are at least a peg down the ladder even if the kid proves to be good. There is going to be errors as the kid adjusts and goes through his learning curve. Williams will depend mostly on Bottas for any chance of podium results. Now we’re talking about giving Bottas away in exchange for (what I… Read more »