Late test call for Wehrlein adds fuel to Rosberg rumors

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I’ve seen rumors that Nico Rosberg is speaking with Ferrari and wants Fernando Alonso to replace him at Mercedes should he leave the team at the end of this season. Who knows if that’s true but it does start the silly season considering that Kimi Raikkonen’s contract ends this season as well.

Mercedes have not renewed Rosberg’s contract yet and it expires in 2016 but if you were trying to make a point of how good you may be and raise your stock in the eyes of other teams, then leading the championship is a good way to do that.

Testing this week in Spain has added a new twist to the silly season rumors when current reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein was called up last minute to test in place of Esteban Ocon who was scheduled to be the driver for the session. The team, according to Motorsport, says that they needed a veteran driver in order to assess the upgrades they were testing and that very well could be the case but it hasn’t stopped the rumors that it has more to do with the departure of Rosberg than anything else.

The Move has now left only two days of testing left in 2016 which will require a reserve driver to be in the seat thus eliminating Lewis Hamilton from any participation at the next test in at Silverstone.

The suggestion here is that this was an audition of sorts and when asked if he felt is was, Pascal said:

“You always are, you cannot relax, step back, hope or be sure of what happens next year or the next years, so you always need to push.

“You always need to push yourself and make the best out of it.”

The obvious answer to if he would be ready to take Rosberg’s seat should the German leave at the end of the year was a resounding “yes” from Wehrlein. It does bring up the thought of Ferrari and if Rosberg would be a good fit there. What do you think? Would be play well with the team’s Italian pedigree and the other German, Sebastian Vettel?

Hat Tip: Motorsport

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Gordon Robertson
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Gordon Robertson

I would love to see that move.

Shoki Kaneda
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Shoki Kaneda

Nico had an undistinguished career before the current Mercedes dominance and has failed to defeat Hamilton in the same car. It may be true that he is a “new and improved” Nico and able to beat Lewis on even terms. While his form seems better, I wonder if that is sufficiently established for Ferrari to make the bet. He has also, on several occasions, shown a willingness to deliberately shaft his team mate. Would Sebastian be eager to see if Nico would do it to him?

MIE
Editor

An undistinguished career that involved beating Michael Schumacher for three years. Other than his first season in F1 (when Mark Webber beat him) he has beaten every team mate until Lewis Hamilton. As soon as he had a car that was capable of winning, then he won. He is a better driver than many give him credit for. In the past, he hasn’t been as good at wheel to wheel racing, but he seems to be more willing to stand up to Hamilton recently. The thing is, if Rosberg wins the title, would Mercedes want to see him go? Also… Read more »

mini696
Member

See, I keep telling everyone Webber is better than Schumacher. But they never believe me.

longshot
Guest
longshot

To be fair, he didn’t beat Schumacher in his prime – be beat an old Schumacher who was no more comfortable with the newfangled Pirellis than Webber was.

MIE
Editor

True, but one of the reasons that Schumacher’s return is thought of poorly is that Rosberg beat him. When Hamilton placed him, the two drivers were very close. Only last year did Hamilton comprehensively beat Rosberg, and that situation now seems to be reversed.

longshot
Guest
longshot

From watching Schumaker race on his return, he often seemed far more aggressive than most of the drivers around him. He really looked like someone who was used to racy hard-wearing tyres, and who never did adapt to the concept of pottering around smoothly in order to get the most life out of them. As regards Rosberg, to say he’s beaten all his team-mates except Webber & Hamilton is a bit disingenous when you neglect to mention that the other drivers were Alexander Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima. Sure, he didn’t get to choose those drivers, but still … most of… Read more »

Joe
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Joe

Or does it add fuel to the speculation that Lewis is on his way out? After-all, it is Lewis that is losing out on in-season testing as a result of this move to draft Pascal in for the day. Can’t imagine for a second that Mercedes were not aware that by bringing in Pascal they are denying Lewis the chance to run in the test after Silverstone.

Negative Camber
Guest

Lewis just signed a big contract with them so he’s not going anywhere I shouldn’t think.

Marcio Ribeiro
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Marcio Ribeiro

I was under the impression that Lewis had signed a two year contract and therefore, his contract ends at the end of 2017. Certainties in F1 can be fickle, but right now, it does seem like Hamilton may be weighing his options within F1 AND without. Regarding Rosberg, his people maybe shopping around now that he’s in the lead, but Ferrari at least seem very pleased with keeping Kimi for another year. Of course, everyone is schooled enough to keep their options opened till the last minute. And that’s as deep I think this story goes.

Negative Camber
Guest

It was a 3-year deal worth $140m. He’s not going anywhere. :)

Member

What do I think? Silly season begins earlier with every passing year. But seriously folks, let’s assume that Nico wins the Drivers’ World Championship this year. Question #1-If his contract is up at season’s end, would he not ask for a substantial raise to go with his new title? Question #2-Does Mercedes-Benz really want to spend something beyond $70million(my estimate based on my guesses) solely on driver salaries? Yes, to Q1, no to Q2. Enter Pascual Wehrlein with one season at Manor under his belt, a less experience alternative to Nico. As for Alonso going to MB/AMG, I’m sure Fernando… Read more »

Dan
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Dan

There’s a lot of outside pressure from Vandoorne for a drive at McLaren, so Alonso will definitely be keeping an eye out for spare seats on the grid. If he gets Rosberg’s seat at Mercedes, then we could potentially see Alonso vs Hamilton battling for the 2017 title, a reprisal of their bitter fight during Hamilton’s rookie year in 2007. Back then Alonso openly complained about his team’s apparent favouritism toward the young British star, and their rivalry that season cost them both the title. Right now, Hamilton and Alonso appear good friends on the grid, so perhaps the pairing… Read more »

Negative Camber
Guest

Yeah, I’m not sure Merc would want Alonso to be honest. Not if they have Lewis and could get Pascal in there to grow.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Alonso’s staying at Mclaren – its Button who’ll lose his seat to Vandoorne next year.

Derek
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Derek

I still find it very odd that Alonso is hardly in any anywhere at many sponsor events or even on the McLaren store to advertise the 2016 team gear. It’ll be 2017 by the time we get the Alonso team gear in the store for the 2016 season.

Granted he might have negotiated these terms in his contract, and he has his carting school and such. I just don’t feel like McLaren are pimping him out enough. Perhaps things will change when the team are back on the podium.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Yeah good point. I do think Mclaren expected Honda to be competitive by mid 2015 & that they’d be shooting for podiums & wins by the end of the season. Once they understood just how long the road is ahead of them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they regretted hiring Alonso – hence Ron Dennis’s strange “thought bubble” at the end of last year that Alonso would take a sabbatical in 2016. I bet they’d be over the moon if another team came along offering to take Alonso off their hands, but Alonso would have to agree – unless that… Read more »

longshot
Guest
longshot

After the last race, I think its evident to Mercedes that Lewis & Nico are a bad pairing – there’s always conflict between them that threatens to blow up on track to the detriment of the team. They probably believed they had it sorted after the Spa incident, but the two of them continue to display aggressive driving toward each other & haven’t shown that they can battle for position without one or other cars being forced off track – or worse. As Lewis is signed up long term, unfortunately that leaves Nico on the outer. There’s plenty of drivers… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Hamilton doesn’t have a good track record of playing nicely with his team mates. Maybe Mercedes need to sign Button ;-)

longshot
Guest
longshot

Heh, this is true. But I think its worst with Rosberg because they knew each other from a young age, coming up through the karting ranks together. That’s created a much stronger rivalry compared to opponents encountered at a later stage – both Rosberg & Hamilton really REALLY want to beat the other. Its personal.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

That may be so, or it might just be media hype ;-)

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

The world of F1 is full of rumours and whispers, and I agree that the sudden call-up of Wehrlein for the Barcelona test does make one wonder a little… From there, the thought of Nico (or his “people”, possibly) having conversations with Ferrari isn’t too much of a stretch. But one thing I don’t get is the bit about him allegedly wanting Fernando to replace him – why would he even have an opinion about that? That bit makes the rumour a bit less credible, in my opinion (not to say I haven’t frequently been wrong about these things before).… Read more »

Rupert Chandler
Guest
Rupert Chandler

I’d Would like to see Rosberg escape from the I’m afraid stereotypical ‘German’ problem of NEVER ever EVER being wrong.. I think if he could learn to stop his bottom lip quivering and own up to his mistakes gracefully he would gain more respect and be a better driver. Slamming across Hamilton, whilst making adjustments via his driving wheel and still insisting he was 100% on top of things just makes him look silly and arrogant. He started in the wrong mode, ended up 180 HP down, blocked Hamilton in a totally instinctive but way too brutal manner all while… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I mean I really agree but isn’t that a cost of dealing with pretty much all these guys? They’re fascinating because they’re so strong mentally and so weak emotionally. I’m just not sure a person can be confident enough to do what they do if they don’t believe they’re perfect at all times and superior to all others.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

That’s an interesting observation 2289 – ‘mentality strong, emotionally weak’.
There is so much media attention on those two drivers, and most of it either fawning or malign. I doubt many people would show well under those circumstances.
When it was Vettel and Webber, Vettel was alternately ‘the arrogant, petulant German’, or ‘the cool guy with a british sense of humour’.
I think what we perceive of the drivers personas is largely media B.S, and best tempered with a dose of cynicism.

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I can imagine Mercedes wanting a real ‘#2’ but Pascal Wehrlein seems a bit too novice for this drive don’t you think? I mean the list of drivers who want that Merc seat is all drivers.

Kelly O
Guest

Agreed. I think Wehrlein is much too green, but they probably want someone who is okay with being number two for a while. They could always go with someone green who wouldn’t question Hamilton; it’s not entirely out of the realm of plausibility. But they also like having that podium, and they’ll need a more experienced driver to do that, realistically.

Therein lies the problem.

Negative Camber
Guest

He was a DTM driver and a darned good one so he’s not quite that green. :)

Joe Mama
Guest
Joe Mama

Lewis and Fernando teamed up in silver cars…that sounds familiar. Didn’t that show get cancelled?

MIE
Editor

With Mercedes having to give both of the remaining in season test days to inexperienced drivers, I wonder who will be rumoured to be displacing Rosberg come mid July.