Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2016

Who should Mercedes hire to replace Rosberg?

Debates and PollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula One was rocked by Nico Rosberg’s revelation on Friday that he won’t be returning to defend his championship next year.

The world champion’s car being vacant for the coming season is an almost unprecedented situation. Unsurprisingly, Mercedes have already indicated they have been inundated by requests from many drivers on the grid – some of which will already have contracts in place for 2017.

Drivers Yas Marina, 2016
Toto Wolff is making a list and checking it twice
The silver team could have the pick of almost every driver in the sport. So who should they turn to?

As the reigning constructors’ champions, and facing a likely much greater threat from rivals Red Bull in 2017, Mercedes need a quick driver but also one who is not going to make silly mistakes and throw their car off the track.

But it’s not difficult to see how the time pressures involved and the difficulty of extracting drivers from their contracts will inevitably delay the process. Any team willing to release a driver to Mercedes may be unwilling to do so without having first lined up a replacement.

Multiple champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who have endured too much defeat for their tastes in recent years, will no doubt be investigating whether a move to Brackley is possible. But what’s possible isn’t the same as what’s practical.

With their contracts up for renewal in 12 months’ time, the sensible call for Mercedes could be to find a driver who is a safe pair of hands, appoint them for one year, and take more time over the call on who to employ for 2018 – by which time Lewis Hamilton’s contract will also be up for renewal.

There may be another factor to consider. Having a German driver in the team has obvious value from a marketing perspective: a point Nico Hulkenberg and Pascal Wehrlein’s representatives will no doubt have been ramming home.

I say

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2016
Alonso: Appealing, but unrealistic?
As appealing as the idea of Alonso reuniting with Hamilton for another championship slugfest is, I’m not convinced it’s realistic. Why would McLaren leave themselves high and dry with a rookie and one empty seat just to keep Mercedes happy?

And the Ferrari pair know what an affront to their team it would be if word got out that they had tried and failed to jump ship.

The Red Bull contingent – all four drivers plus Pierre Gasly – can be safely ruled out. Christian Horner is not going to do Toto Wolff any favours, particularly after last year’s row over engines.

Nico Hulkenberg ticks many boxes: quick, experienced, knows the Mercedes power unit and is German. He must be sick at the thought of having signed a Renault contract which, if it’s gointo pay off at all, probably won’t do for several years. But he must be one of the ones pushing hardest for a switch.

A driver who would tick most of the same boxes, and has the added benefit of an existing relationship with Wolff, is Valtteri Bottas. That could make it easier for Mercedes to get their hands on him.

Esteban Ocon, Manor, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016
Ocon would be an exciting choice
Easier still for Mercedes would be to appoint one of their own junior drivers. Promoting Esteban Ocon to the seat would be comparable to the speed with which Red Bull promoted Max Verstappen. Ocon is already set to join Force India – another Mercedes customer team – for next year.

Could Force India be persuaded to take another Mercedes youngster, Pascal Wehrlein, instead? Or might Wehrlein himself get the Mercedes gig?

I tend to think one of these could be a more realistic option than poaching a driver who has already won the championship. I was hugely impressed by Ocon in F3 and GP3, and would love to see Mercedes give him the kind of opportunity Red Bull handed to Verstappen.



You say

Assuming Mercedes can lay their hands on any driver for next year, and leaving aside next year’s rookie crop and this year’s retirees, who should they hire to replace Rosberg? Cast your vote and explain your choice below.

Who should Mercedes hire as Hamilton's team mate for 2017?

  • Daniel Ricciardo (2%)
  • Max Verstappen (5%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (5%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (5%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (7%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (16%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (6%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (27%)
  • Romain Grosjean (1%)
  • Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0%)
  • Felipe Nasr (0%)
  • Pascal Wehrlein (14%)
  • Esteban Ocon (2%)
  • Rio Haryanto (1%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (0%)
  • Jolyon Palmer (0%)
  • Someone from outside F1 (5%)

Total Voters: 626

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291 comments on “Who should Mercedes hire to replace Rosberg?”

    1. I think Sainz would perfectly fit the bill. He is no slouch.

      1. Don’t see it happening, I doubt Sainz is higher on the list than Alonso, Perez, Bottas, Ocon or Wehrlein (in that order). I do wonder who will drive for McLaren if Mercedes gets Alonso. Alsono already solicitated for Sainz.

    2. Unless there is a falling out between Ricciardo and Verstappen, Sainz won’t get promoted to a Red Bull any time soon. So really, if he wants a race winning seat somewhere, he will need to move. If I was him and was offered the seat, I would be saying “Yes, please” with a big smile on my face!

    3. Red Bull blocked Sainz from signing with Renault this year IIRC. They sure as heck won’t let him sign with Mercedes.

    4. Sainz.
      If the question is “who should …replace Rosberg?” The answer is Sainz.
      If the question is “who is likely to …replace Rosberg?” The anwer is Wehrlein.

      1. I think Bottas is more likely to do so @jeff1s.

      2. Agree @jeff1s.

        In decending order of likelihood versus desirability….

        Best Mature Driver. Alonzo.
        Best young driver. Sainz.
        Most likely option. Wehrlein.

        1. Exactly why Button has been left of this list is a complete and utter mystery.

          So just to remind everyone;

          1. Button is a world champion
          2. Button currently has no race seat for next year
          3. This is Button’s former team
          4. Button has worked with Hamilton in the past and can do so again acrimoniously
          5. Button can challenge Hamilton over the course of a season (which may be a negative from Merc perspective)
          6. Button will win races and challenge for the title (assuming the car is again a race winner)
          7. Button is a MUCH better racer than Rosberg ( I said RACER, not qualifier)
          8. The ONLY driver to ever beat Hamilton and Alonso over the course of a season
          9. Button is a sponsors dream and a wonderful team ambassador

          I would be extremely surprised if Mercedes have not already contacted him. Whether Button actually wants to take the seat is another matter. He seems like someone happy and content to retire. We’ve all seen his motivation and drive fall off this season after he decided to retire, but tell me anyone who wouldn’t be lacking motivation and desire after 4 years of driving a PIG of a car! Promise him a race/championship winning car and just watch the enthusiasm, motivation and drive come FLOODING back!

          1. A one year contract priceless

          2. @nick101 My thoughts exactly, Button is the obvious 1 year filler if they want to hold out for any other top driver in 12 months. Wehrlein/Occon is more of a punt in hoping to bring in their own future star, but a bit risky given the significant rule changes coming in for next year. Button is a safe pair of hands – proven race winner but unlikely to rock the boat too much and should be happy with a 1 year deal.

          3. One year caretaker contract… he’s a shoe in

          4. Button isn’t faster than Rosberg and would be easily beaten 99% of the time by Hamilton.

          5. Use a “seatfiller” for a year, maybe a young driver or any other talent.
            Watch KEVIN MAGNUSSEN beat the crap out of Grosjean in 2017 and give him the seat in 2018.
            Bulletproof plan if Mercedes wants another World Champion.

          6. Nahhh…..Button is past it…..Alonso was handing him his ass every week.

          7. That is ridiculous, Mercedes would not want to give Button access to all the valuable info regarding a car that is dramatically different compared to this year. So he can go back to McLaren in 2018 (as he implied) and let them know how everything works at Mercedes? Nah…

      3. This is exactly my thought.

        I put wherlein down because he is more likely but I feel Sainz is an equal to Vestappen and whether you agree with that or not, should take Rosberg’s seat

    5. *facepalm* I was so distracted with choosing btween Hulkenberg, Perez, and Werhlein that I forgot about Sainz. I agree though!

  1. Verstappen

    1. Lol they said a safe pair of hands.

    2. It would make for interesting radio chatter.

      1. “Pastor’s hit me … “.

  2. Jenson for 2017, Sebastian Vettel from 2018 onwards.

    1. btw: Why is Rio Haryanto an option, but not Jenson?

      1. Because Jenson’s retired, same with Massa, and Haryanto’s still available.

        1. Jenson is technically not retired. Sure, he said that he won’t race next year, but he is still a contracted driver to McLaren, which is a 2017 + option for 2018.

      2. Button is Mutton and many better drivers anove him

    2. Jenson would be good choice. He’s a safe pair of hands, friends with Hamilton, able to pick up the points on the occasions when Hamilton drops the ball. But he is still under Mclaren contract as a development driver IIRC.

      1. able to pick up the points on the occasions when Hamilton drops the ball

        Able to pick up points on occasions?! Is this comment a wind up?

        I realise that Hamilton beat Button 2 seasons to 1, but need I remind you that Button scored more POINTS overall than Hamilton. He also scored only 2 wins less than Hamilton during that time so to say that Button will only be able to pick up points on occasions where Hamilton drops that ball is extremely disingenuous.

        If Button gets the seat, and it’s a championship winning car, he’ll be challenging for the title.

    3. Why Vettel? He has clearly shown that he can’t win races until u give him a race winning car! I dont think he needs to be served with a golden spoon everytime! Would like to see a fighter (Alonso, Sainz) or upcoming talent (Wehrlein, Ocon)!

      1. Because he’s the best driver available for 2018 and would provide the team with stability in case Lewis decides to call it quits after 2018, by which point we’ll hopefully have a final verdict on Ocon and/or Wehrlein, or an option to take on Max Verstappen.

        There are only two guys who beat Mercedes on their own speed, Seb (Hungary 2015, Singapore 2015, and had a shot again this year, if not for the team’s qualy snafu) and Daniel (Monaco 2016), and Daniel is under contract through the end of 2018.

        1. So the fact that, say, Sainz didn’t beat Mercedes with his Toro Rosso means he’s just not good enough, right? Interesting reasoning…

  3. I had two thoughts:

    1) Mercedes knew just enough in advance about Rosbergs retirement to place Ocon at Force India and keep Wehrlein in the dark only to announce him moving to Mercedes in the coming weeks.

    Or

    2) They didn’t knew it enough in advance, placed Ocon at Force India because he is better than Wehrein. Now they will move Ocon to Mercedes, and shuffle Wehrlein to Force India

    What I’d do?

    Try to knick Sainz off STR.

    1. P.S What I’d love to happen is a certain Aussie who became free this year.

      1. Not bad for a number 2 driver

      2. @xtwl Lauda is free. He’s from Aus…..

    2. Makes no sense two rookies in the best car on the grid. But who knows really. If you check the driver standings Perez is the best of the rest this year.

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      4th December 2016, 12:58

      That’s a good point @xtwl. Did Mercedes let Ocon go to Force India because he’s the one everyone’s excited about and it’s good experience at a better team, or did they let him go because they are in fact ‘letting him go.’

    4. I see no reason to doubt that Mercedes was every bit as much surprised by this as most of us @xtwl.

      I think they are more likely to go the Bottas route though. He can be had (it was rumoured he would be off for Renault anyway in a year) and they can put Wehrlein in a good seat to develop further, as he is too much of a hotheaded type to pair with Hamilton.

      Sainz is maybe less unavailable than Verstappen. But not by that much. Renault had a go, and they gave at least some reasons to do so (the engine cooperation) and are no direct competitor to Red Bull. Why on earth would anyone at Red bull have the slightest reason to agree to let Carlos go?

  4. Alonso, so that we can have another thrilling and intense rivalry!

  5. Only 5% for Max???

    1. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

      After all the question is “Who should Mercedes hire as Hamilton’s team mate for 2017?” and not “Who do you think Mercedes will hire as Hamilton’s team mate for 2017?”

      1. i guess the disclaimer about Horner influenced the vote.

        1. Not just from Horner’s end, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Max thinks he’ll be in a better seat than the Merc next year, and DR is no LH.

          1. DR is still an uknown quantity. He might be as good as LH, and he raised his game when Verstappen arrived…

          2. You’re right, DR is no Hamilton – he’s better!

          3. Only in your mind.

      2. Exactly the question is who should Mercedes hire? Not who would we as fans get the biggest kick from seeing paired up.

        Absolute ideal world option I’d like to see them rotate between Max, Dan, Nando and Seb so we can measure them up against Lewis. But as a pragmatic choice, who should Mercedes hire? And pragmatically they shouldn’t hire Max because the cost to benefit ratio for them as a team makes no sense no matter how much of a wet dream for fans it is.

        They should hire someone who they don’t have to pay out of a contract, who they don’t have to pay much at all to, and who will accept a 1 year contract so they have options in the upcoming years.

        1. @philipgb I see it completely differently.

          Red Bull is expected to be the main challenger against the silver cars next year. It would make a lot of sense to try to destabilize them by hiring either Verstappen or Ricciardo. Both are young and highly regarded and can be signed for multiple years, thus giving Mercedes a long term strategy if Hamilton wants to leave in 2018. Signing Verstappen would also be a PR dream, we would talk about nothing else for the best part of the year.

          1. tesla (@thedogjustpukedonme)
            4th December 2016, 17:22

            I’d love to see Ricciardo alongside Hamilton. Btw, Ricciardo is 27, not exactly young in the world of F1.

  6. I don’t think Mercedes is going to take the risk of picking one of their junior drivers Wehrlein or Ocon. They simple lack experience. They could easily buckle under the pressure of being at the front, or being paired up with Hamilton. Not even Perez was ready when he went to Mclaren. Only someone pretty arrogant and confident can make the switch at such young age, like Verstappen or indeed Hamilton himself in 2007.

    I think it’s a much safer bet to go for Valterri Bottas. He is a driver who has done all he can at Williams, and will be eager to drive for a top team. I think he will be mentally more prepared to take on Hamilton.

    Mercedes could buy him out of Williams offering Wehrlein in return.

    1. @me4me Bottas wouldn’t need any mental strength as he is nowhere near a match for Hamilton. Ocon or Wehrlein might.

      1. How can you be so sure about Bottas have you ever seen him in a top shelf car? I just don’t see why you would put two unknown rookies in the best car on the grid.

        1. Bottas had enough trouble with Massa, how do you think he’ll fare against Hamilton? If they want a sure boring number two driver they should go with Bottas. If they want to add some spice and work towards a future without Hamilton they should take either Wehrlein or Ocon.

          1. @xtwl Sounds delusional to think that Ocon or Wehrlein would fare better to Hamilton compared to Bottas. Bottas has proved he is good enough for F1, he has has brought some magical results from time to time and got 100% out of the car nearly every weekend. I know beating Maldonado and old Massa doesn’t seem to convince everyone, but let him try in a WDC-capable car. He isn’t that young anymore after all. Wehrlein and Ocon will have their chances when most of the current top-drivers have retired.

          2. Massa is not a bad driver you know this. Still Bottas beat him.

            Who is talking about Lewis leaving when he is having the time of his life. Perez and Lewis would get along great.

          3. Bottas had enough trouble with Massa? Eh? He’s much better qualified for the position that Wehrlein and Ocon, who by the way, aren’t exactly personalities themselves.

          4. Simple most people need to take their Bias glasses off sometimes.

          5. Nigel, I’m open for any discussion but it ends right away if you’re going to call me bias. I have no interest in either of the three drivers. I merely gave my opinion on questions asked. I have no problem with you liking Bottas but please accept not everyone has to,…

            Bottas is a proper driver but nowhere near as spectacular as Ocon or Wehrlein. Both show a lot more promise, Bottas has basically flatlined since 2014 when he could snatch some podiums thanks to a fast Mercedes engine. Those few magical performances that @huhhii talks about are hardly enough to warrant a top seat. Bar the occasional good qualy and a proper race here and there Bottas has done nothing that exceptional in the Williams. He’s just good enough to stay there but anything else is an overpromotion.

            Ocon and Wehrlein on the other hand show a lot more potential and have amazed many in the paddock and outside F1 as future superstars. The opportunity arises now and if I were to choose any of those three I’d choose one that could be a future leader, being Ocon.

          6. @xtwl I must disagree because which amazing performances from Ocon and Wehrlein? Wehrlein scored a point in Austria but the car was clearly capable in a race of attrition and I think some of Bottas’ drives in 2014 such as his recovery from seventeenth to second in Silverstone or holding off Hamilton in Germany. I would also argue that his 2016 Canada podium was a better drive too. I am not fond of Bottas driving either as I think he isn’t a super special talent and he has zero personality but Wehrlein hasn’t don’t anything at Manor. Ocon has some potential but he is too inexperienced at this moment.

          7. @lolzerbob Both Wehrlein and Ocon have done quite impress stuff at Manor, and have so in junior categories. With Ocon and Wehrlein you have a potential for more as they are bigger talents. Bottas seemingly hasn’t improved ever since 2014. He should’ve easily had the upper hand over Massa this year.

          8. I think that for now Mercedes would be far more inclined to sign on a driver who can be depended on to be there or there abouts. Has enough experience to be helpfull in car development and does not have a temperament that might risk inner team cohesion.

            All of that mean that going with “more exciting” Ocon or Wehrlein is almost certainly not the best option @xtwl Going with Bottas ticks those boxes however. And I understand that Toto has quite a good opinion of Bottas from when he was still connected to Williams, so giving him a chance to show what he can do might prove to be a great gain for F1.

          9. @bascb I’m quite surprised many think that as soon as Bottas is in a championship winning scenario, or even GP winning scenario he’d remain this cool calm Finn. Bottas is the safest most boring bet Mercedes could now take, and maybe that’s why they’ll take it…

          10. Well, either he does stay his cool calm Finn and can be depended on to rake in solid points, or he will not and we get some excitement from him when he tries to either challenge Hamilton, or he ends up being all over the grid @xtwl.

            Fact remains that Mercedes, and Toto, know him quite well, and that he has far more experience than either Wehrlein or Ocon. I just don’t really see why Mercedes would now take too many risks if they are not going to be able to get the dreamed of Vettel, Alonso or Verstappen into their team.

            Even Button will be tough because of the McLaren contract. In between he has already seen enough of their 2017 challenger that the team will want to hold him to his contract. If he would even want to get back into it, that is.

    2. Which leaves Williams with two rookies, i’d be amazed if Williams went for that.

      I think the best thing for them to do is just stick Wehrlein in the Merc seat, makes the most sense, to me at least. But…
      If the response has indeed been overwhelming, say the likes of Vettel, Alonso, etc then i’d go for Vettel assuming he has an escape clause from Ferrari or Vettel buys out his own contract, if such a thing is possible. A 3 time world champion and a 4 time world champion in equal machinery will be a better spectacle. Alonso, won’t have the same impact.

      1. I adree with you and give pascal a change with a 1 year contract and save on the budget.

        1. problem for web would be Lewis, if Seb is beaten by lewis his career is pretty much over. I know that sounds crazy but since his world titles he has been beaten by Daniel and now been pretty well matched by Kimi who though driving better was destroyed by Alonso.

          It would be a big gamble for Seb, i think Alonso would have more confidence of matching lewis (we all know he can) and it would be his last chance so if he did failed he can just say ‘ well i am getting on a bit, perhaps its time to give up’. Alonso can’t really lose. If he wins he proves to the world what F1 has been missing for the last few years, if he loses he can happily go into retirement.

          1. seb* not web.. we need an edit!

          2. so lewis career is over too when he is beaten by seb?

  7. Montoya :D

    1. I would love to see that one!!

      But I guess they would have to make the cockpit a little bit wider…

  8. I honestly think Button for one year is a serious option, Bottas as well as he is I believe managed by Toto. The other top drivers of the grid are not really something I would put my money on. If it at all it might be Alonso which might as well lead to McLaren being forced to let Button race.

    Webber is a step too far to really think about it.

    BTW why is Lauda not on that list?

    1. Bottas in the Merc. Button in the Williams.

    2. I could see Button going back to Brackley. It gives Mercedes a year to figure out what to do while giving them a solid driver who they know and like. I also don’t think Button is phased by any of Hamilton’s games.

      1. Very well reasoned @prime !

        Not too sure whether the new owners of McLaren would play ball
        as they ( technically ) still have Button tied to a contract. But
        it would be smooth as far as Brackey’s attitude to a known quantity
        ( Button ) is concerned.

        And I do agree that Button would be entirely unphased by Hamilton’s
        game play.

        1. Button signed his option with Ron Dennis…….who is not there now….loyalty now may be questionable

          1. Button has always had a more of an affiliation with the Middle Eastern contingent within McLaren – after all, it was they who kept Button in the seat in 2015 & 2016 when Dennis wanted him out.

    1. Again, wont happen because it leaves, like Williams, high and dry with no experienced driver. Which makes Wehrlein a better proposition unless one of the bigger names can de-complicate their contract situation.

      1. Wehrlein can replace Perez at Force India.

        1. But Perez isn’t just Perez, he come in tandem with a big fat check from his Mexican backers, and they would pull out of FI immediately if he were to move elsewhere, making him probably the most expensive of the current mid-teer options. (Bottas, Hülkenberg, Perez, Grosjean)

          1. I think the Slim family have helped Perez in hopes that his talent which he has can take him the rest of the way.

          2. That really doesn’t matter. If they leave, and they surely have clauses to that effect if we remember the most recent 2017 negotiations, Mercedes would have to compensate FI for the lost revenue.

            And we’re talking real, cash money here, because Ocon already got the other seat on an engine deal. As much as I like Checo, I don’t think he’d be worth that much in points over replacement.

            The Merc was so far ahead of everyone else as of Abu Dhabi that any decent driver could ‘save-hand’ it to 2nd, so Toto and Niki are left with a bit of a binary choice: Go for broke with someone to challenge and beat Hamilton, or the cheapest guy to get within 6 tenths and hope Lewis doesn’t get injured or lost chasing his other interests. (the ’99 scenario)

          3. I don’t see how Perez’s backing is a problem. Will Mercedes have to compensate FI? Probably, but so what? They will get the Slim money for themselves, so they will break even or even make a profit (Slim might fork even more money for a top team). I’m no fan of Pérez and I don’t want to see him in a Merc, but from Mercedes’ point of view, he looks very interesting: Very experienced and talented. Familiar with the engine. Solid number two capable of delivering for the team, but happily not good enough to challenge LH and create another team war. Based on what we know (which, as usual, must only be a fraction of what there actually is), Pérez sounds like the best prospect for Mercedes right now.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th December 2016, 15:00

        In my opinion, Perez doesn’t shine with the fastest car – he shines with the alternative strategy which makes him a less than ideal choice unless Mercedes plans to be lead the midfield next year. In that case, Perez can give them a couple of much needed podiums but if they expect to be a top team they need someone who can deliver. Perez is a golden driver in the 50-100 point range because he can score 15 points in a 1-2 races…

        1. Really?

          1. Perez has never had the fastest car. So how you can say ‘he doesn’t shine with the faster car’ is beyond me.

          2. When he has had a fast car he has delivered so again you point makes 0 sense. He got podiums when the car was quick.

          3. ‘They need someone who can deliver’ – again makes no sense. You’ve literally just said he gets podiums, thats delivering. Meanwhile Hulkenberg never ‘delivers’ as he hasn’t delivered a podium yet.

          4. ‘He shines with the alternate strategy’ – His podiums in Malaysia 2012, Bahrain 2014 and Europe 2016 weren’t with the alternate strategy. Plus this season the only races where he had the alternate stratgy in the dry was Singapore and he has outraced Hulkenberg clearly.

          @freelittlebirds

          1. He had the fastest car in Malaysia 2012 and bottled it. But admittedly he’s come a long way as a driver since then. They could do much worse than Perez, but I’d be disappointed if they don’t plan on having another top tier driver in the car either for 2017 or 2018.

          2. Tommy Scragend
            4th December 2016, 17:07

            He had the fastest car in Malaysia 2012 and bottled it.

            Didn’t the team call him off and tell him to hold second place?

          3. @philipgb

            It wasn’t the fastest car, check Kobayashi’s lap times and you can see it was Perez doing superb. Yes he made a mistake but he still got second and he was very young, just 22. He’s a changed driver anyway and is now consistent and clean.

        2. If you have the fastest car and also the ability to make alternative strategies work it could be a something special. It means Perez is quick yet easy on the car which was a trade mark of greats like Prost. I think you need to give Perez an opportunity mate.

          1. This. If Checo was German, it would be a lock by now. Why the intrigue over sponsorship? I remember the 80’s and 90’s quite well, there is plenty of room for ads on the car.

            He’s fast, better than the most overrated driver on the grid, easy on the car, and is known to get along. Remember that his streak of recklessness in 2013 was thanks to Whitmarsh telling him to be more aggressive. Button is the best choice of the non-Germans, but for any contract longer than a year? Pérez.

          2. @spdoyle17

            Yeah, I never understood McLaren’s strategy in 2013. They had two drivers both with a smooth, kind to tyres driving style and then told him to stick his elbows out like they wanted another Hamilton.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            5th December 2016, 2:22

            @f1fan I disagree on the alternative strategy when it comes to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

            A. They don’t need it

            B. I don’t want to see Checo winning 2-3 races by passing no one because he got on the alternative strategy.

            Malaysia 2012 – Checo to P1 with zero passes.

            God forbid, Checo accidentally wins the championship because Lewis’ car won’t start or is on fire or his engines don’t work… It could happen, trust me:-)

    2. Who is the best Mercedes engine driver after Rosberg and Hamilton this season ?

      Points scorer reliability ?, zero crashes, score in 16 races this season, 1 DNF while running well in the points, 2 podiums and a run of last 10 races all within the points

      Perez wants to be champion, Lewis probably cares more for music and birthday like lifestyle this day. Mercedes want also WCC again.

      Mercedes save money anyway cause champion Rosberg would not have come cheap.
      Force India will be happy with Werhlein and Ocon as it makes them officially a Mercedes jr team sort of like toro Rosso to red bull.

      The issue for me from Perez move is that it would be sad if Mercedes make a “Mclaren performance drop”, Ferrari seat is open in 2018 and he is caught again explaining why a dog car didn’t win.

  9. Pascal Wehrlein…

    I think his 2016 performance was MEGA…and new young talents deserve a shot at top teams

    By the way…for those who say he might be (not mature enough) to join Merc…or (He’ll probably be another Kvyat…) well…Verstappen took his chance with REDBULL and he proved everyone else wrong…so why can’t Wehrlein do exactly the same?

    1. Verstappen proved everyone else wrong before he entered F1 and he proved everyone else wrong before he got promoted to Red Bull and in Red Bull he has proved himself yet again. Its good that you think his performance was mega but people and Mercedes doesnt exactly share that view.

      Who knows, give Kvyat and Wherlain 10 years in F1 and maybe theyll eventually luck into a championship but its not exactl a first pick.

      1. I agree that he is NOT first pick, Wehrlein that is, but for a novice in the f1 racing world, some of the laps he did in qualifying this season would only suggest a big talent…not necessarily Verstappen’s level, but still, very very respectable.

        Also…as a Team principal, wouldn’t you pick someone like him to…say…spare Lewis Hamilton the Headache of having a top level teammate like Alonso or Ricciardo or even Vettel in the same car next season after the heart brake he suffered this season????

    2. unfortunately, Max put a high bench mark for rookies and Ocon beat Werhlein a lot

  10. With Alonso the championship will be exiting.

  11. Whoever Mercedes go for I hope it’s an established driver who will push Hamilton rather than the easy option of a rookie driver who will naturally fall into a number 2/learning role.

    1. Agreed. Usually top tier teams wanted a known quantity in the past with a few exceptions like Lewis.

    2. True, Hamilton won’t perform at 100% unless he’s pushed. However, push him too hard then toys go flying out of the pram. Tough decision for Mercedes.

      1. What toys? Hamilton’s problem is he’s too nice, even when it’s time to speak out. Take Canada 2011. Button pushes Hamilton against the wall and takes him out of the race, effectively stealing the win from him. Any other driver would have punched Button in the face. Hamilton, however, says everything is fine, just a racing incident. Where are the toys?

        1. In an Azerbaijani land fill, by some accounts.

          1. So you think that he was childish in Baku for complaining that his car was failing, yet again? I guess you expected him to stay quiet and cool as he saw the championship taken away from him one technical failure at a time. To each their own, I guess.

  12. I went for Alonso, for the show! Other nice options would be Sainz, Hulkenberg or Ocon. I don’t like the idea of Bottas as I don’t think he’d be a match for Hamilton. I’m surprised there’s votes for Nasr and Raikkonen!

      1. I’m hopeful that in spite of the wording in the article you reference, that does not discount him from taking option three. The first option? That would be a complete reversal of what they have touted throughout the NR/LH rivalry…they are racers and therefore will provide both drivers with equal everything. Taking option one will be a huge turnoff for me.

        The second option? Promote within? Yeah hard to argue there except it would likely also be like option one, except with a ‘natural’ number two as opposed to the designated one as hinted in option one.

        TW and Mercedes have shown themselves to not be afraid to manage tough rivalries for the sake of the sport, and I think that this will be his last best chance to have Alonso on the team if he wants him at all. To sign someone for a year only to turf him for FA for 2018? I don’t know. I highly doubt TW is worried about leaving a team scrambling in December if he poaches one of their drivers…he will be doing that no matter the team.

        I really really hope it’s Alonso for his few remaining years, for the best show, for the best F1 possible. Personally if it’s not Alonso (or Vettel would be fine too) I’ll be pulling for Max at RBR next year.

        1. @robbie Absolutely! I think the original article is in Italian (at least the French version mentioned it). I’d love to see Alonso in a championship and I’d love to see Hamilton vs Alonso but realistically It will probably not be the case. Ocon would be quite exciting but they’ll probably take Werhlein.

  13. I would love to see one of Alonso, Vettel or Perez at the seat.

    Unfortunately, it’s likely to be Bottas as Wolff has hinted. He’s said he is not wanting a top driver next season so that rules out Vettel and Alonso. And he’s said neither Red Bull is available.

    Hulkenberg was approached but Renault said no and Button is unlikely to come put of retirement. Perez sadly hasn’t had any solid rumours yet and Wolff has ruled out Ocon so that leaves two; Bottas and Wehrlein.

    Mercedes have hinted they won’t take a gamble on Wehrlein which is justified as he’s not the real deal and was snubbed by Forcd India and couldn’t even outqualify Haryanto. Bottas would be a boring signing, but is likely to settle for second and his lack of charisma will be good for the team as their will be no rivalry between him and Lewis, unlike Seb or Alonso.

    1. Where does he say he does not want a top driver next year?

  14. Bottas, they need someone fast, reliable and consistent.

    1. I prefer Perez because in my opinion he has proven himself time after time in a car that has less money then the Williams. Having stated that Bottas is also a great choice for that seat.

      Alonso seems to have a solid deal with Honda but who knows what AMG want.

      1. I agree. Perez earnt the most points this season for a Mercedes powered car after Hamilton and Rosberg, so the seat should go to him.

    2. Tommy Scragend
      4th December 2016, 17:09

      Bottas, they need someone fast, reliable and consistent.

      Two out of three ain’t bad…

      1. Rosberg won a title on 2 out of 3

    3. I agree with Bottas, but would also be happy for either Hulkenberg or Sainz. All drivers who’ve proved themselves quick but have never had a chance in a top team (apologies to Williams).

    4. Agreed Bottas – he will score enough points as No.2 to secure the constructors championship. Werhlein or Ocon would put too much pressure on Hamilton to win the constructors championship almost alone.

  15. I hope they go for a star driver for the sake of the sport…

    1. Haha!! he was just talking about retirement. Maybe!

      Rosberg indirectly made F1 exciting with his exit. It’s a nail bitter.

  16. Felix Rosenqvist, fast and young driver. Have been in Mercedes for some years now.

    1. One of the most dominant F3 champions with a huge number of Super License Points who very strangely has been overlooked by F1, mmy-ees. IF Mercedes do look outside current F1 drivers, I’m sure his name is one that will be pretty high on the list – as part of a deal for Bottas (or Perez). After all, Rosenqvist was team mate to Stroll in GP 3 2015 and completely wiped the floor with the Canadian.

  17. And the Ferrari pair know what an affront to their team it would be if word got out that they had tried and failed to jump ship.

    German magazine SPIEGEL quotes Wolff saying that all current F1 drivers but two have called after Rosberg’s announcement, the only exceptions being Räikkönen and Kvyat.
    (Second to last paragraph of this article)

    By the way, I think this poll should be split in two:
    – Who should Mercedes hire as Hamilton’s team mate for 2017?
    – Who will Mercedes hire as Hamilton’s team mate for 2017?

    1. It makes no difference to the driver if he succeeds though. If vettel’s manager is trying to get vettel into the merc then vettel better make sure he has very very good chance of pulling that move off. Because if it fails he might get some negative reaction from ferrari. Ferrari is still more of a person where as the other teams are corporate entities.

      So alonso’s mclaren might understand the alonso’s desire to go to merc. They know they can’t offer to alonso what he wnats. But vettel’s ferrari most certainly would not. Ferrari know what they can offer to vettel. The ferrari. You already have merchionne micromanaging the ferrari race team. He might take it personally if he interprets vettel’s move that vettel is trying to jump ship. At mclaren or any other mid field team only the most utterly prudes would see such ambition from driver as deceiving.

      Vettel’s last season was not that good compared to his team mate. At the moment vettel’s best qualification for ferrari seat is his 4 championships. Even if his latest results are not that good he is a proven race winner and with a dominating car he might increase his game again. But does merc see it that way? If merc don’t see it that way then vettel is not going to merc and ferrari will surely have a chat with vettel.

      1. Seb is famously doing his deals himself, so he doesn’t even need to open his mouth to voice a complaint about his manager. ;)

        Also, with Ferrari playing a bit coy about extending his contract (and the pulling some of that back), he absolutely must be talking to Mercedes (and Ferrari) now, even if his goal were to stay at Ferrari with a nice raise.

      2. It was tongue in cheek comment – goes on to say only because they don not have his number. He also stated 80% of the grid has contacted him – if you take him seriously that means at least four haven’t (meaning 2 plus R & K). I think he was just saying everyone is obviously interested on some level considering they have had the most dominant car in F1 history for the last 3 years….

        What is more worrying is his talk of a dedicated No.2 two driver….

        Maybe they can swap Hamilton out for a 2 for 1 special….. ;-)

  18. I’d love to see alonso grab the seat, but something tells me Wehrlein will take the seat on a one year contract

  19. Mick Schumacher for a Verstappen-Esque move

  20. If Mercedes did not know about Nico’s plan they do have hard decision to make. Granted, the seat appears to be good but on the other hand Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes was considered risky at the time. With new regs everything can change.
    Assuming Merc will be at the sharp end of the grid it would be suicidal move for any other front-end runner/wannabe to let their (contracted!) drivers switch to rival team. Imagine the data which these drivers have in their heads about latest designs. And I’m not talking about amount of money needed to break their contracts.
    As do most people think it seems a little bit to early to choose Ocon or Wehrlein. One also need to take into the account Hamilton’s moods and it really seems he can be tricky and hard teammate from human side of things, especially if teammate is beating him.
    So my vote goes to: Someone outside F1, as a temporary driver for one year. I think Merc would be able to pick anyone experienced from WEC or any other series. Such move would give Merc time to pick the best candidate for current regulation and would give us better image about Ocon/Wehrlein.
    On the side note, I’m curious when will Hamilton end his career in Merc or when Merc will pull the plug – what more they can win in F1? Almost nothing.

  21. As soon as I heard the news, I thought that Toto should try everything to get Alonso. His team need the very best pair of drivers, because they need to dominate the field, and next year might be a more difficult season because of the new regulations. With Fernando, they are guaranteed to have someone who will extract the most out of the cars, who will make few or no mistakes, and who will be as strong (if not stronger) than Lewis. And Fernando should also try everything to join the team, because it might be his last chance to become champion again.

    If that is not possible, then Bottas would be a perfect second choice. Toto knows him from when he was at Williams. He has talent, he can stay for the long term, he has shown consistency. But we don’t really know if he’s going to be as good as Hamilton.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      4th December 2016, 13:18

      I agree, Merc should be concerned about Red Bull next year and need to put the best driver in the car to cover off the threat. It’s Alonso for me

  22. Who should they replace Nico with? clearly Alonso. The best 2 drivers on the grid on the best car, is too tempting.

    Who will they replace Nico with? no idea. I don’t think they’ll promote Ocon or Pascal. Pascal was relegated for a reason, so it makes no sense to give him the hot seat now. Ocon needs more time, even Verstappen got a full year with STR before goign to RBR. Ocon has very few races under his belt.

    I think the safest bet would be on Bottas, because of his ties with Wolff and the possibilities within Williams. Making way for Bottas with a finantial incentive (maybe cheaper deals with the engines), and getting Nasr back on the team doesn’t seem too unrealistic for me. It’s probably more realistic than getting Hulkenberg off his Renault deal, which would leave Renault completely lost.

    Nico Hulkenberg would be a superb replacement for Rosberg. He must be kicking himself, hard. Yet another chance slips away… worst timing ever.

    1. I’d like to see Alonso but it won’t happen.
      1) He has a contract with McLaren so it would cost Merc a fortune to pry him away in addition to 2 huge salaries, 50 or 60 million per year.
      2) Alonso and Hamilton would create even more animosity than Rosberg and Hamilton pairing.

      Merc will do the same as Ferrari in my opinion – hire a good but not great driver such as Rosberg. That will win them another WCC which is all they are interested in.

      1. Oh, you mean the “good not great driver” who beat Lewis Hamilton to the 2016 world drivers championship?

        1. Just a little less good than that ideally.

        2. Lewis had more wins, poles and podiums than rosberg in 2016. Engine failures cost Lewis the title.

          1. 5 Less points cost Lewis the title

    2. Agreed on Hülkenberg, that guy can’t catch a break.

      Estaban Ocon might simply be to tall for the W08, if it was (and why wouldn’t it have been) designed for Nico and Lewis.

    3. I think Bottas to Mercedes, Nasr to Williams.

      Banco do Brasil will stump up the money for the move, despite ending their sponsorship of Nasr. The chance of a bigger move will interest them again. Also Williams’ Martini deal is ending if my memory serves me so they would like a new title sponsor.

  23. I think Bottas is the best realistic option they have, however I’d also like to see Wehrlein in the seat. If he doesn’t match up to Hamilton, he can say “I’m in my first year in a competitive car against a 2 time WDC and one of the best drivers on the grid”. If he does match up to him, he can say the same thing with an added “and look at me, I was better than him.”

    1. If Pascal called Lewis a 2-time WDC, he’d never live it down with the British contingent. ;)

  24. I think realistically it should be Wehrlein. It makes sense for so many reasons. Quite frankly by now, if he’s a promising talent for the future he should be up to it. Hamilton coped being dropped in at the deep end, Vettel got the job done in 2009, and Verstappen has flourished with his promotion. Elite drivers step up when the opportunity arises so if Wehrlein is of that calibre then he should as well. If he isn’t they can stop wasting time on him.

    He’ll also be cheap, way cheaper than any other driver even before you consider contract buyouts, other drivers will also want multi-year contracts, Wehrlein won’t have any choice but a single season contract which opens the door wide for their 2018 choice should he not prove worthy.

    I don’t see Bottas making sense, not unless the people with access to the data know something we don’t see as fans. He doesn’t seem to be at the Hamilton/Alonso level to make him a sure potential lead driver, but he would surely demand a multiyear contract. And having gone from a driver that can trouble Hamilton in qualifying and races with Rosberg, I don’t think a second tier driver is acceptable with the potential threat from Red Bull with their lineup.

    1. Agreed.

      Two records might fall if Pascal is hired next year: record number of wins for a driver in a season and record number of second places! But I think Mercedes could easily win the Constructors title with Lewis and Pascal. He’s been in the pack racing all year long – and who would put pressure on him if he’s beaten by Lewis?

      Personally I’d be way more excited with Perez or Hulk – but I bet it won’t happen.

  25. I think it’s a matter of what the sport wants to see vs what Mercedes would want for themselves. We’d like to see someone who can challenge Lewis Hamilton week in week out and history suggests the only guys who can do that are Alonso and Vettel. A rookie would be as many of you said too straightforward for Hamilton. Alonso would probably be too much for Mercedes to manage alongside Hamilton. The established, solid drivers including Bottas, Perez, Hulkenberg, Sainz (if he can be extracted from his contract) or even Grosjean, let’s not forget would be good enough for Mercedes. Raikkonen would be a very long shot and that’s probably not going to happen.

  26. I haven’t seen this one mentioned yet and it may not have crossed Toto’s mind but I think the best pick would be Gutierrez. Yes, I’m perfectly well aware that the readership here has no time for him but he’s proved this year that he’s as quick as Grosjean and is much steadier and reliable. Plus he’s available. He won’t be any competition for Hamilton but neither will anyone except Verstappen and it may be that Toto will be happy to have a break from the constant driver in-fighting that has become the norm at Mercedes. Gutierrez is quick enough to bring home plenty of points (he might not finish second every time but Hamilton could probably win the constructor’s title for Merc on his own anyway). And Esteban is not going to be attacking the scenery at every opprtunity, as could well be the case with the much-favoured and over-rated rookies so often mentioned. My vote goes to him…

    1. With the whole field of drivers to pick from you think mercedes would pick esteban gutierrez?? lol

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      5th December 2016, 2:09

      @clive-allen the reasoning is sound but that seat is simply too good for Esteban. Imagine if he wins 2-3 GPs due to reliability issues. Can you imagine Alonso or other drivers like Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Perez, Bottas who haven’t won and were never given that chance?

      1. It all depends on what Mercedes want from next year. If they want to throw huge amounts of money at McLaren (and I’m sure they don’t), they could maybe get Alonso. I can’t believe they want a string of second places that badly. To pay nearly as much for other contracted drivers who won’t be as reliable second place finishers seems just as extravagant to me. No, much better to keep all that money for car development and slot in one of the cheap and immediately available options. Which probably means Wehrlein. It’s just that I think Gutierrez is a better choice, being more experienced, steady and proven to be quick enough. And the “value of the seat” argument applies just as much to Wehrlein and Ocon.

        As for how the rest would feel, they should be pretty good at accepting their lot by now – most of them have missed plenty of good chances in the past. It would only be for a year, after all, and they’ll all have a chance to send in the CV again.

  27. If I was in Toto’s seat I would go full-blooded for Sainz. Sure RB will not like it, but it is a win-win situation for Mercedes. Either they succeed in poaching one of the most promising drivers from their main opponents, either RB block it and that will make Sainz very unhappy with them, making it much more probable that he will leave them in the future. Sainz has made clear that he is dying to drive for a top team. If he has to do one more year in a Toro Rosso while a seat was available for him at Mercedes, he won’t like it one bit.

    A second choice is much harder to do. All options have their pluses and minuses. As for Ricciardo or Verstappen, not only RB would try to block it, but I don’t think the guys themselves would like to move. I’d have Vettel over Alonso because he is younger, but IMHO a one-year deal with someone with potential like Wehrlein or Ocon would make just as much sense. Or Perez, who could well prove just as good as Vettel or Alonso for much less money.

    1. Red Bull didn’t let Carlos go to their own engine partner Renault, what makes you think they’d change their minds if Toto called? And 2018 is a different game altogether, with all three remaining WDCs out of contract as well as some of the riffraff. ;)

      1. Carlos could probably easily get over not being able to join Renault. If he is somehow blocked from joining Mercedes, he will be disgusted. It might very well happen, but it would not be a happy situation for Red Bull.

      2. Isn’t it ironic that Red Bull argued strenuously last year that engine manufacturers should be willing to supply any team that wants their motors, even if it creates a threat to the OEM’s race team, and yet does not think RBR should should have to release one of its drivers

  28. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    4th December 2016, 14:08

    I feel far too many people underrate Bottas. He may be boring but he is quite easily the most solid and experienced driver out of the ones Mercedes could go for. Bottas seems to make less mistakes than almost all other drivers on the grid. He often doesn’t look that exiting to watch but his very solid and consistent driving style would bring many points, even if he isn’t at Hamilton’s level. A driver like Perez, he has certainly got better but I still wouldn’t say he is a solid as Bottas. He has more spectacular moments but also makes more mistakes. Hulkenberg has gone downhill IMO. In the past couple of years, Perez has beaten him and while he has had bad luck, he has made quite a lot of errors and isn’t as consistent as he used to be.

    I know Wherlein is a very likely choice as he is very close to Mercedes but even if people think he is better than Bottas (which I don’t) he really could do with moving to a slightly better team first before going to Mercedes. If Bottas went to Mercedes, there is no doubt he would do a solid job even if it wasn’t interesting towatch. But he’s good at being consistent as I said and that could be exactly what Mecedes are looking for. Wherlien could then move up to Williams. Then Mercedes can be keeping a close eye on his performance for the future. Most will probably disagree with me here but if Verstappen was available, I still think Bottas would be a better choise. Verstappen may be incredible at times but he has too many messy weekends. Just remember Monaco both this year and last. He’s made a bad job of several oteher races too. Mercedes will probably want his consistency to improve before they would consider him. It is better to have 2 drivers in a team with a very different driving style. Bottas being a non agressive driver could well result in less clashes than Hamilton and Rosberg have had. I have a feeling that if Verstappen went to Mercedes, Hamilton and him having a similar stype will somehow not work out well some of the time.
    There are other drivers on the grid that certainly would be a better choise than Bottas but I won’t bother mentioning them as I can’t see how it would be possible for Mercedes to get hold of them. Either that or is is extremely unlikely that they will.

    1. Well put. I agree and I’m quite certain Bottas is the driver Mercedes will sign. He is a shoo in for me.

  29. I think Pascal would be in Mercedes best interests. He has driven thousands of miles on their simulator, and likely has some access to data on the 2017 car. Not only that but he’s one of the few drivers around who would be willing to play second fiddle to Lewis, and after four seasons a fractious relations between teammates, this is the sort of haven Toto and the Mercedes board have been dreaming of.

    Lets remember that Pascal’s a decent driver who’s outpaced his teammates, and he crucially offers Mercedes a better long term prospect. Alonso may only have two seasons or so left, and Hamilton may depart if the the car’s not contending for the championship. Where would that leave Mercedes? I say take Pascal, because he’s got talent, is a better long term option and likely won’t start a civil war with his teammate.

  30. Mercedes is all about maximizing all areas, so no doubt they will look for a top deliverer. And as Wolff well said during both Hamilton and Rosberg’s contract talks, should they fail, Alonso would be the obvious alternative. He likes the Spaniard’s character and rate him highly.

    Ecclestone will no doubt want to see that happen as well for the publicity it will give, so as I see it really only comes down to whether McLaren will let him go as I believe he has no opt-out clause in his contract. Luckily for him, Dennis is no longer there or it could have been impossible. Capito will probably realize with no main sponsor on the horizon to lure with a headliner name, that they might as well save some money and get a youngster or even Button back.

    1. So did Ron Dennis in 2007

  31. I think they will settle for Bottas as he is the safest bet among the easier and cheaper to obtain deals on the table. It will be a one year contract.

    I can be sure of one thing though, they will be so glad they have Hamilton next year if the new rules swing the pendulum towards Red Bull. They will need Hamilton at the top of his game to bring them the constructors title if that is the case. Imagine if Verstappen is driving the fastest car next year. 2017 is looking very exciting!

    1. Getting Bottas wouldn’t be cheap. Williams will be relying heavily on Bottas in 2017, replacing him would be very difficult for Williams.

  32. Why is Pastor Maldonado not on this list? The only race winner that is not under contract.

    1. Exactly, Venezuela only just started to bring larger-denomination notes into circulation because of its run-away inflation, just add more zeros until *booom* the second Merc goes to Pastor. :D

  33. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    4th December 2016, 14:37

    I really, really, really do not understand the whole Alonso to Mercedes movement. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Alonso is in the twilight of his career and realistically is going to stay on at McLaren for one, maybe two years at best. Is Mercedes really going to pay $30+ Million to get Alonso for 2017? Is Mercedes really going to bring in a driver that has has issues being teammates with their cash-cow, Hamilton? Is Alonso really going to be okay with being given equal treatment as his teammate? Mercedes has always played relatively fair with Lewis & Nico, something I don’t see Alonso too keen on doing. Is Mercedes really going to risk a relationship between their two drivers that could potentially be even more toxic than the Lewis/Nico feud was? I doubt it. I doubt all of it. None of it makes sense, or even feels right. It doesn’t even intrigue me to see them paired up.

    The most realistic option is to fill the 2017 void with someone like Ocon or Pascal, if they can’t get Hulkenberg or Bottas, and then hope to snatch a RB driver after 2017. I think Mercedes would be keen to have either Ricciardo or Verstappen, and I think Ricciardo or Verstappen would be keen to drive a Mercedes, unless their 2017 car is an absolute dog, which I doubt.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th December 2016, 14:44

      @braketurnaccelerate I agree and I said as much on another page. Alonso was desperate for a championship at Ferrari – you saw how he drove against Massa, his old teammate at Austin.

      1. I disagree. It is because FA only has a small number of years (the number still up in the air) that I think Toto should snatch him up if he can. Pay Alonso? Why not? They were going to pay a driver anyway, why not him? And he may offer to drive for free if they just buy him out of his Mac deal.

        You ask if Alonso is really going to accept equal treatment? Of course he is, no question. That’s all he was asking for when the two were together at Mac. More toxic than childhood friends? Doubt it. Even if it is? So what. All eyes will be on Mercedes.

        Anyway, just for me personally, if Mercedes wants to keep my eyes on them it’s got to be FA or SV if at all possible. Gifting LH an unproven underling will be a turnoff and my attention will go to Max at RBR, which has already begun anyway, I’m sure not just for me.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          4th December 2016, 18:23

          I don’t think FA would be too concerned about a big money paycheque if he has a chance at fighting for the title

  34. I voted for Rio, he was on 0% now he’s on 1%. It’s the little things that lead to big changes, perhaps I’ve set the wheels in motion on another big surprise.

  35. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    4th December 2016, 14:40

    Who is going to sign for a one year contract knowing that they are almost certainly going to be replaced by Vettel in 2018? Only the desperate. Three drivers who are definitely available and almost certainly willing, are: Gutierrez, Wehrlein and Nasr. Gutierrez is too wild, so that leaves two. Wehrlein has shown flashes of brilliance, but his confidence might be destroyed if he goes against Hamilton, it could ruin his career. Nasr would be the safe choice as the team doesn’t really care about his future.

    My guess is that in 2018 Mercedes will have stiff competition from Red Bull and possibly from McLaren too. If McLaren looks in good shape, Hamilton will jump ship: Mercedes has messed him around in 2016 and he’s going to remember that when his contract comes up for renewal. Therefore we might see this merry-go-round repeated in 12 months.

  36. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    4th December 2016, 14:40

    I’d love it to be Alonso but let’s face it, if they don’t use a junior driver what’s the point in having them. If they believe they’ve found the next Lewis or Max then age and experience shouldn’t matter. If they haven’t found that then what’s the point having them? Also the new regs will create a bit of a blank slate so a good opportunity for a youngster. A little like Lewis on the new tyres for 07.

  37. Easy. Button🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

  38. I would rather Merc take an experienced drive because Wehrlein and ocon aren’t proven and I don’t want Hamilton to walk away with the title against an inexperienced driver

    1. I don’t want that either, but they need to find out sooner or later if Wehrlein is a Hamilton challenger. He’s had long enough to get up to speed now, he is either the type of driver that can cope being thrown in the deep end like that or they need to cut him loose because he’s not the next top driver.

      Give him next season with the expectation he should find his feet by the summer break, and if he isn’t on terms with Hamilton at least to the level Rosberg was then they should cut him loose and start looking elsewhere.

  39. If you want to fill the seat for one season with an experienced, safe pair of hands that will get on with the team, with Lewis and bring home a reliable second to HAM, then why not Paul di Resta?

    1. Hard to believe out of all these comments, Di Resta has only been mentioned twice (well 3 times now). He is already a Mercedes driver, has plenty of f1 experience, and would probably be happy with a clear number 2 position in the team. His simulator work with Williams will have kept him up to date with the current f1 technology too. For Mercedes he would be the cheapest, safest choice.

  40. I think Bottas is the best available choice, but only if he has a get-out clause in his contract (I’ve heard some rumours he has). Williams can be sticklers for contracts and I don’t think it would be worth fighting them over it, especially considering it leaves them somewhat short on driver talent. If they do get Bottas it would probably be worth giving him a multi-year contract.

    If that’s not an option then I would choose between Ocon and Wehrlein. My choice would be Ocon as he seems less likely to grate with Hamilton, but Wehrlein has the pluses of not having a new contract to break, and nationality. Either of these would be a one year contract with an option to extend.

    1. Williams insisted Valtteri stay on when Renault tried to poach him earlier, and the Strolls are probably providing enough financial support to make him a rather expensive if not impossible option.

      1. @proesterchen
        Yes, but with Toto being his agent he might have an option to leave if Mercedes make an offer. Can’t say how likely this is, as I say just a rumour I’ve heard floating around.

  41. Went with Vettel on this one, would be nice to see him have a go against Hamilton.

    But realistically, I’m surprised if Wehrlein or Ocon doesn’t get the seat.

  42. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th December 2016, 15:06

    In my opinion the choice is simple – Nico Hulkenberg

    As fast as Nico Rosberg on 1 lap and with a pedigree that matches Hamilton’s and Vettel’s:

    2005 – Formula BMW ADAC (20 races)
    2006 – A1 Grand Prix (20 races)
    2008 – Formula 3 Euro Series (20 races)
    2009 – GP2 Series (20 races)
    2015 – 24 Hours of Le Mans

    There’s no driver more deserving of a win and championship in F1 right now.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      4th December 2016, 15:31

      Good point. Although Perez got the better of him this year I do feel Hulkenberg’s heart wasn’t in it. When Renault announced him he raised his game again.

      1. I’d like to see the Hulk in a Merc as well, but Toto does not seem to be a fan of him.

        1. @coldfly actually Bild reported Toto would meet Renault this week to discuss Hulk

    2. That was the feeling most of us had after his giant-killing performances in the Sauber in 2013, but then he had 3 years getting out-raced by Perez. Its possible that the Pirelli’s are hurting his style a bit, but he appears to be just not quite in that top league, I’m afraid.

    3. @freelittlebirds

      Having a good junior career is all well and good, but you need to deliver in F1 and he hasn’t. The last two years we make or break for his career if he deserved a top team drive and he botched them and was beaten by Perez in both. He is quick over one lap but he struggled under pressure and that shows with his 0 podiums.

      No doubting he is a good driver, but IMO he hasn’t delivered when he has needed to unfortunately.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        4th December 2016, 16:08

        @gitanes @lolzerbob
        Excellent points – Perez is ideal for Force India and the team is aware of it. They will never find a better driver unless Hamilton moves and even the alternative strategy is much safer (fall to the back with no one around) and will benefit Perez. Pace requires you to be up front and pass faster cars which is hard to do and Nico even passed a Merc this year at Monaco.

        The new car suits Perez but Nico still got the upper hand in the end of 2016. If you recall, Nico had outqualified Perez 80% last year. That’s what champions do – they are fast in cars that don’t suit them.

        Perez actually underperformed this year given the fact that the car suited him. He should have beaten Nico 80% in quali like Nico would have and did at the end.

        1. @freelittlebirds

          How does the car suit Perez? That’s not even true. 80 percent in quali isn’t true either, it was 11-8 in 2015 and 12-9 in 2016. Also Perez is the one who has overtaken Hulkenberg before, recall Bahrain 2014?

          1. Kevin that last race this year it seemed like Perez did not care to fight Hulk and just let him lead or something. Either way it was about points there.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th December 2016, 16:50

            @lolzerbob It was 80% until the VJM08b came around and there was a obvious differential immediately after that. I imagine Perez’s sponsors paid for the improvements in the 08b as the owner was having legal difficulties to put it mildly.

            It’s very impressive that Nico got on top of Perez at the end of 2016.

        2. The same could be said when in 2013 the McLaren suited JB and Perez out qualified JB but hey no one seems to care about that now.

        3. Michael: Hulk on top of Perez 2016?? Don’t understand. If you check the Driver Standings Perez has more points then Hulk. Those points are what most people go by. Your hung up on qualifying and leading a few races I guess.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th December 2016, 17:30

            At FI Perez scored more and would have outscored probably any driver in F1 but at Mercedes it’s about pace and front racing. That’s not Perez’s forte. There is a tiny window where he might do better than the pace drivers but it assumes that Mercedes falls back to 2nd or 3rd in the champion ship. There is no way they are planning for that.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th December 2016, 17:31

            Vergne is a good choice for Force India to partner Perez. Very solid racer with a lot of similarities to Perez.

        4. Michael: I see you like to dance to beat of your own Drum. Good luck with that!!!

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th December 2016, 17:49

            If you believe that racing for all teams is identical then you’re right – midfield racing is not the same as front racing – Perez proved that along with Ricciardo who was pretty bad at TR

          2. @freelittlebirds

            This is hilarious. So apparently Perez has proven that ‘midfield racing isn’t the same as front racing’. What on earth are you on about! Perez hasn’t raced in a godamn frontrunning car so how he has proven anything is crazy. The only thing this proves is your bias against him.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            4th December 2016, 20:19

            @lolzerbob I actually like Perez – I think he’s the best driver for Force India… But he simply ain’t as fast as Nico Hulkenberg. Nico is capable of almost reaching podium and taking pole…on pace.

            Force India unfortunately have no idea how to race Nico when he’s close to the front – they’ve screwed his chances up many times.

            Checo is capable of getting the podium through alternative strategy which is a golden strategy for midfielders – you fall back steer clear of everyone and get on a podium… Now I’ve simplified it because Checo is the only one who can do that with 25% chance or so and that’s really an amazing skill he has and by far his most bankable skill.

            Actually, the best option for Checo is Williams because he can get to P2 and perhaps P1 if all stars align… He’s capable of the unlikeliest of wins under the right circumstances.

    4. Hulk crashes to much, is not reliable, he still has ton of racing experience to get, he throw away a ton of points this year, and also in other years great opportunities wasted besides he has a podium damnation.

      Perez never looses a chance he is obviously the most solid driver of this too

  43. Sainz, old enough to have a couple seasons of experience but young enough to still have a point to prove. Plus Horner can’t guarantee him a red bull drive without getting rid of Ricciardo or verstappen, which I doubt he would do. But Sainz moving would free up a seat for gasly.

  44. Each of these fine drivers is signed to the other team, meaning Mercedes has to pay out for him. Larger names, like Alonso or Vettel will cost fortune to Mercedes, while some “smaller” drivers, like Wehrlein or Ocon are much “cheaper”, also their teams are Mercedes customers, which means they may be willing to swap driver for a better engine deal.

  45. I think the most interesting question is not who they will hire but will the new driver get Nico’s engineers ? If that happens and Hamilton has the same ‘luck’ as this year then Merc will loose another top draw driver.

  46. If Mercedes want a driver only for 2017, I think Gutierrez is a good choice.

    1. #11 Gutierrez?
      Is this a serious suggestion?

  47. Keith chose not to include him as a choice, but I think it would be a good idea to lure Button out of his ‘retirement’ for a one year deal. The idea of tasting the joys of the podium again (regularly, and probably even with some wins to add to his tally) may well appeal to him, and he is nothing if not a reliable and safe pair of hands. Also, he and Lewis seem to get on well, and there would likely be a refreshing lack of drama for Toto and Co. to cope with over the season. I haven’t yet seen anywhere if Jenson himself has weighed in on the subject, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him emerge as a choice.

  48. Wolff made the statement “we will go get Alonso” when Rosberg negotiations weren’t going well. Maybe he was just blowing smoke.

  49. Jenson and Hamilton for a year then Fernando & Sebastian for 2018 onwards

  50. Easy choice – I think the most simple choice is Wehrlein. Give him a chance for one year and if he messes up then they can easily replace him with one of the top drivers who are out of contract at the end of 2017.

    Best choice – Bottas. Fast and reliable. I think he would work well with Hamilton. He might be easier and cheaper to extract from his contract than the likes of Alonso, Vettel or Verstappen.

    Long shot choice – Button for one year then try to poach one of the top drivers. In a top car I am sure his motivation would return with the chance to win races. A known quantity and they know he gets on with Lewis. Trouble is I don’t think he will necessarily be interested. Before this news seemed like a man who was happy to take a year off if not move onto something different.

  51. Adrian Sutil is the man for the job, he’s German and a friend of Lewis.

    1. Yes, perfect, just make sure there are only plastic glasses around.

      :D

  52. If they could hire anybody:
    Verstappen (confirmed by Max himself): proven talent and the future of F1.
    But Verstappen and Ricciardo are unlikely to accept a Mercedes offer.

    Of the remainder:
    1) Alonso: still (one of) the best drivers on the grid; has proven to be always motivated, and deserves another chance at the big drivers prize;
    2) Vettel: also a very good driver, and seemed to be the next Schumacher. Just a bit disappointing that ‘when the going gets tuff, Vettel seems to be gone’ (RBR 2014, SF 2016)
    3) Sainz: he has proven to be immensely talented, never far behind Verstappen, en swiped the floor with Kvyat during most of this season.
    4) Bottas: not very strong this year, and unless he is a major (re)surprise he would only be a gap fill until ALO/VET arrives
    5) Wehrlein: probably just a ‘seat warmer’.

    1. would be rather stupid to change from RBR to MERC.
      i think with adrian newey in the team and Renault building a brand new -more powerful- ICE, i think RBR will be on top of the podium next year

    2. 3) Sainz: he has proven to be immensely talented, never far behind Verstappen, en swiped the floor with Kvyat during most of this season.

      Not really. Kvyat was most with technical and mechanical failures this year. So as much last, yet he outperfomed Ricciardo almost every race with, if no mechanical failures, so as championship.

  53. Alexander Rossi or Robert Wickens.

  54. Just read that Mercedes requested to buy Hulk out of his contract but Renault denied. Sad news.

    1. Where? This is hot news if true.

  55. I really can’t see them promoting Wehrlein. Is a driver overlooked by Force India good enough and ready enough for Mercedes? He apparently has some attitude problems too.

    My money is on Bottas. The least disruptive driver on the grid who is a safe pair of hands. Not a spectacular driver and nowhere near aggressive enough to ever be a champion but a decent no.2 for a one year deal to see how he performs and if other options become available then if he isn’t up to scratch.

    But the last thing Mercedes want is the aggro the Hamilton-Rosberg partnership brought, again. They won’t be looking for Alonso or Vettel for next season for sure. They want the results without the pressure that such a lineup would bring.

  56. Mercedes should hire Stig.

    On a serious note, Alonso. If Mercedes wants to be the team that can be talked about and also win the constructors.

    It will further put a dent on Mclaren which means 1 less rival. Also to challenge Redbull they need podiums and only Alonso is capable of delivering those results.

  57. Personally I’d like to see Vettel in the other car. That would be a straight match between two multiple champions of the same age, more or less, and both famously fast.

    More likely is Bottas, I think. But Alonso, I imagine, maybe wrongly, will be using every possible power available to him to get the seat. It’s a one-off chance for him to finish a fading brilliant career on a high. That will depend on his powers of persuasion.

  58. Alonso or Button would be a dream come true while Wehrlein or Hülkenberg would be reason enough to really hope for a Red Bull dominance next year, my sensible choice would be Sergio Perez. The guy has grown up a lot and is now ready for a top team.

  59. When will they need to finalize this decision, I mean it has to be pretty soon as testing will come up pretty fast. ???

    1. Testing starts in February, so they have the rest of this year at least to sort something out! Apparently Lauda said they want someone in the other seat by the end of this month. Someone going to have a great Christmas. :-D

    2. It’s not unusual for drivers to be announced pretty much at the start of testing, although that’s more often for teams who are more interested in the money they bring. As it’s almost guaranteed to be a current F1 driver, it shouldn’t make much difference.

  60. As Red Bull won’t let any of its drivers go, obviously Alonso or Vettel would be the most exciting prospect, but I very much doubt that either would want to try to step out of their contracts especially as they know the plans for next year’s McLaren/Ferrari, even if they’d leave their current seats,. A more logical solution would be someone of a Bottas/Hülkenberg/Perez’s caliber, but as they just signed a new contract, they are also very unlikely to leave, as much as they would relish the opportunity. So that doesn’t leave many drivers left… The non-Mercedes related drivers without a contract aren’t at the level of a top drive, so they are out of the question. Non-F1 drivers likewise, even from their DTM roster I think, but it would be great to see Merc go for somebody like Robin Frijns.
    (Toto’s comments from earlier today also suggest that Alonso, Vettel and Bottas are ruled out, and Renault apparently blocked Merc for Hülkenberg)

    Wehrlein or Ocon then. Ocon is one of the most exciting talents in my eye, and it would be great to see him fighting against Max at the front of F1 after their F3 rivalry two years ago, but I’m afraid that his Force India contract will just complicate things. Wehrlein remains as the most likely choice. He’s probably at a similar level to Ocon in speed, so there wouldn’t be a big problem with that, his biggest problem is his hot-headedness sometimes, and as was pointed out recently somewhere on this site, that’s why Force India wouldn’t go for him, but we don’t know if Mercedes can gloss over that. What might be his luck is if Force India doesn’t want him in place of Ocon, and then Merc will ‘have to’ put him in the big team.

    So I think one of the Merc juniors is the most likely to get the seat. Personally I’d take Ocon as the driver with more potential, but it will be a close call between them.

    1. Another question is whether they are looking for a one year solution only with a top signing in sight for 2018, which could strengthen Wehrlein’s chance, or looking for a long project with the youngsters, and who knows which of them comes first.

  61. Rosenqvist!

    Alredy mercedesdriver and it wold be the same as before, HAM and ROS… in mercedes…

  62. I would like to see the best all-round driver in one of the best cars next year: Alonso. I want him to show once again what he can do with great machinery. It is such a shame for such a magnificent driver to be struggling around in a car that still needs a lot of development. He is already 35 and I’d like to see him get 2 or 3 more titles.

  63. Kamui Kobayashi please….if not Pascal Wehrlein…..

    1. Kamui in a Merc would be glorious.

  64. Would be lovely to see Kubica taking it. I know it doesn’t make any sense. Just F1 was robbed of his talent before he really exploited it.

    1. He could still get p2 one handed in that car….

  65. It will be Wehrlein (likely) or somebody not in F1 this year but with fairly recent experience e.g. Maldonado, Kobayashi, Sutil, di Resta (not likely) because nobody else is readily available without it being expensive.

  66. Button. :)

  67. People fantasies doesn’t count for being real chances. The real chances are drivers without contract, because Mercedes isn’t going to pay money for get a driver.
    So Alonso out (contract, plus 35 million euros salary, and bad relationship with Hamilton), Red Bull out (multiyear contract), Toro Rosso out (multiyear contract). Hulkenberg (just sign contract, so should be impossible too).
    Realistic: Wehrlein (80% chances today), Ocon (10% chances), Bottas (hard to say because under williams contract but may be they can get it with some type of thing).

    So the real candidates are Wehrlein, Ocon, Bottas, choose one of this, and done. The best option was Hulkenberg but its dissapointing he cames always late by bad luck (late to Ferrari, late to Mercedes).
    And the obvious choice will be Wehrlein, plus they already test him and is german. So he will be the chosen.

  68. Perez is my top pick. 2013 was a bad year for him but he has clearly improved enough to warrant another shot at the top. He has delivered podiums.

    Bottas is a good choice given how well he has done compared to Massa. The car wasn’t as capable of podiums now than it was in 2014, but he is fast and reliable.

    I don’t see Wehrlein or Ocon getting the seat, because they lack experience. I think they’ll get either Perez’s or Bottas’s seat if they leave.

  69. Bernie wants Alonso. Or Vettel.
    Fans want their driver, no matter what as the discussion above about the choice of the word “should” shows – Mercedes *should* hire their favourite driver.
    Mercedes want the CWC plus a quiet, happy garage as well as no more conspiracy theories every time Hamilton doesn’t outshine everyone else, even if it’s only FP1.
    The team whose contracted driver is nabbed will want a suitable, experienced driver as part of any deal to release their designated #1 for 2017. A deal becomes very much easier with Mercedes engines at cut price.
    Because the regs change for next year, a year dominated by Mercedes is not something written in stone, hence no place for the likes of Wehrlein, Ocon etc.

    This leaves us with Bottas or Perez as the most likely candidates, none of whom would challenge Hamilton (to Bernie’s disgust) but can be counted on to deliver enough points for Merc to secure the CWC. The problem is who will Merc offer as a replacement team leader to Williams/FI???

    When all is said and done, the only ‘available’ driver to answer Mercedes’ requirements without causing all sorts of negotiations nightmares is Jenson Button (provided he’s willing) or to persuade both Massa and Williams that it’s a match made in heaven with Merc engines at a very substantial reduction. My guess: Merc will approach Button first, then try for Bottas and persuade Massa to stay on as Stroll’s partner with Merc engines for free as part of the deal with Williams.

    1. Nice summary. I would be surprised if they didn’t approach Button, he’s a very solid driver, fantastic for sponsors and fans, very amicable. I can’t see conspiracies starting again with him in the team.

      He’s a great match, but there’s two issues. Would he want to do it? And even if he did, that leaves Mercedes without a German driver.

    2. OK, if it’s should for Mercedes, I think it should be Vettel. German, fast, a proven champion, and some guaranteed epic showdowns still should Mercedes be ahead again, a winner (like Hamilton obviously) if they are level or slightly behind. A 4-times champion against a 3-times champion, both in their prime would be real box office that F1 needs. And I think the team politics would be a lot easier than, say, Alonso or Verstappen, or even Ricciardo, alongside Hamilton.

    3. Fans want their driver, no matter what as the discussion above about the choice of the word “should” shows – Mercedes *should* hire their favourite driver.

      My favourite driver is Valtteri Bottas but I voted for Pascal Wehrlein. I’m assuming that it would be impossible or prohibitively expensive for Mercedes to get any of the established top drivers – Verstappen, Ricciardo, Vettel and Alonso – or either of the Toro Rosso drivers. They could take someone from the midfield who has shown promise, like Bottas, Hülkenberg or Pérez, none of whom would be a bad choice, but Mercedes would still have to compensate the team they’d be leaving. Those drivers might also not be happy with a one-year contract, whereas Wehrlein almost certainly would be. He would give Mercedes the flexibility to go after one of those big names for 2018 and beyond, or, if he turns out to be faster than expected, they could keep him on. That would send a positive message to the other young drivers associated with Mercedes that the team will give them a chance if they’re good enough.

      Of course, that’s all assuming that Mercedes are in the hunt for both championships next year, which is likely, but you never know. I’d be surprised, but impressed, if they were to make a really bold move now instead of waiting a year.

  70. Please, please, please, please let it be Alonso.

  71. One thought, many people are saying Mercedes should wait a year to hire a top shelf driver. What if they are only second or maybe even third in the Constructors pecking order at the end of the 2017 season? With new regs this is within the realm of possibility. The demand for their open seat may never be higher than it is right now. Should they cash in on that now to go all out for the top driver of their choice no matter what it takes, or take a chance and wait?

  72. Ocon. For the simple reason he’s the future. Possible, even probable future world champion. Easy.

  73. Here are the following drivers should drive for Mercedes:
    Pascal Wehrlein
    Max Verstapen
    Fernando Alonso
    Jenson Button?

  74. JENSON BUTTON!!!!!!!!

  75. Jimmy Johnson

  76. Voted Bottas. He’s the most easily available of the valid options, and he deserves a chance to prove himself at a top team. He’s also a very safe choice for points in WCC, and won’t get into any personality struggle with Hamilton. If he swims at the deep end good, and if he sinks, there’s always an option to replace him for 2018 when more drivers will be available.

    Neither Ocon nor Wehrlein I feel have done enough yet to earn a promotion to a top team. That’s not to say they’ve been bad or even mediocre, no, they did great, just not great enough yet for this. Hulk, would be a cool choice but I don’t think it’s possible

  77. Most sensible choices:
    1. Ocon
    2. Wehrlein
    Develop young talent while Hamilton is still there. See what either one of these talented young drivers can do. Less contract cost now. More upside investing in the future. Either of these two drivers seem to be the most likely choice.

    More established choices:
    1.Bottas
    2. Sainz
    Bottas probably has the most upside for maximum points in 2017 for Merc and probably a doable contract. Sainz would be harder to get contract-wise and not as much of a known quantity as Bottas, but still more experience than Ocon or Wehrlein.

    Semi-realistic wildcard choices:
    1. Button
    2. Hulkenberg
    Both questionable regarding current contractual obligations.

    Extreme wildcard choices: (in no particular order)
    Alonso, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen
    Can’t see any of these guys overcoming contractual obligations to move to Merc. Although, stranger things have happened. Like, Rosberg retiring for example.

    My choice:
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    Why not? Talent is talent. He could still do it. I would love to see this happen!

    1. I say JPM too.
      And he’s available.

    2. I’d like to see PM to see him trounced every race by Hamilton. That would be epic!

      1. In an equal car? You best lay off the mushrooms.

  78. Went with max!!! All things being equal he is young, mega fast and doent know when to quit. Think he will cost them too much in a release fee.

  79. If Bottas gets the Mercedes seat (given his connection with Wolff), who would replace him?

    1. @mbr-9 Unfortunately Nasr or Guti.

  80. Merc cannot take a risk on a young name…they need someone who can score points for the coveted constructors trophy……Alonso possible available for Rosberg money…think the seat is worth more to him than mega bucks now
    Button could do a year…that would motivate him again…
    ..and how about Ferrari letting Vettel go and replacing him with a driver who has never raced a F1…..well nothing else they do makes any sense….exciting times though for us..

  81. I think Button would be perfect, but this is depending on if he wants to do another year in F1. He said he didn’t, but for Mercedes and a possibility of more victories, or even a world championship.
    He would be a perfect fit with Mercedes. His contract would be fairly cheap to buy out compared to Alonso’s and Vettel’s, and he is proven to be a great driver.
    In 2018, Mercedes could then replace him with either Alonso, Riccardo, or Vettel.

  82. I hope they hire somebody who will give us some good juicy action! So, not Perez, he is about as inspiring as the predecessor.
    Sainz, Ricciardo or Alonso would be magic but 1. why would Mercedes go to all the hassle and cost of getting them out of their existing contracts when they already have at least one champion driver 2. what sort of turmoil would it cause if Hamilton had a fair dinkum battle on his hands?

    Bottles would be perfect – cool, calm, experienced and deserving. I would really love to see just how fast he is.

  83. Bottas.

    Vettel and Alonso can wish all they want but Mclaren and Ferrari won’t allow it. No chance. Who are Mclaren and Ferrari going to hire as replacements? Its simply not going to happen.

  84. Unless its Alonso, can’t see anyone else getting near Hamilton next year. Maybe Ricciardo. I do agree though of bringing a younger driver in like Pascal

  85. Alonso.

    You know you want to see it. It has “cinema release” all over it.

    Bernie might even pay out his McLaren contract to make it happen. Would be worth a fortune for him.

    Bottas is not up to is, Wehrlein even less so. If Red Bull is resurgent, Merc need to be able to put 2 cars up front if they want to win titles. VB & PW coming home 4th each fortnight will not do that.

    1. First and fourth is still worth more points than second and third. :P Though I’m sure Mercedes will be looking for someone who can consistently finish on the podium, ideally second behind Hamilton.

  86. Alonso has had heartbreak after heartbreak. He would absolutely slay it in the Mercedes. With his end game creeping up it would be amazing to see him in top machinery, with 2017 regs hopefully suiting his driving style. Obviously the history with Hamilton is still there, but they should be mature enough to deal at this point… right? Right???

    As many have said, Pascal will most likely be in, but Alonso would be my choice.

  87. Why is nobody saying Massa. Revenge for 08. Think about it.

    1. +1!
      The great finalle F1 had in the last 10 years, i title decided by 1 point. we deserve that revenge!
      I totally agree, was looking for someone thinking the same :)

  88. Ocon. I know it’s tricky since he’s supposedly going to drive for SFI but I think he has shown that spark! Only 3% of us seem to see it. I’m surprised that 6% of us think Sainz deserves it, Sainz was so much slower than Max on Sundays, I don’t think that warrants him top team credentials and RB agrees. Pascal is due to circumstances the most likely choice but I can’t agree with 15% of us in saying that Pascal should drive for Mercedes. Mercedes know him well, they must know why he was still out of contract. I don’t rate him. It’s true that he had an okay debut season, only crashed a 3 times.., was faster than Haryanto and was a pain at being lapped and difficult to deal with, yet despite out qualifying Ocon, I think he ought to have done more.

  89. Did Jenson retire a week too early? :-)

  90. Who I would love to see would be either Alonso or Vettel for the pure pleasure of seeing top-flight drivers in equal machinery, but if I’m Mercedes I’m going with Wehrlein. He’s quick, seems cool under pressure, he has ties to Mercedes, he’s German, doesn’t cost like a superstar and is unlikely to disobey orders. Rationally, no reason for Mercedes to have a driver pairing that is more likely to create even more rivalry in the team. Too bad.

  91. Why isn’t anyone taking Perez seriously?
    I mean, the guy is really fast, he hasn’t committed any mistakes this year (actually the 2nd driver with most laps raced this year) and was the best of the rest this year (two podiums with a FI.) Also brings lots of money.
    People should take him more serious, as I bet Mercedes is doing.

    1. @Brandon: If you’d bothered to read what others post, you’d see that serious punters mention two names – Bottas *and* Perez, both with the required experience, both at Mercedes-powered teams. Of the two, Bottas is the more likely because it’s easier to find a suitable replacement for Williams to partner Stroll – former Williams stars Massa or Button (even if both have just retired), reserve driver di Resta or the left-field choice of Felix Rosenqvist who was teammate to Stroll in 2015, a two-time Macau GP winner who holds all the European F3 records and has so many points to his Super License it’s freaky he’s not been in F1 yet. The equation for Force India is much harder; di Resta??? Sutil???

      1. Agree is Perez or Bottas, but since next year are big tires who is the best on tires of the grid ?

        I really think Perez will do excellent no matter what team he is on, and he will get podiums and most likely a win, he is the best Mercedes driver not in Mercedes works team.

        Didn’t most teams fight over Perez ? In fact, all others midfield drivers moves fall into place AFTER Perez made his choice.

        1. Forgot to remember you that toto wolff has been manager of sergio perez before

      2. Use a “seatfiller” for a year, maybe a young driver or any other talent.
        Watch KEVIN MAGNUSSEN beat the crap out of Grosjean in 2017 and give him the seat in 2018.
        Bulletproof plan if Mercedes wants another World Champion.

  92. be great if kubica could do it.

  93. Lewisham Milton
    5th December 2016, 9:13

    David Coulthard, to get him off the telly.

  94. Results are telling 30% for Alonso…

  95. This is an easy one: Valtteri Bottas.
    Mercedes is not crazy to call Wehrlein. the boy has just begun and really is not as strong as Ocon for example. It would be boring for F1 and a risk to Mercedes.
    Here is what they are going to do: offer a huge discount on the power units to Williams free Valtteri Bottas – who is called a “future champion”, even though I do not think he is that good.
    Williams has money from Stroll already but they also may be tired of Bottas and Bottas must be tired of Williams too.

    Then another seat will be vacant at Williams and I think Felipe Nasr will be called for this one.

  96. Use a “seatfiller” for a year, maybe a young driver or any other talent.
    Watch KEVIN MAGNUSSEN beat the crap out of Grosjean in 2017 and give him the seat in 2018.
    Bulletproof plan if Mercedes wants another World Champion.

  97. @keithcollantine It would be very interesting to understand better what is and is not possible in the driver market when it comes to existing contracts. Sometimes I am lead to believe that any contract can be broken; other times, it seems no-one can break contract without the team agreeing to let the driver go. Is it just a case of money? What are the issues in forcing a driver to stay when he does not want to – does any team want a demotivated driver? I would love to know more about this area of the sport.

    I still have my fingers crossed for Alonso moving to Merc.

  98. Fernando Alonso
    In evenly matched cars I still rate him # 1. But, the clock is ticking and if Fernando is to have one more shot at the title and WE are to have the privilege of watching a driver of Alonso’s ability in a car worthy of his stature in the sport, he should go to Mercedes. And Mercedes should jump at the chance of having him.

    The irony, of course, would be if for 2017 McLaren/Honda suddenly became competitive instead of the pig-mobile ALonso and Jenson Button have had to hump around the last two seasons.

  99. for me its a no brainer … Button….the guy would be perfect alongside Hamilton for a year , still quick and in the silver arrows would soon be pretty motivated again to carry on, probably good bought to keep Hamilton on his toes and wise enough not to get involved in mind games from LH, undoubtedly would score a sackfull of podiums and pints to secure Merc the constructors title.
    On the other hand maybe McLaren are happy to let Alonso go, get a bag load of money for him ( no title sponsor so every little helps) use that to further invest in development & persuade Button to hang on for 1 more year to mentor Stoffel, Alonso is hardly easy to manage and given that if McLaren are not competitive again he’ll be off in 2018 anyway so why not cash in now. Also Zak Brown tweeted to say the door is not closed to Button so that deal can be done I’m sure ( maybe Brown knew something back then ?)

    1. I wonder if someone on the Merc team remembers Alonso not pulling away from the pit box to slow down his teammate when they were double stacking a pit stop? Merc had a hissy fit with Lewis at the last race. I think they would love a no drama guy like Button for at least a year. There is no better gentleman to put in front of the press as well.

  100. hey ! it turns out Bottas may have the chance is almost 50% cheaper than Perez, but imagine a Bottas-Perez fight, all we need is Bottas Mercedes and Perez Ferrari for 2018

  101. Only i think that Merceds should give Felipe Massa a revange of 2008 championship batle with Hamilton? Com’on Toto and Niki, we want that battle relived! Com,’on Kaith put Felipe on that list!!

    1. Mercedes*

      1. Keith*

  102. As an HAM fan I would like to see a tough driver besides him. Beating a great driver having the same equipment is so satisfying.

    But, I don’t think that Merc will let that kind of a dangerous pair come together again. My pick is another German Merc investment Wehrlein.

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