The bookies favourites for the second seat at Mercedes at the moment are Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.
Toto Wolff has underlined three possible routes that Mercedes can implement in 2017 regarding the pecking order within their garage. Mercedes are possibly looking to explore all possible routes in terms of managing their drivers so they have an easier time next season.
The 2016 season will be remembered for bringing out one of the most heated, genuine driver rivalries of recent times. There was respect at the end between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg but on many occasions the atmosphere boiled over and seeped into the clutches of the press, making it difficult for the team to manage either driver without drama.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff offered some insight into the options in front of the team and said,
“The first is to think about having a number one and a number two, a bit like Ferrari at the time of Schumacher and Massa. We can take a driver who can guarantee us points in the Constructors’ Championship.
The second is to promote one of our junior drivers, [Esteban] Ocon or [Pascal] Wehrlein. After all, other teams have taken a chance on guys like [Max] Verstappen or [Stoffel] Vandoorne.
The third path is to get back on the market in order to find another top driver.”
– Toto Wolff
Wolff also noted that the third path is his least favourite personally. The first option and second option could surely become the same option if need be. Should Wehrlein be promoted, he could fill a number two role to Hamilton too, although it would be more sporting to see two drivers on equal terms battling it out.
Valtteri Bottas being determined as the bookies favourite is peculiar and makes you wonder what they know and the rest of us don’t. His ability wasn’t showcased as much in 2016 given the slightly weaker Williams car to previous years. But the Finn’s cool, collected approach and personality combined with his undeniable talent might come in handy when sharing a stable with the tenacious Lewis Hamilton.