Mercedes have announced that they will not reveal their second driver until the new year after speculation involving Valtteri Bottas, Pascal Wehrlein and Carlos Sainz continues.
A Mercedes spokesperson said that no further developments would be made until January 3rd.
Williams are reluctant to let Valtteri Bottas leave the team given that they need the experience in the new era rolling out next season. The team would struggle, particularly with their main sponsor Martini if their drivers were both under the age of 25. The sponsor requires at least one driver to be over the age of 25 for promotional reasons. Mercedes are believed to be offering Pascal Wehrlein in part of the deal, which would also involve a reduction in engine costs.
But Williams are aware that Mercedes aren’t having to fork out Rosberg’s whopping £17.6m salary over the next two years, so might be waiting out for a complete engine pay-off. The team might be able to deal with Martini’s issue by promoting their reserve driver Paul Di Resta, who is 30-years-old with a good amount of Formula One experience – Should Bottas move on to Mercedes.
Another driver that was briefly in contention for the Mercedes seat was the highly-rated Carlos Sainz, but the Toro Rosso driver is strictly Red Bull property, with Christian Horner saying,
“Why would we do that? Carlos has done a great job. He is a Red Bull driver. We have invested in him to get him into F1 and they are all on long-term contracts so it wouldn’t make any sense to feed one of your main opponents with one of your assets.”
– Christian Horner
Austrian billionaire and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is believed to hold personal hostility towards the Mercedes team, so acquiring Sainz looks very unlikely.