Nico Rosberg’s departure from Formula One has caused a end-of-season flurry that has reanimated silly season. It looked to be Valtteri Bottas’seat this remains the likely outcome, but there may be some hope for Wehrlein if Niki Lauda’s recent suggestions of a headache in the deal is accurate.
Lauda was recently asked about the incoming deal for Bottas and replied to reporters in Germany with,
“It’s all so complicated.”
– Niki Lauda
It’s surprising that the Bottas announcement hasn’t been made already, the complication that Niki Lauda cites must be something to do with what Williams want in exchange for their star driver. Also, it still remains unclear whether Paddy Lowe’s move to the Grove-based outfit was part of the deal.
Another Formula One World Champion from the past also chimed in, Mika Hakkinen keen for the deal to go through but again, unsure on the announcement.
“I’m not going to joke that we will know something before the first race, but there is not much time before the first tests and I think we will hear news long before then.
I cannot say any more, but when you are wanted by a team, especially one that has been dominating formula one, it is a dream situation for any F1 driver.”
– Mika Hakkinen
Pascal Wehrlein remains in the running for now, his move to Sauber on hold until the Bottas deal is confirmed. If Mercedes were entirely sure that Bottas was joining, they wouldn’t prevent Wehrlein from signing a contract with the Swiss team. It implies that the move for the Finn isn’t entirely concrete.
German publication Blick suggest that Lance Stroll’s father could even intervene and compensate as he would prefer Stroll to fight against Massa in the Williams opposed to the quicker Finn. Claire Williams won’t be too happy with that suggestion, as it is unfounded and baits those premature to shoot down Stroll because he brings financial backing.
The conclusion has to be that there is some unknown variable stalling the deal, but all Pascal Wehrlein can do in the meantime is be patient. The difference between driving a Mercedes and a Sauber next season could be career defining though.