With Valtteri Bottas only on a one year contract with Mercedes and several high-profile drivers reaching the end of their contracts – is Vettel next?
When Bottas got picked up by Mercedes for only a year, we were given insight into the team’s forward planning. They’d just lost Rosberg, and needed a spot to fill. Bottas was – at the time – one of the only available drivers who’s contract at his team (Williams) had run out. Yet even then, there was buzz and discussion regarding breaking contracts and paying the fee to for other high-profile drivers. Chiefly among them being McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Though we did not bear witness to such a dramatic turn of events, some can’t help themselves for looking ahead to the 2018 season before the 2017 one has even started. Among them is former Mercedes driver himself, Nico Rosberg:
“Vettel’s Ferrari contract ends this year, he’d be a sensible option for Mercedes and one that I’m sure they’ll contemplate.” – Nico Rosberg
Vettel’s relationship with Ferrari this last year has been less-than-stellar, to say the least. After being unable to secure a win for the team in 2016, driver-team relations in Ferrari aren’t likely to be at a very high point. Vettel is a capable driver, and one that Mercedes would be smart to pick, if it wasn’t for their other potential choice: Fernando Alonso.
Though Alonso himself has given the impression that his intentions for the future are to stay with McLaren, there is a tangible deliciousness about seeing him ride against Hamilton again. Rosberg knows just as much, but upholds the belief that Mercedes’ current pick is still the right choice:
“As a fan of Formula One you could not hope for anything better. Alonso against Hamilton, ten years later, it would be a great show. But Bottas makes more sense for Mercedes.”
– Nico Rosberg
Vettel’s 2018 ambitions and a potential opening at Mercedes does assume that Valtteri Bottas won’t impress in his one-year contract. It adds further pressure to the Finn, but at the same time gives him a rare opportunity to decide his own fate at a top team.