F1: Who will fill Nico Rosberg's shoes at Mercedes?
With Rosberg's shock retirement from Formula One leaving a vacant cockpit at Mercedes, here are six possible replacements who might partner Lewis Hamilton in the 2017 season
The four-time champion failed to win a single race in a thoroughly disappointing year at Ferrari. Vettel, 29, has one more season to run on his current deal, but could an early release be negotiated? The switch to Mercedes will be an appealing one to Vettel, and for the German constructor, too. Vettel versus Hamilton — the two best drivers of their generation — also has the hallmarks of a mouth-watering rivalry.
Like Vettel, Alonso, who won the last of his two championships a decade ago, will sense the vacant seat at Mercedes as his ideal get-out clause from McLaren. A move to Mercedes would also see Alonso team up with Hamilton for the first time since their turbulent campaign together at McLaren in 2007.
The 19-year-old Dutchman is widely seen as the heir to Hamilton's F1 throne, and is highly rated by Mercedes management. But he is under contract with Red Bull and it seems incredibly unlikely that team boss Christian Horner would even entertain the thought of Verstappen jumping ship to their biggest rivals.
A member of the Mercedes junior programme, and a driver who has filled in for both Rosberg and Hamilton in testing, but hardly set the world alight during his debut campaign with Manor. Could Mercedes however, offer the 22-year-old German a one-year deal with the team until Vettel or Alonso become available in 2017?
The Finnish driver recently re-signed for a fifth consecutive year with Williams F1 team, but Mercedes might be prepared to offer the British constructor money and Wehrlein as a replacement in a move to land Bottas' reliable services for the upcoming season.
Ocon is another young driver who has risen through the Mercedes ranks. The 20-year-old made his Grand Prix debut alongside Wehrlein at Manor this season. But recently the Frenchman agreed a deal to join Force India. But for Ocon, driving for Mercedes might be more appealing.
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