After Nico Rosberg retired from Formula One, Pascal Wehrlien emerged as a strong contender for the vacant seat at Mercedes. Now that it has been a month since the seat has been left empty, Valtteri Bottas is currently on pole position for the chance to drive for Mercedes in 2017. Reports said that the Finn secretly visited Mercedes’ factory in Brackley recently and this suggests that the deal is inches away from being finalized.
At Williams, Felipe Massa is most likely to delay his retirement by another year to partner young Lance Stroll at Williams. The British team need an experienced driver to partner Stroll and Massa is their first choice for the role. I feel that Williams should give their reserve driver Paul Di Resta another chance to prove himself in the paddock and let Felipe enjoy his retired life. The Scotsman won DTM in 2010 and the last time he competed in a Formula One GP was at Brazil in 2013. Di Resta is stunningly quick if he is driving a good car and I see no reason why the British outfit should not hire him as he also has plenty of Formula One experience. Nonetheless, the chances for the same are highly unlikely but hopefully we will be able to Paul return to GP racing in the coming years.
Elsewhere, Mercedes are believed to have struck a deal with Sauber regarding Pascal Wehrlien’s future. Reports say that the German will drive for the Swiss team in 2017, partnering Marcus Erricsson and rumour has it that Mercedes might hire him as soon as he’s ‘ready to compete for the championship’. This looks like a smart move to me as Wehrlien can learn a lot from the midfield and gradually make his way up the grid. According to me this is a purely beneficial move for Pascal and the only way for him now is upwards.
So this leaves two empty spots at Manor and four drivers are in competition for it, namely Felipe Nasr, Esteban Gutierrez, Rio Haryanto and Jordan King. The chances for Esteban Gutierrez and Jordan King to drive for Manor are very high as Gutierrez has sponsors backing him and King is the development driver for Manor. Nasr would have also been up there but now that his main sponsor, Banco Do Brasil has stopped supporting him financially, chances for that look very slim as he has paid his way up to Formula One.
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