Nico Rosberg says he has no doubt that Mercedes will consider Sebastian Vettel for 2018, regardless of how new recruit Valtteri Bottas performs this season.
The F1 silly season, when speculations ramp up about who goes where the following year, could enjoy an early start in 2017 with a few key drivers set to dominate the chessboard.
Sebastian Vettel’s contract with Ferrari will expire at the end of this year, and while the Scuderia could press the German early on for an extension, it may have to contend with a massive push by Mercedes to recruit the four-time title winner.
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The Silver Arrows outfit has anticipated this outcome which is why Valtteri Bottas has been signed to a one-year contract.
“I understand that the ‘Bottas solution’ made sense for Mercedes,” Rosberg told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
“But Vettel’s contract at Ferrari ends this year, so he’d be a sensible option for Mercedes and one I’m sure they’ll contemplate.”
Another fox who could potentially upset the hen house is Fernando Alonso who is currently in the last year of his three-year contract with McLaren.
Many doubt however that Lewis Hamilton would take the Spaniard’s move to Mercedes lying down when one remembers the soured relationship between the two men which prevailed at McLaren back in 2007.
In any case, Nico Rosberg believes the man who replaced him at Mercedes will have his work cut out for him.
“I would tell him don’t expect an easy ride! It’ll be challenging,” Rosberg said.
“Coming into a new team with Lewis having been there so many years, new regulations and everything else will be a challenge. And Lewis is one of the best out there; his talent is extremely high.
“But at the same time, Valtteri is very talented. He can achieve great things as well, as long as the team gives him a good car.”
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