Dec.6 (GMM) Pascal Wehrlein appears to be in pole position to step up and become Lewis Hamilton’s new teammate at Mercedes for 2017.
The news comes as team chiefs got together at Brackley this week to discuss the urgent situation of replacing Nico Rosberg following his shock decision to quit F1.
Multiple sources said the possibility of extracting Fernando Alonso from his McLaren-Honda contract was also discussed.
“I think the chance (of Alonso moving) is 50 per cent,” Pedro de la Rosa, a countryman and former McLaren and Ferrari teammate of Alonso’s, told Cadena Ser radio.
“I say this because I know how things work,” he added. “A top team needs to have the best.”
Some, however, have rubbished the prospect of Mercedes reuniting McLaren’s toxic pairing of 2007, but de la Rosa said both Alonso and Hamilton “have matured a lot” since then.
But the Spanish sports newspaper Marca claims that following talks with McLaren chiefs Zak Brown and Eric Boullier, Alonso has in fact reaffirmed his commitment to McLaren and particularly Honda.
In the media, Brown and Boullier both said Alonso is happy at McLaren.
El Mundo Deportivo agrees with that, saying Mercedes is in fact on the verge of signing up the most experienced of its junior drivers, German Wehrlein, for 2017.
“No driver has more experience with the 2017 tyres than me,” the 22-year-old driver is quoted by the German newspaper TZ.
“The decision now lies with the bosses and I respect the process of looking for the best option,” said Wehrlein.