Mercedes will have F1 driver line-up 'plan B' after Rosberg drama

The Mercedes Formula 1 team will try to ensure it has a 'plan B' for its driver line-up in future after the experience of Nico Rosberg's sudden retirement last winter

Mercedes will have F1 driver line-up 'plan B' after Rosberg drama

Mercedes was caught out when Rosberg, who had signed a contract extension last summer, announced his retirement having clinched the 2016 F1 world championship.

It recruited Valtteri Bottas from Williams as Rosberg's replacement and while it is expected to retain the Finn into 2018, the length of his deal remains a question mark.

Lewis Hamilton's current contract runs to the end of 2018, but Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said he is not taking anything for granted following the situation arising from Rosberg's unexpected decision.

"There is certainly a component that in F1 you need to have a fall back solution, a plan B," Wolff told Autosport.

"Even having a contract doesn't necessarily mean that everything is going to be like it is. There could be a change of circumstances.

"What we have now is a plan A, and then there is obviously various possible plays afterwards, because the driver market changes a lot in 2018 and 2019. It is important to consider plan B and C."

Most top F1 drivers come to the end of their current contracts either this season or next. "It is very complex," said Wolff.

"There are many possibilities where a driver could end up.

"There are certainly at least a handful of capable drivers who would perform in a Mercedes. So you have to consider all scenarios."

Wolff admits the team was fortunate to be able to sign Bottas, who it chose after concluding its test driver Pascal Wehrlein was too inexperienced and placed at Sauber instead.

"The deal was very difficult," Wolff said.

"It's easier to solve problems that you saw coming, but the Nico thing came out of nowhere, at a time when most of the drivers already had contracts for the following year. It was not easy.

"We knew that we had Pascal as a possibility, but he's probably too young to burn him in a car that is capable of winning races against the best driver on the grid.

"Valtteri was our primary candidate, but obviously Williams was keen to keep him.

"And it wasn't the only factor. It was multi-faceted - there was also if we could agree on a financial compensation with Williams.

"Who would they take? What would happen to Pascal? At the same time undoing the Nico contract.

"Finally to have achieved the outcome that was our most preferred option was good."

shares
comments
The origins of McLaren-Honda's greatest racer
Previous article

The origins of McLaren-Honda's greatest racer

Next article

Renault Formula 1 team expects debate over 2018 halo aero fairings

Renault Formula 1 team expects debate over 2018 halo aero fairings
Load comments
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021