Wolff: Multiple Mercedes drivers 'good problem to have'

Mercedes believes working out how to give multiple drivers Formula 1 seats next season is a "good problem to have", according to its motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Wolff: Multiple Mercedes drivers 'good problem to have'

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both need new deals beyond the end of this season to stay with the works team, while Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon is waiting in the wings at its Force India customer outfit.

Mercedes reserve driver George Russell has also indicated Mercedes will help him into F1 next season if he performs well in Formula 2 in 2018.

When asked by Autosport about its 2019 headache, Wolff replied: "It is a good problem to have.

"We are very satisfied how Valtteri has been going these days, and [with] Lewis we don't need to talk about - he is the best of the current drivers in my opinion.

"Then you have these kids growing up, like Ocon and George.

"I am optimistic about the future Mercedes line-up."

Hamilton and Mercedes have both indicated that extending their relationship, which started in 2013, is a mere formality.

"We haven't talked for a few days or few weeks because it was so intense getting our act together with the team and all our priority has been concentrated on that," Wolff said in Azerbaijan.

"But we are very aligned with what we expect from each other in the future and it is just finding time to sit down."

Mercedes signed Bottas following Nico Rosberg's shock retirement after he won the 2016 world championship.

Bottas earned a one-year extension for 2018 and strong form since his qualifying crash at the Australian Grand Prix has boosted his prospects of a new deal.

Wolff said: "We are not looking at drivers outside Mercedes at the moment because we have to give support to our guys, that is the priority.

"It is like if you are happy with your wife, you don't look elsewhere!

"Give us a few more races and then I will have a better view."

If Mercedes retains Bottas for another season alongside Hamilton, then Ocon is almost certain to extend his stay at Force India to a third year.

Force India is unlikely to shuffle out Sergio Perez, who brings good backing and emphasised his value as one of F1's top midfield operators with a surprise podium in Azerbaijan last weekend.

If the Force India line-up does not change for 2018, Mercedes will need to look elsewhere to find Russell a seat.

The reigning GP3 champion has identified Force India as his best chance of graduating to F1.

Although Mercedes could go outside its customer teams, that is a less preferable option.

Russell's fellow 2018 Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein raced for Sauber, a Ferrari customer, last year.

He is now back in the DTM after Sauber dropped him for Charles Leclerc thanks to the Swiss team's growing links to Ferrari.

Mercedes said it would leave the door "open" for a Wehrlein F1 return, which would add another complication if pursued for 2019.

shares
comments
Motorsport Show: F1 needs easier technical terms for fans

Previous article

Motorsport Show: F1 needs easier technical terms for fans

Next article

The tragic tale of a lost Italian F1 star

The tragic tale of a lost Italian F1 star
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021