Sebastian Vettel 

Could Sebastian Vettel make a surprise move to Mercedes after his Ferrari departure? 

Whilst the fans would love to see the German’s career somewhat salvaged after a tumultuous few years at the Italian team, would Lewis Hamilton be open to the idea? 

With ten titles between the two, Vettel could certainly provide a feisty challenge that Hamilton has been craving since the departure of his last rival Rosberg in 2016. 

For Daimler, having Sebastian Vettel, a German world champion at a German team would prove to be a marketing match made in heaven. 

Although just the other week Valtteri Bottas seemed to dismiss any ideas of Vettel taking his seat, stating that he “got a pretty straight message that no, they are not considering Seb.”

However, until the word is officially out of team principal Toto Wolff’s mouth, can we truly believe Valtteri, or were the team trying to placate the Finn in the meantime whilst ‘silly season’ rumours come about? 

Toto Wolff has openly said that “Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula 1 team and when looking into our future our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration.” 

However, would Toto Wolff want to upset the seemingly calm dynamic at Mercedes, and could Vettel truly recover to his peak form after a dismal few years? 

George Russell 

If Mercedes are truly focused towards their future in the sport, surely a move for their talented junior George Russell must be looming closer. 

Russell had a strong rookie season in 2019 despite being hamstrung by uncompetitive machinery, and impressed onlookers with his consistency and relative speed compared with experienced team-mate Robert Kubica

His fellow contemporaries Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and Lando Norris have all been promoted to front-running teams in the last year, proving that now is the time to invest in youthful talent. 

The biggest worry for Russell will be if the German team makes a move for Vettel, as this may well have a knock-on effect to their junior programme, and seemingly would go against any ‘long-term strategy’ to promote the young Brit from Williams. 

Whilst Russell does have time on his side, these are his formative years and one can only wonder when or if Mercedes will choose to nurture him in a race-winning team. 

Valtteri Bottas

Extending Valtteri Bottas’ contract at the team for another year does seem the most likely option, as it would keep Hamilton happy and ensure the team has a solid consistent points-scoring driver in place. 

2020 is going to be a big year for Bottas, with Mercedes almost certainly expecting him to lift his game against Hamilton after previous strong showings in the past. 

Whilst Bottas has often started off his seasons strong, a drop in consistency and form over previous seasons has continually dented his title hopes. 

The Finn emphasised that he wanted to push for earlier contract talks this year, claiming that last year’s delay until August meant that “there was a bit too much unnecessary talk outside the team. Everything should have just been kept internal”. 

Bottas will need to step up on track once the racing returns, and make a quick impact if he seeks to have contract talks sorted before August, a mere month and a half away. 

A short F1 season could work in his favour, with seemingly the strongest car on the grid, but can he face the pressure of high Mercedes’ expectations and having Hamilton as a teammate? 

EDITOR'S PICKS: Can Bottas finally beat Hamilton in F1 2020? 

With the rule changes now delayed to 2022 as a result of the coronavirus, there is talk Bottas may pen a one-year deal to allow Mercedes to evaluate the prospect of promoting a driver like Russell into the team for 2022 

However, matters could be complicated further if Mercedes makes a bid to secure the services of Vettel after his Ferrari departure at the end of this season. 

Who do you think will partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year? Will a move to secure Bottas or Russell force Vettel into retirement or a sabbatical? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to like and subscribe to Crash for more motorsport content.

Words by Jordy Gray. 

 

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