The phone of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has not stopped ringing since newly crowned Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport last week.
Wolff told Gazzetta Dello Sport, “I’ve been bombarded with phone calls. I’ve been called by 80% of the F1 drivers.”
The only drivers who have not called the Mercedes chief are “Raikkonen and Kvyat, just because they don’t have my number…”
There has been a frenzy of speculation linking the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to the F1’s most coveted seat alongside Lewis Hamilton in the dominant world champion team.
But Wolff is wary of approaching contracted drivers, “It’s not my intention to mess with Ferrari’s internal issues. I don’t even know if Sebastian would really want to come tour team.”
“Same with Alonso. What would both Ferrari and McLaren do without Vettel and Alonso in December? Or Williams without Bottas? This is the option which I like the least.”
If Wolff thought he had a headache managing the Rosberg-Hamilton partnership, a Hamilton-Vettel or Hamilton-Alonso pairing would take internal politics into a totally different level.
From the Mercedes junior driver pool, Esteban Ocon who recently signed for Renault appears to be out of the picture as he recently signed with Renault, which leaves highly rated rookie Pascal Wehrlein as the favourite for the seat alongside Hamilton.
But there are a number of options Wolff and his team are seriously considering, “The first is to consider having a number one driver and a number two,similar to Ferrari during the Schumacher and Massa era. Namely, hire a driver that guarantees points for the F1 constructors’ championship.”
“The second option is to promote our young drivers, Ocon or Wehrlein. After all, other teams have given a chance to youngsters like Verstappen and Vandoorne.
“The third way is to get back on the market in order to find another top driver. On Monday I will be in Brackley and I will a have meeting with Ron Meadows, Andrew Shovlin and a group of top-level engineers, and we’ll start working to find the best solution.
“It’s a new and exciting challenge. After all, even if we have won 19 races, this has been a really complicated season, full of hurdles,” mused Wolff.