Following Nico Rosberg’s retirement from F1, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists that he will not “interfere” with the German team’s rivals as it seeks to replace the 2016 world champion.
Speaking to Italy’s Gazetta Dello Sport, Wolff admitted that Mercedes had been hit with a wave of offers since Friday, with Wolff’s phone ringing off the hook, but that the German manufacturer was only starting to consider its options.
“It’s not my intention to interfere with Ferrari’s internal issues,” Wolff said to the Italian newspaper.
“And I don’t even know if Sebastian really has the intention to come to us. It’s the same thing [with Alonso]: what would Ferrari and McLaren do without Vettel and Alonso in December?
“Or Williams without [Valtteri] Bottas? [That] option is the one I like the least.”
“I’ve been bombarded with phone calls. I’ve been called by 80% of the F1 drivers. Who hasn’t done so? Raikkonen and Kvyat didn’t just because they don’t have my number!”
While promoting test driver Pascal Wehrlein to a race seat remains a viable option, Wolff believes Mercedes could recruit a dedicated number two driver to race alongside Lewis Hamilton and avoid completely hiring a big name driver.
“The first [path] is to consider having a number one and a number two. A bit like Ferrari during the Schumacher and Massa era. That is, hire a driver that guarantees points for the constructors’ [championship].
“The second hypothesis is to promote our young drivers, Ocon or Werhlein. After all, other teams have given a chance to youngsters like [Max] Verstappen and [Stoffel] Vandoorne.
“The third path 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.”
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