Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has said that signing a young driver to replace retiring world champion Nico Rosberg is a risk.

Rosberg shocked the Formula One and wider motorsport community by announcing his retirement from the sport at the FIA end of year prize giving in Vienna on Friday. Lauda, confirmed that Rosberg told him a matter of hours before it was made public that he was retiring.

At first Lauda believed that the German, who has been at Mercedes since the manufacturer returned to Formula One at a works team in 2010 was joking.

Lauda revealed that the news caught the team completely off guard and that Rosberg’s crew took it particularly badly. Lauda revealed that half the grid have contacted the team about the seat alongside three time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Lauda said that most of the drivers that the team were targeting are under contract for the 2017 season.

Mercedes test and reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein is an option but Lauda has all but ruled this possibility out with his comments about it being a risk.

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