Head of Mercedes Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff has told Sky Sports that double world champion Fernando Alonso is being considered to replace Nico Rosberg for 2017.
The news comes as McLaren Honda’s Zak Brown confirmed that Alonso is going nowhere however, Wolff said that Alonso is certainly a driver they are looking at as he is someone who Wolff respects a lot as he has the speed, talent and experience.
Wolff understands however that the Spaniard is off limits for 2017 with McLaren adamant that Alonso is staying where he is. This could mean that Mercedes might be tempted to try to sign Alonso for 2018.
Mercedes options for 2017 appear to be limited with all of the key players under contract for a year or more.
The most likely candidate for the drive is Mercedes test driver and current Manor racer Pascal Wehrlein however Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe has confirmed that is not a foregone conclusion that the German will be promoted to the seat alongside Hamilton.
Meanwhile, when asked by the BBC about a time frame by which they would ideally like a new driver in place, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said they want someone in the car for the first winter test or even earlier like sometime in January to allow the new driver to get acclimatized with the team and the simulator.
In other Mercedes related news, new world champion Nico Rosberg has confirmed that he would like to remain involved with the team and even offered to become Lewis Hamilton’s German teacher.
Whoever Mercedes decide to sign in place of Rosberg, the new driver will have big shoes to fill and will have a lot to live up to following Rosberg’s championship win.