With both championships almost won, you’d be forgiven for thinking Mercedes are obsolete from this year’s silly season in Formula One. After all, if it’s not gebrochen, why fixieren it?
Truth be told, the three-pointed star have four names in their hat for 2015 and more likely 2016, with current peddlers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton being joined by the man who’s joined them on the podium 3 times in the last 4 races, Valtteri Bottas, and reigning world champion, Sebastian Vettel. The former’s impressive performances ahead of teammate Felipe Massa haven’t gone unnoticed, with the 24-year-old proving ace at keeping cool under immense pressure from the likes of Hamilton and Vettel so far in 2014. Oh, and he’s bloody quick too.
As for Vettel, murmurings in and around the paddock over the last few races have left the term ‘German super team’ ringing true, with the thought of Rosberg and Vettel together for 2016 (Vettel is contracted until the end of 2015 with Red Bull) sending many into a quiver. Red Bull’s below par season, Daniel Ricciardo’s intra-team dominance and Renault’s lack of va-va-voom are all likely contributors to the rumours and anything made of them.
Much of the Bottas-Mercedes link hinges on Hamilton’s relationship with the German marque throughout the rest of this season and into the next. With the Monaco meltdown, wild conspiracy theories and a small matter of a intra-team battle for title glory all providing fuel for the fire should Lewis decide enough is enough before his three-year deal is up.
Is either move likely? No, in short. With Rosberg recently signing through to 2016, that particular German-combination seems safe and secure. Even for Hamilton, and despite fractions between himself, Nico and the team at times thus far, Mercedes is still clearly the team to be at, with 2014 title glory a given and with a powertrain/packaging advantage so great, betting against team and driver for 2015 would be extremely brave.
In other news, Niki Lauda has ruled himself out of the running, citing all rumours linking the Austrian to a cockpit return as “bulls**t”.