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Hamilton won’t get Mercedes team-mate say – Wolff

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton will be informed of his new team-mate after Mercedes has made its final decision.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has revealed Lewis Hamilton won't be directly involved in the process of deciding who his team-mate will be for the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship season, but says 'dynamics' with any potential candidates will be considered.

The Brackley-based team is currently in the process of weighing up its options over who will replace newly-retired champion Nico Rosberg, who last week sensationally quit the sport just days after landing his first F1 world title.

A number of drivers have been linked to the high-profile seat, including Mercedes junior Pascal Wehrlein, Williams' Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Fernando Alonso, with Wolff admitting a decision will need to be made 'quickly'.

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Regardless, Wolff says Mercedes' choice will ultimately be made at a managerial level and will not involve a direct say from three-time champion Hamilton, even if the 'dynamics' between the Briton and any candidate will be taken into consideration.

"It is like many other employees, we will give Lewis the information once we've come to a point where we think it's a sensible decision and then inform him,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“He has been a great pillar in the team's success. When he came, everything changed, so he has played a role. It's very important to keep him in a good place. The dynamics between the two drivers is one of the factors we will consider."

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The latter comment is arguably a reference to any possible approach to Alonso, who endured an infamously fractious relationship with then-rookie Hamilton during their time brief time alongside one another at McLaren in 2007.

Even so, Hamilton is on record saying he unconcerned who Mercedes chooses to be his team-mate , insisting he is 'here to race'.

Pascal Wehrlein remains the bookies' favourite for the drive, partly because all other candidates are currently contracted for 2017, with Wolff suggesting earlier this week that Mercedes could be prepared to make a 'brave' choice with its decision, seemingly in reference to the relatively inexperienced German.

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December 09, 2016 12:47 PM

Wehrlein is an easy choice, not a particularly brave or clever one. The correct choice would surely be a one-year contract to a driver likely score to score a big haul of points for Merc in 2017. As Toto could surely do a deal with a current Mercedes powered team then either Perez or Bottas would be perfect. Come 2018 Merc could either retain the same driver (eg if he matched Hamilton), or get Alonso-Vettel-Ricciardo-Verstappen, or promote Wehrlein or Ococ if either shows something really special in 2017.


December 09, 2016 12:11 PM

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