Earlier this week, Sky F1 pundit David Croft shared an image of himself preparing his lines for the latest edition of the Formula 1 PS4/Xbox game, revealing a commentary script that included new additions Haas, the return of Renault and the only as-yet-confirmed rookie on the grid Jolyon Palmer.

However, look closely at the image and you'll see more than 22 drivers on the list... In fact, you'll see 26 as games company Codemasters hedge their bets on which driver will land the two remaining spots at Manor Racing - Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi, Alexander Rossi, Rio Haryanto, Kevin Magnussen and Pascal Wehrlein.

For a team that was still naming drivers in the week leading up to last year's Australian Grand Prix, we aren't anywhere close to panic stations yet, but given the flurry of high profile engineering acquisitions - including Pat Fry and Nikolas Tombazis -, its official Manor Racing rebrand (complete with new logo) and a Mercedes-powered car that has passed its crash tests, it seems the one fundamental area it hasn't unveiled yet is its drivers.

With no word yet on when these 'mystery two' will be revealed, as we play the waiting game, we take a look at who is considered (by Codemasters at least) to still be in the running for seats 21 and 22 on the 2016 grid and weigh up their chances.

Alexander Rossi
After several false starts, Alexander Rossi finally got his F1 break during the final third of the 2015 season with Manor in place of Roberto Merhi and settled into F1 with apparent aplomb. Whilst it is inevitably somewhat tricky to fully gauge true pace when your only rival is your team-mate, Rossi was a match for - and often quicker than - Will Stevens from the off, while he had his race winning turn in GP2 to remind potential employers of his abilities in more competitive machinery.

With precious few Americans rising through the European racing ladder, Rossi's nationality and commercial potential will do him some favours amongst the powers that be, as will his familiarity with the team...

Rio Haryanto
Much like Alexander Rossi, Rio Haryanto has existed on the fringes of F1 in recent years with minor reserve roles at Caterham and Marussia, but also like his American counterpart, a strong upturn in performance at GP2 level last year has elevated his status as a driver potentially worthy of a race shot.

Financially, Haryanto is a sound choice with his apparent 15 million EUR Indonesian government-authorised 'carrot' dangling in front of a no doubt tempted Manor. In terms of credentials, Haryanto is a race winner in GP2 and GP3, making him more decorated than your average wealthy driver, though it is more debateable as to whether he is one of the two best drivers on this shortlist. Should Haryanto get the nod though, consider this - Indonesia has never had a driver even get close to F1, yet it has a remarkably dedicated motorsport fan base... in short, Haryanto could be the ticket for F1 to forge into a potentially huge new market.

Pascal Wehrlein
When Mercedes was confirmed as Manor Racing's new engine supplier, it wasn't long before assumptions were cast that the deal was part of a package that also contained its highly-regarded prot?g? Pascal Wehrlein. Ironically, while 'caveats' as part of engine deals aren't always welcomed, Wehrlein - having clinched the DTM title and earned much praise for his sterling development work with both Mercedes and Force India - seems an excellent value complement. And yet, Mercedes insists this not to be the case, an unusual position given it can surely afford to place Wehrlein in a seat, while it would surely be the next logical step for a talented youth that has done everything asked of him as he was developed into everything Mercedes was looking to create in an apprentice.

Granted, there are housekeeping issues - he can't get a superlicence under the current flawed system -, but if concessions are available, his many miles behind the wheel of an F1 car surely qualifies him more than most who can apply legitimately. The fact Mercedes hasn't confirmed its DTM line-up (far later than usual) suggests something is happening behind the scenes, but it remains to be seen what.

Kevin Magnussen
If Manor had a 'money-no-object' say in the matter, Kevin Magnussen would probably be its number one driver choice. The Dane does bring some cash to the table, but not quite enough without it being supplemented by a wealthier team-mate, so perhaps a Rio Haryanto pair up could work.

With his strong junior credentials, a year of F1 experience and a bit of Mercedes-power knowledge, Magnussen ticks plenty of boxes for Manor, while the man himself would come to the role with the vigour of something to prove following his McLaren demotion-turned-sacking. As ever though, it is a question of finance, while a more stable future with Renault (initially as a reserve driver) could be the more tempting proposition.

Will Stevens
Though there is no firm reason to suggest he is definitely out of the running, things have gone a little quiet on the Will Stevens front regarding 2016. The arrival of Alexander Rossi towards the end of 2015 appeared to be unsettling and though Stevens was never 'dominated' by the incoming American, the results sheet was more heavily weighted in the newcomer's favour nonetheless in those final rounds. That isn't to say Stevens did a poor job at Manor, but for a team that is becoming seemingly less recognisable to its 2015 self by the week, it would be surprising if he was the one key element it retains for 2016.

Roberto Merhi
Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, Roberto Merhi didn't sound too positive about his hopes of retaining the Manor drive for 2016 during the closing stages of last year. In fairness, the Spaniard earned a far longer stay of execution that was originally planned given he only landed the seat days before the 2015 opener, but the rather abrupt demotion in favour of Alex Rossi suggested he was always preparing for a very long goodbye...



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