Austrian executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Toto Wolff, has recently confirmed that Scuderia Ferrari’s German driver, Sebastian Vettel, was not one of the drivers that contacted him at the end of last season, in order to express their interest for a possible place at Mercedes, by replacing the retiring world champion Nico Rosberg.
Sebastian Vettel’s current contract with the Italian team will expire once the 2017 Formula 1 season is over and it is no secret that the level of competitiveness of the SF70H car will most likely play a huge role in Sebastian’s decision whether or not to continue with Scuderia Ferrari. Valtteri Bottas was the driver who got the opportunity to replace Nico Rosberg, but only on a one-year deal, which means that the 2018 driver market could prove to be very spectacular: “2018 opens up alternatives that may be interesting but at the moment we do not waste time and will focus instead on bringing Bottas up to speed” – Toto Wolff said, as reported by Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday.
Despite the fact that Mercedes’ non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said that Sebastian Vettel is not part of their plans for next years, Toto Wolff admits a Hamilton/Vettel pairing definitely “sounds good”: “I personally have a good relationship with him [Vettel] and he would fit into the team. However, Sebastian is someone who is absolutely loyal to his current employer. When Nico retired, he was not one of the interesting applicants for the seat. He only said ‘Oh, this is surprising’. He is focusing on Ferrari with everything he has. What the future brings we will see, but it would be negligent to not have Sebastian Vettel on the list. It sounds good [Hamilton and Vettel partnership]. But as good as it sounds, it matters little now. My favourite scenario is that it works out with Valtteri and Lewis.” – Mercedes executive director concluded.