Mercedes Won't Announce Their New F1 Driver Until 2017 And This Wait Is Killing Me

Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

After Nico Rosberg retired from Formula One, my morning routine has been some combination of “make coffee” and “search vigorously for news on Mercedes’ new driver.” There is no news! There’s never news! Now we won’t know who that new driver will be until 2017, per NBC Sports. Ugh.

A Mercedes spokesman told NBC Sports:

There will be no announcements from us until next year and nothing is planned for the period between now and our return to work on 3rd January.


This, of course, is a huge problem. Mercedes just won three constructors’ championships in a row with cars that were seemingly untouchable for the rest of the field. Rosberg’s former spot the seat to have right now unless you’re already at a top team like Ferrari or Red Bull and are banking on the new 2017 car to finally beat the Benz.

Mercedes easily has the cash to buy someone out from a top-level drive, though, so who knows if all of the drivers who’ve said they’re committed to their current teams will stay put. All bets are off as to who Mercedes will hire.

Then, of course, there’s the inevitable domino effect. Whoever gets lured away to Mercedes from another team will also leave a seat behind to fill. Normally, I wouldn’t care as much about who drives the cars that the Mercs are likely to lap during a race (should the depressing status quo of F1's haves and have-nots continue). However, Pastor Maldonado of the infamous “I crash so much because my balls are so huge” excuse has hinted at a possible return to the sport. That’s gold, man. Pure gold! I must know which desperate cash-strapped back-field effort will become F1's loose cannon of mayhem next year.

Mercedes doesn’t hit the track until the Barcelona pre-season tests on February 27, NBC Sports notes, giving them way, way too long to think about this after the new year begins.


Until we figure out where all the major players and/or Maldonado is landing, the insatiably thirsty off-season internet is going to continue to crank out highly insufferable content on whatever they can grab. I don’t know how many more rumor-mongering quote-pieces I can read without losing my own sanity, guys. I really don’t.

Pascal Wehrlein and Valtteri Bottas have both been rumored as possible picks this week, but previously, it’s been Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, and probably even Your Mom at this point. Bottas’ rumored connection was more credible than most, with Williams reportedly turning down an initial offer to buy him out of their contract, per the BBC.


But this is how the offseason meat grinder works: some jabroni related to the team will drop a name without confirming anything, and the entire F1 internet will go nuts. It’s the worst.

So, please—if you love us at all and care for our well-being, please leak the actual pick early to We need to know, and I’m going to be slowly gnawing my laptop in half until I find out.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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Translation: They don’t want to sign Wehrlein and they can’t negotiate a buyout of someone in a contract that they’re interested in. Here’s how I rate the current candidates and their chances of taking the open seat.

No way (and why would they want to their car might be the best on the grid next year)

Max Verstappen

Daniel Ricciardo

Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen


Extremely Unlikely their team lets them out of their contract

Fernando Alonso


Unlikely they can work something out

Carlos Sainz

Valtteri Bottas

Sergio Perez


Wait you’re offering how much money? Hmm

Nico Hulkenberg

Jenson Button

Romain Grosjean

What’s in it for me?

Esteban Ocon


Fine if we have to

Pascal Wehrlein


Don’t call us we’ll call you

Felipe Nasr

Marcus Erricsson

Pastor Maldando

Jolyn Palmer

Kevin Magnussen

Esteban Gutierrez


Drivers without F1 contracts that could be given consideration

Sebastian Buemi (he is crushing Formula E but also has WEC commitments)

Felipe Massa (after that farewell in Brazil I just don’t see it)

Sam Bird (Former Mercedes test and reserve driver currently in Formula E and sports cars and usually one of the fastest people on track)

Juan Pablo Montoya (Can he even get a super license?)