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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to know, and I’m going to be slowly gnawing my laptop in half until I find out.