Unsurprisingly half the grid have already contacted Mercedes about the vacancy left by Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement.
Speaking to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport, Niki Lauda talked about how difficult it would be to replace Rosberg.
“We have lost a champion, the best driver of 2016. It won’t be easy to replace him because all the drivers of a certain standard have contracts with other teams. Taking a young driver is a risk, we don’t know if he will be strong. Practically half of the grid have offered themselves.”
Only half? You’d think everyone would be after that seat! Lauda also talked about how he badly he took the news of Rosberg’s decision and only heard about it a few hours before the announcement.
“At first I didn’t believe it. ‘Nico, what you told us, are you kidding by any chance? It’s a joke?’ But he said it was all true. Quite incredible.”
He added: “Rosberg’s decision has left us disorientated and unprepared, and all those who contributed to Nico winning the world title took it very badly.”
Did they take it badly, or is that just Lauda being Lauda? He certainly didn’t have any issue about walking away from Ferrari with two races to go once he won the title in 1977!
Toto Wolff also mentioned how he’s been contacted by multiple drivers who are after Rosberg’s seat:
Wolff: “All other drivers have called – including Maldonado. And even some drivers under contract. They all want to drive Mercedes.” #AMuS
— Tobi Grüner (@tgruener) December 3, 2016
That’s it! Maldonado to Mercedes confirmed! Why else would he mention his name specifically?!