Mercedes AMG Petronas have been the pinnacle of Formula 1 racing for the last three seasons, dominating Grand Prix after Grand Prix and winning three straight World Driver and Constructor championships. Lewis Hamilton won titles in 2014 and 2015, before teammate and rival Nico Rosberg took home the crown in 2016.
After his triumph, Rosberg shocked the motorsports world by announcing he was retiring from Grand Prix racing. This leaves the Silver Bullets without one bullet for the upcoming 2017 campaign, a season in which the team is all but expected to dominate once again. Mercedes chairman, Niki Lauda, stated that half the grid had approached the organization about a contract to fill in the vacant seat. The question is who should get the seat?
Many rumors have suggested two-time World Champion and F1 veteran Fernando Alonso is the front runner for the second car. This would simply be the wrong move by Mercedes management. Alonso is a 35-year-old driver, who has been average at best the last few years, driving for a sub-par McLaren Honda team. With already 31-year-old Lewis Hamilton as the team’s number one driver, it would be a horrendous move to add another driver in the back half of their career.
Mercedes AMG Petronas should take a note from the leadership of Red Bull and add their own Max Verstappen. Pascal Wehrlein is a 22-year-old German who has been a test and reserve drive for the organization in past seasons. Some rumors even pointed to Wehrlein to replace Hamilton if he skipped town or left the sport entirely.
Pascal Wehrlein has very little Formula One experience and will take time to mold into a World Championship threat, but the worst thing for Mercedes would be to sign another veteran driver on the verge of retirement. Pascal should be the second Silver Bullet pilot for 2017 and the future.