The vacancy void created by Rosberg has presented an intriguing change of direction for F1.
Fans of Sportscars and one of their better known broadcasters (Graham Goodwin) have rather ironically called F1 ‘their feeder series’ over the years but Mark Webber tweeted a valid possibility for Williams should Bottas leave for Mercedes.
Bottas to Merc huh.
Williams, Leave FM to relax, had a great career. Go 4 LMP1 star. Hartley, Buemi, Di Grassi hungry, technical and fast.
— Mark Webber (@AussieGrit) December 19, 2016
Although Mercedes won’t make any announcement until after the New Year, Williams has reportedly offered £5 million to Massa to return and replace Bottas should the move occur.
Massa announced his retirement from the sport last September and made what should have been his 250th and final start in Abu Dhabi three weeks ago.
WEC’s LMP1 – the premier category of the World Endurance Championship, is in reality not too far different to F1 in terms of technology. Indeed it could be argued that their hybrids are actually rather more advanced than the F1 power units, particularly when considering the open nature of the rule book for engine design. Drivers are required to be incredibly busy managing their systems during the 6 hour races, with a quadrupled workload at the WEC blue ribband event – the 24 hours of Le Mans.
So lets look at those listed by Webber candidates:
Sebastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi have both raced in F1, the former as part of Red Bull junior squad Toro Rosso, and have been racking up open-wheeler miles battling each other for victory in the FIA Formula E series. The Frenchman got the nod at the final round, but only after a controversial collision between the two title rivals.
Brendon Hartley, too, was a Red Bull Junior Team member at the same time Daniel Ricciardo was making his way up the ladder. The New Zealander is now a core member of Porsche’s LMP1 squad, winning the world championship with Webber in 2015, but prior to that he was a Mercedes F1 test driver in 2012-2013, and had previously been a test and reserve driver for Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
So I put it to you, the jury, should F1 be looking elsewhere for drivers or are Williams / Mercedes right to keep it within the F1 bubble? Please comment your reasons for voting below.